JS Tip 250: From the Writing Workshops: Closing an Email

Last week, we talked about closing an email. Ending an email. We suggested using Thank you.

Since then, a lot of folks have asked about beginning the email: The Dear Henry part. It’s called the salutation, and we can talk about that.  

Five suggestions:

Address the person receiving the email the same way you’d address the person in person. If you know the person as “Henry,” use “Henry.” If you know the person as “Dr. Jones,” use “Dr. Jones.”

Use “Ms.” if you’re formally addressing a woman. “Miss” and “Mrs.” are problematic. The American Heritage Book of English Usage says, “Ms. is always correct.”  

Don’t use “Dear.” When was the last time you said “Dear” at the office? Probably never. It’s archaic. Don’t use it.

Follow the salutation with a dash. A dash is midway between the formal colon and the familial comma.

Use “Hello” if you don’t know the person’s name or if you’re addressing a large group. That’s probably what you’d say to the individual or the group.

Do you have to use a salutation? No. But it’s nice. It’s polite.   

If you have questions or comments, let us know. We love this stuff.