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Letter greetings and salutations

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Letter greetings and salutations
September 29, 2018 Anniversary Wishes For Parents 3 comments

Greeting in a Business Letter. If you used the recipient's name in the salutation, use 'sincerely'. If you did not use the recipient's name in the salutation, use.

Choose the right greeting and sign off

It's important to start and end your letter on a strong note so that the recipient will respond favourably to your message. Choosing the right greeting and sign off will go a long way toward that goal.

This page offers suggestions for good ways to open and close your letters.

Formal or informal?

Before you begin writing, think about why you're writing your letter and who will be receiving it. The degree of formality in your letter (formal, semi-formal, or informal) will determine what kind of greeting and sign off you should use. Most business correspondence (e.g., cover letters for job applications, insurance claims, letters of complaint) should be formal. Business letters whose recipient you know very well (e.g., a former boss) may be semi-formal. Most personal correspondence (e.g., informal invitations, letters of condolence) should be informal.


In a formal letter, your greeting (or salutation) should strike a warm yet respectful tone. The most common greeting is Dear followed by the recipient's name.

Formal and semi-formal

For formal letters, address the recipient with a courtesy title (i.e., Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms, Dr) followed by the person's last name. Be sure to confirm what title the recipient prefers before writing your letter. If you are unsure of a woman's title preference, use Ms. If you do not know the recipient’s gender, you may use the person's full name and omit the title. Formal greetings end in a colon.

 Dear Ms Jones:

 Dear Taylor Jones:

You should strive to address your letter to a specific person. Letters that aren't addressed to a specific person are less likely to be read. If you do not know the name of the recipient, use Dear Sir or Madam or To whom it may concern.

Semi-formal greetings follow the same format as formal greetings; however, you may refer the recipient by his or her first name.

Dear Jane:


Greetings for informal letters should similarly convey friendliness and courtesy. But because informal letters are reserved for personal correspondence between friends and family members, you have a greater degree of latitude in how you phrase your greeting. You may choose to use a more conversational tone. Some writers substitute Hello or Hi for Dear. Informal greetings end in a comma rather than a colon.

Hi John,

Signing off

In your final sign off (or closing), you should aim to be brief and courteous. As compared to the greeting, you have more options of phrases to use at your disposal. Some common sign offs for letters of all degrees of formality include Best regards, Sincerely, and Yours truly. In all letters, the sign off should end with a comma.

Best regards,

 John Smith

Formal and semi-formal

In formal and semi-formal letters, it's best to stick with traditional sign offs, such as those listed in the previous paragraph. Avoid using sign offs, such as Love, that imply a high degree of intimacy between you and the recipient. Semi-formal letters often use a truncated version of formal sign offs. Some formal and semi-formal variants of sign offs are listed below:

Yours truly
Best wishes
Best regards
Best or Regards
Sincerely yours



As with greetings, sign offs in informal letters tend to have a more conversational tone than those in formal or semi-formal letters. Some common sign offs for informal letters include Love, Hugs and kisses, and Your friend. For letters to close friends, you may even use a personal catchphrase. You may also choose a phrase that relates directly to the content of your letter. For instance, if you are writing a letter of support to a friend undergoing a personal crisis, you might write In solidarity.


Back toLetters and invitations.

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Here are the key German letter greetings. We will start with the more casual greetings then move up to the more polite ones. As a reminder, in German.

How to Write a Letter in German

letter greetings and salutations

Dear Reader: Dear Reader, Hi Reader, Good afternoon, Reader: Hey Reader! Are you confused about shaping salutations in business letters and business email?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions in business writing courses (learn more about our courses here). To begin, let’s clarify which documents use a salutation:

  • A business letter communicates information outside the organization and requires a salutation.
  • A business memo communicates information inside an organization, and does not include a salutation.
  • A business email communicates information both inside and outside an organization, and should include a salutation on the first message.

Base Your Salutation Choice Directly on Your Recipient, (Especially Your Relationship with that Recipient)

The standard salutation for a business letter is the salutation Dear, followed by the person’s name and sometimes a title, closing with a colon.

Dear Ms. Reader:
Dear Janet:
Dear Attorney Adams:

The standard salutation for a more social business letter, or personal letter is the salutation Dear, followed by the person’s name and sometimes a title, closing with a comma.

Dear Ms. Writer,
Dear Andrew,
Dear Pastor Amanci,
(Social business letters address congratulations, thanks, condolences or other non-business related issues.)



Formality Tips

If you do not know a person well, or are making first contact, it is always best to lean towards formality. Use a title and a last name.

Dear Mr. Sancheza:
Dear Dr. Amanci:

If you know the recipient well, use a first name only.

Dear Karen:

If you do not know the person’s name, try to find it. If it’s impossible to locate, then use a person’s position as salutation.

Dear Principal:
Dear Tax Adjuster:
Dear Parent:

To two or more women:

Dear Mrs. Adams, Ms. Kott, and Miss Connor (using the title you know each prefers. If you do not know a recipient’s preferred title, use the neutral title Ms.)

To a woman and a man:

Dear Ms. Fong and Mr. Mendle (List the recipient who is highest in corporate rank first, and alphabetize the order if they are equal in corporate rank.)

To several persons:

Dear Mr. MacDonald, Mrs. Brady and Dr. Mellon:

Business Email Salutations

Hold these same letter standards for a business email (i.e. one that is functioning like a business letter, such as a first response to a client inquiry, or a sales letter, or a proposal.)

For less formal email, match your salutation and tone to your relationship with the recipient and end the salutation with a comma rather than a colon:

Hi David,
Hello David,
Good morning, David, (If you are certain David will read this email in the morning. See post, Using Time Salutations Carefully for more info.)
Hey David, (Only use the slang term hey for your most informal email with your best work pals. "Hey" is too casual in wider business use.)

You can also incorporate the person’s name in the opening of the message:

You’re right, David. I forgot.

Learn more about business email:



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Top 5 Business Letter Greetings Mostly Used in 2018

letter greetings and salutations

Business English

Top 5 Business Letter Greetings Mostly Used in 2018

Does “Hey” sound too informal? Is “Dear” overly official? It can be a real challenge to start an email, especially when you’re writing a business letter to someone you don’t know well.

If you think that business letter greetings aren’t so significant and there is no need to focus on them, put these thoughts aside. In fact, the beginning of your email sets the tone of your further correspondence. Besides, a proper opening line can help you make a killer first impression on your recipient. It may also motivate them to keep reading.

Barbara Pachter, a business-etiquette expert, considers that a lot of people pay special attention to how they are addressed. In case your greeting offends someone’s feelings, it will undoubtedly affect a person’s opinion of you.

The best way to write an email is to keep your business letter greetings and closings as simple as possible. Of course, it will depend on who you are writing to, but generally, it’s someone you barely know. To help you find a perfect salutation, we’ve gathered the best examples of business letter greetings in 2018. Besides, we added some opening lines that are better to avoid.

The best business letter greetings

“Hi [Name], …”

When it comes to business correspondence, “Hi [Name]” is a clear winner and one of the most used salutations in 2018. Experts say it’s a simple, direct and effective way to address someone, whether you know them or not.

Although it sounds quite informal, “Hi” is one of the best official business letter greetings. By adding the person’s last name, you will keep the appropriate formal tone.

“Hi Mr. Houston, …”

It can also be successfully used in a cold communication when you don’t know a recipient’s name. Feel free to ask a person whether they prefer to be called by their first name or last name.

“Hello [Name], …”

For those who want to add a more formal tone to an email, here is an alternative — “Hello [Name]”. Among formal email greetings, this one bridges a gap between “Hi” and “Dear” providing the right balance between professionalism and a touch of familiarity.

“Dear [Name], …”

Business letter greetings and salutations that start with “Dear” have been used for centuries to address a person. However, nowadays it sounds rather old-fashioned. It’s not wrong to use “Dear” in your email, but it can come off as a too formal greeting.

Use this salutation when you’re addressing someone or sending business documents such as a cover letter to show your respect, professionalism, and politeness. In this case, you can use “Dear” followed by a person’s title (Mr., Ms.) and their last name:

“Dear Mr. Houston, …”

If you don’t know the gender of your recipient, use a full name without a title:

“Dear Alex Houston, …”

Avoid titles that specify marital status — instead of “Mrs.”, use “Ms.”

“Greetings, …”

This is an excellent alternative to “Hi [Name], …” in case you send a business letter to a general email box or don’t know who your recipient is. On the other hand, we recommend doing your best to find out that information.

“Hi, everyone …”

If you’re writing to a group, use this kind of salutation. By the way, it’s one of the most popular official business letter greetings used to address more than one person.

Keep away from salutations like “All”, which sounds rude, or too gender-specific “Ladies” and “Gentlemen”.

Improve your business writing skills — read our latest article “How to Start a Letter and Write a Great Hook”.

The worst business letter greetings examples


Starting the email with “Hey!” or “Hey [Name], …” is a great way to begin a conversation with friends. But when it comes to the workplace, using these casual salutations as the business letter greetings in English is rude and even disrespectful. It’s not professional, especially if you’re writing to a stranger.

“To whom it may concern, …”

It’s the worst sample of business letter greetings you could ever imagine. Upon receiving an email with this kind of salutation, your recipient may think: “This letter doesn’t concern me.” Besides, most people can take it for a cold email and close immediately.  

Even if you have no idea what your recipient’s name is, conduct research to figure it out. For example, you’re applying for the job but don’t know who it’s better to address. In this case, you should find out a name of the company’s hiring manager. Can’t find anything online? Just call the company’s representative and ask.

“[Misspelled Name], …”

The golden rule of business communication is never to misspell your recipient’s name. Many people are instantly getting annoyed if their name is miswritten.

To be on the safe side, always double-check the spelling of the person’s name. You can find their name in the signature block or check the ‘To’ line. People often use their first or last names in the address.

“Hi [Nickname], …”

If you’ve conducted your research and found out that the person’s name is Benjamin, for example, don’t be too familiar to shorten his name to Ben. Addressing a person with his nickname can become one of good business letter greetings only if you’ve already met a recipient or you’ve got a reply with a nickname written after Best regards, Ben.

“Dear Sir/Madam, …”

Why should your recipients be interested in your email if you have no idea who they are? In fact, such formal salutations as “Dear Sir/Madam” show that you’re not interested in recipients and thus, what they need or look for.

Final words

The language of business is constantly changing trying to stay in tune with the modern trends. While a little old-fashioned “Dear” is fading into insignificance, “Hi” and “Hello” are at the top of the list of formal business letter greetings. Keep your business communication on a professional level by choosing the win-win salutations.

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salutation definition: The definition of a salutation is a greeting. (noun) An example of a salutation is when you write "Dear Dean.." at the top of a letter.

How to write business letters

letter greetings and salutations

Do you know what I just spent way too long doing? Scrolling through all of my sent messages.

I realized two very important (and slightly embarrassing) things:

One: I send way too many emails. I mean way too many.
Two: I start nearly every single one with "I hope you're doing well!" Seriously. Every. Single. One.

Has anyone ever been full of more hope than me?

Jokes aside, You wouldn't think that your email greeting would be that complicated to write.

But, I've learned that landing on that perfect sentence that seamlessly segues into the rest of my note is an art form in and of itself.

Do you find yourself as stumped as I do? You're in luck. I've rounded up 40 different email greetings you can use to kick start your message. Because, let's face it--nobody actually means "Happy Monday!"

If You Need Something Formal

  1.  Allow Me to Introduce Myself 
  2. Good afternoon
  3. Good morning
  4. How are you?
  5. Hope this email finds you well
  6. I hope you enjoyed your weekend
  7. I hope you're doing well
  8. I hope you're having a great week
  9. I hope you're having a wonderful day
  10. It's great to hear from you
  11. I'm eager to get your advice on...
  12. I'm reaching out about...
  13. Thank you for your help
  14. Thank you for the update
  15. Thanks for getting in touch
  16. Thanks for the quick response

If You're Following Up on Something

  1. As promised, I'm...
  2. As we discussed on our call...
  3. Can you provide me with an update on...
  4. I'm checking in on...
  5. I'm getting back to you about...
  6. To follow up on our meeting...

If You Want to Get (Appropriately) Personal

  1. Congratulations on [recent accomplishment]
  2. How did [recent project] turn out?
  3. I hope you enjoyed your [event or vacation]
  4. I loved your recent [photo/article/social media post]
  5. I was just laughing the other day about [inside joke]
  6. I was just thinking about you and [shared memory]
  7. It was great to see you at [event]
  8. This [article/video/GIF] made me think of you
  9. [Mutual Contact] recommended I get in touch with you

If You're Feeling Funny

  1. Happy "Not Monday"
  2. Hello from the other side
  3. Here's the good news: Only [number] more days until Friday
  4. Hope you're surviving another workweek
  5. I hope you've had your coffee already
  6. It's me again
  7. I'll keep this short
  8. I'm sorry if this Message sabotaged "inbox zero" for you
  9. Just what you want: another email!

It's important to keep in mind that not all of these opening lines will be appropriate for every email you send. An important client or your boss, for example, will probably require something from the "formal" category. But, a close colleague or long-time friend? Well, he or she might get a kick out of a funny greeting that strays from the tried and true standards.

At any rate, there's no need to follow in my footsteps and begin every single one of your messages with the same greeting. Now that I have this list pulled together, you can bet I'll be using it as inspiration for all of my emails--and, I think you should too.

Have another opening line that you love to use? Let me know on Twitter what I missed. 

Published on: Jan 30, 2018

WATCH THE VIDEO ON THEME: How to Write a Salutation in a Formal Letter?

You can also write the person's full name. In this case, leave out the title (Mr/Mrs). This way of writing the salutation is very handy if you don't know the gender of.

letter greetings and salutations
Written by Kazijora
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