Business, Communication, Email Writing

Salutations: How to Greet Someone in an Email (Part Two)

In a recent post, we looked at salutations and gave examples of how to properly greet someone in an email or letter. However, “Dear Ms. Sanchez” or “Hello Jim” won’t work if you are writing to your company’s entire marketing department. Therefore, we will now look at the best ways to greet two or more people in an email or letter.

One plus one…

If you are writing an email or letter to just two people, you should greet them by name, using the guidelines from our previous article. The only change is that you add the word “and”, followed by the second person’s name and a comma.

Here are some examples of salutations that are directed at two people:

Dear Mr. Hanyu and Ms. Asada,

Dear Dr. Keller and Professor Hsu,

Dear Vicky and Steve,

If you are writing a formal message and you aren’t sure about someone’s gender, greet both of the recipients by their first and last names:

Dear Harper Johnson and Curtis Yang,

Dear Chris Cartwright and Laura Romano,

What about “Dear Both”?

At TextRanch, we occasionally see emails that start with “Dear Both”. While this is grammatically correct, it sounds awkward and unnatural. Also, most people prefer to be addressed by name.

Can you greet three or four people by name?

A salutation with up to five names is considered acceptable in some contexts. If you decide to go this route, don’t forget to include a comma after each name, including the final person’s name.

Dear Eliza, David, and Tyree,

Dear Dr. Moss, Ms. Choi, Mr. Wendell, and Ms. Birch,

Dear Jonathan W. Porter, Leila Gomez-Thompson, Seo-yun Pak, Casey McDonald, and Jean-Claude Legrand,

Those first two salutations are fine, but the last one is akin to crowding too many people onto a park bench. Imagine how it would sound if even more names were added to that group! It’s time to look at salutations for emails that will be sent to a large number of people.

“Dear All” is frequently used, but a more specific salutation is preferable.

Take a moment to think about the group of people who will be receiving your email. What kind of relationship do you have with them? Which company/organization do they work for? What sort of tone do you want to set?

The following examples can help you get started:

Dear Colleagues,

Dear Members of the Selection Committee,

Dear ABC Company Board of Directors,

Dear Westwood Academy Alumni,

Dear QRS Tech Team,

Note that most of the words in the above salutations are capitalized, with only prepositions and articles starting with lower-case letters.

One final guideline…

Whether you are writing to two people or two million people, go to the next line on the page before you start writing the body of your text.

You want your email to look like this:

Hello Hilltop Community Band Members,

This is just a reminder to turn in your sheet music after our concert on Sunday. You can either hand it to me or leave it on the table in the practice room.

Thank you,

Tim Jensen

If you are still wondering about how to write salutations, or if you would like one of our TextRanch editors to read your email and give you some feedback, click the link below.

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3 Replies to Salutations: How to Greet Someone in an Email (Part Two)

  1. Under ‘ Can you greet three or more people by their names’, why the punctuation COMMA added before the word AND and followed by the last name?

    1. The comma before “and” is called an Oxford comma. It is optional, but some people (myself included) find that a text is clearer and easier to read when the Oxford comma is in place.

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