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Become an Expert in Messaging: Best Tips How to Start an Email

17 Jan 2019

We’re writing emails quite often. They’ve replaced regular mail, but still, when trying to start it, we spend several minutes thinking about the first words. In this article, we will consider how to start an email. It’s very important to address other people correctly because your addressee will judge your literacy by the way you start the email.

We will offer some tips regarding correct ways and those you should avoid. Also, we will consider formal and informal ways of addressing others, as well as, present examples of the best email greetings.

Right and Wrong Email Greetings

To give readers an idea about the best and worst greetings, we prepared several examples that can be used in email. Here is the list of the best greetings for such format:

  • “Good morning,” “Good afternoon,” or “Good evening” – these are classical versions of email greetings that is common for formal letters
  • “Hello” or “Hi” – these are the most traditional words for writing emails to friends or someone who can be addressed informally
  • “Allow me to introduce myself” – to address someone you don’t know yet
  • “How are you?” – this is the most neutral way of addressing people that allows expressing politeness. This is a universal phrase for formal and informal messages.
  • “Hope this email finds you well” or “Hope you’re doing well” – these are general ways to acknowledge people
  • “It’s great to hear from you” – this is a good phrase if you reply to a message
  • “Thank you for your help” or “Thanks for getting in touch” – these are two greetings that fit if you write a response.

Read also: How to solve capitalization issues with case convert tool?

Aiming to show you which words or phrases are not appropriate, we present a list of the worst email greetings:

  • No greetings – don’t forget to salute someone you’re addressing your email because this is the worst thing you can do when starting your email
  • “To whom it may concern” – this is not the best way of acknowledging someone “on the other side” because it means one didn’t do enough research and address a person by his/her name. Don’t expect to receive a positive response in return when you send an email with such a salutation!
  • “Dear Sir/Madame” – this is not a good variant of starting messages because it sounds impersonal. It’s better to ask for the name of the person.
  • “Dear Mr/Mrs” – this sounds overly formal and old-fashioned. Don’t forget we’re living in the 21st century, and we should start letters accordingly.
  • “Hey, honey (darling, love)” – this salutation sounds absolutely informal yet familiarly if you start the email with it. Also, try to avoid using any slang.
  • Misspelt names – this will sound rude or weird and spoil your conversation from the start. This will show you’re too lazy for doing research about the name of a person.
  • “To business owner/householder” – when one addresses other people using this way it may mean that an initiator of this communication aims at selling something to those he/she addresses. As a result, the desire to further read this email immediately disappears. The great way of starting a letter is to learn the name of a person that’s sending a message.

Greetings for Professional Emails

Let’s assume that one aims at writing an email addressing another person he/she doesn’t know personally.

For instance, a candidate for HR manager position sends a message to the chief of human resources department of a company he/she applies for. This job candidate will definitely need some professional writing skills in this case.

So, how to start a professional email in this case?

Recently, business is becoming more informal in terms of communication. So, if one starts his/her email with “Hi” or “Hello” few people will be confused, especially, if they are the same age as that person or younger. If a person you’re addressing tends to use so-called business casual style, you should use the same style in your response as well.

However, we would not recommend using this salutation if you want to write to an older person. Such email format suggests using the following phrases: “good morning,” “good day,” “good afternoon” or “good evening.” As you do not know who you’re writing, choosing a neutral phrase is preferable to avoid unnecessary irritation. The idea of checking mistakes in the text before sending a formal email is a great one.

Also, try to understand 4 types of sentences, because each sentence can give a certain sense.

Writing Informal Greetings with Ease

The purposes of email may be different so you should start it differently. You can learn how to respond to an email professionally even if you’re exchanging messages with your friends because etiquette is important in any communication.

By starting with these salutations, one sets a friendly and relaxed tone to further switch to a problem or request. These greetings are typical for the start of an email if one wants to ask somebody about something:

  • It was great to see you at yesterday corporate party...
  • Congratulations on getting a position of the chief of the sales department...
  • I loved your post in the media about...
  • John recommended me to get in touch with you regarding...
  • I hope you enjoyed your vacation at...

These are examples of greetings in an email for starting messaging with close people:

  • Yesterday I was laughing when I recalled our vacation in Malaysia
  • This video made me think about you and...
  • I was thinking about you and our stay in New York
  • I loved your recent photos
  • Hello from the other side!

People can use these salutations in the start of conversation when knowing people well or these two people have shared memories. These salutations and the likes one will use when starts messaging with friends or college peers:

  • What’s up?
  • How are you?
  • How have you been?
  • It’s so good to see you!

Read also: Use this free alphabetical order tool to sort your text easily.

Common Situations of Greeting Different People

Formal Greetings – use formal salutations with business partners, unknown or older persons when you start a conversation. Also these constructions are also useful when you want to send cover letter writing or college admission essay. Formal email format allows using these structures:

  • Good morning/day/afternoon/evening!
  • Hi/Hello! (if a person uses the casual business style of communication)
  • Nice to meet you!
  • How are you?
  • Pleased to meet you!

Follow-up Greetings – use them when he/she targets receiving follow-up after meetings of business calls.

  • As we discussed during the last call...
  • I’m getting back to you concerning...
  • Could you, please, provide me with recent updates on...
  • As a follow-up on our last contact
  • I’m checking in on feedback regarding...

Greetings after Interruption in Communication - these salutations can be used when meeting friends or family members after a long time without hearing from them.

  • What’s new?
  • How have you been?
  • Nice to see you again!
  • It’s been a while!

Casual Greetings – use them with peers, colleagues one knows well or friends, when you don't know how to start an email.

  • How are things?
  • How’s life?
  • How’s everything?
  • How are you?
  • What’s up?

Slang Greetings – these salutations you can use in the teen environment, with peers or during informal gatherings.

  • Yo!
  • Hey, man!
  • Howdy!
  • Sup? Wazzup?
  • G’day mate!

Formatting Greetings: 3 Simple Rules

Formatting salutations is easy, and the grammar is very important: the name should be separated with commas on one or two sides depending on its length. For example: “Hello, Emma!”

Placing an exclamation point at the end of the phrase is a common practice: “Good afternoon, Mr Abbott!” Because it’s important not only know how to start a formal email but to format it correctly use the right punctuation marks, as well as grammatically correct structures. An online grammar check tool will help you avoid any potential grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors.

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One should also use a comma if he/she uses it in a regular message: “Good evening, Alice, as a follow-up to our meeting...” In the text, one should start the next phrase after salutation with a new line.


We really hope our readers will find inspiration in this article. If you still have some questions or you can't your email by yourself, our email writing service is always ready to help.

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