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Jane Mairs, Director of English language Learning Publishing
Greetings for formal emails
Wednesday January 11th 2012
Greetings for formal emails

Question   Hitendra from India asked, "What should I use for a greeting in a formal email,  Hi + name, or Hello + name?" 


Hi and Hello should not be used in formal email messages. In formal emails, it is best to begin with Dear + title (e.g., Mr., Ms., Professor, Dr.) + last name + comma, as in the examples below:

  • Dear Ms. Johnson,
  • Dear Professor Kahn,

For less formal messages you can use the person’s first name, as in:

  • Dear Michael,

especially if the person you are writing has already written to you this way or has signed their first name in a message to you.

For informal and personal messages you can use either Hi + name or Hello + name, as shown below. Hi is more personal and less formal. 

  • Hi Jill,
  • Hello Jill,