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Writing formal emails, When I reply to the other party's email, how should I start my e-mail?

Starting the email for the first time, I'd say Dear XXX. But should I say it again when I write to them for the second time in reply to what they've said or no greetings is needed in that case? Should I simply just say hello again or something like that?

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If it's a business email, then you should always start it the same way: "Dear XXX:". Once you've become friendly enough, you can change the colon to a comma, & maybe you can change the name from the surname to the given name. With all my editing clients, I use "Hi, Dr YYY," or "Hi, Prof ZZZ," but my business is rather informal: just me & I know most of my clients. I use "Dear XXX" for very formal emails & to distance myself from the person I'm writing to. I never use given names unless writing to friends or graduate student clients. It's not polite to omit the opening salutation. –  user21497 Jan 22 '13 at 6:08
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@thang: Bad advice. Good only for informal emails to friends. –  user21497 Jan 22 '13 at 6:28
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1 Answer

up vote 2 down vote accepted

In formal writing you would just continually use "dear." See for example the correspondence between Vladimir Nabokov and Edmund Wilson, titled appropriately, Dear Bunny, Dear Volodya.

There are no rules for this in informal correspondence. Much depends on the context and on the status of the person you are addressing (to state the obvious). Most importantly, the greetings and the sign-offs add a much-needed touch of personal flair. Pick your approach, and use it consistently.

As long as your tone is appropriate to the situation, you cannot go too wrong.

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