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Is Hey too casual? Is Dear overly formal? Is Morning! too cheery? It may also determine whether they keep reading. So, yes, it's very important. Many people have strong feelings about what you do to their names and how you address them,  , a business-etiquette expert, tells Business Insider. If you offend someone in the salutation, that person may not read any further.

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It may also affect that person's opinion of you. . The reason I like this one is that it's perfectly friendly and innocuous, says  Schwalbe. It's also Pachter's favorite. She says it's a safe and familiar way to address someone, whether you know them or not. This is a good backup to Hi, [name]. But you should always do whatever you can to find out that information. This is fine to use with your friends, but the very informal salutation should stay out of the workplace. It's not professional — especially if you're writing to someone you've never met, says Pachter. Schwalbe agrees: I can never get out of my head my grandmother's admonition 'Hey is for horses.

' Also avoid Hey there. It tells the person, I don't know your name, but if I try to sound cool and casual, maybe you won't notice. The Dear family is tricky because it's not always terrible or wrong to use, but it can sometimes come off as a bit too formal. Again, it's not the worst greeting in the world, but it's a little old-fashioned. If you don't know my name, or can't be bothered to use it, we probably aren't friends, says Schwalbe. Why then should the reader be interested in what you have to say? Schwalbe adds: This one is very stiff. It always feels like bad news or a complaint will follow. I don't need to continue reading. Not bad, but a bit informal if you're addressing someone you don't know very well.

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Another stiff and abrupt one. First off, it's a bit informal and abrupt. Then when you tack on the exclamation point, it just gets annoying. It's a bit jarring right off the bat — like someone is shouting at me,   Schwalbe says. Even without the exclamation, it's a bit abrupt. Better to precede the name with 'Hi' than just blurt it out. Many people are insulted if their name is misspelled, says Pachter. Check for the correct spelling in the person's signature block. You can also check the 'To' line. Often, people's first or last names are in their addresses. It's sexist, Pachter says.

If you're addressing a group of people, say, Hi, everyone. You don't want to be overly enthusiastic. It's not professional and sets the wrong tone. Don't take it upon yourself to call William Will or Jennifer Jen. Pachter says that this is how young children address their teachers: Mrs. Susan, can you help me with this math problem? How Lin-Manuel Miranda's non-stop work ethic from a young age made 'Hamilton' one of the most successful musicals of all time The way you start your letter depends on how formal you need to be. Here are some examples: If you don't know the person you're writing to, you can start with Dear Sir / Madam. If you start with this, you should end Yours faithfully.

Here's an example: In most business correspondence, you can start with Dear Mr / Dear Ms + surname. You should end the letter with Yours sincerely. An early reply would be appreciated / I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience. In British English, we also use the formal term To whom it may concern when we write a letter of reference on behalf of someone. Here's an example: I write with reference to Ms Smith, who has worked in my company since. They also tend to be more informal. You can write the person's first name and use a more friendly ending. Here's an example: Make sure you use the correct form of address when you write to women.

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