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How do you greet multiple recipients in an e-mail?

Assuming they're both male, I just use "Sirs", but it seems a bit informal.

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I begin informal emails to multiple recipients with "Comrades". Maybe it's a Cold War nostalgia thing :-) –  Antony Quinn Oct 6 '10 at 9:29
    
Haha.. I love using those for informal emails. this is in a professional context though. I'm gonna wait for a few more votes. The answers vary from one end to another. –  Jonn Oct 6 '10 at 11:04
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How about "Hi y'all!" or "Howdy folks!"? ;) –  Stein G. Strindhaug Dec 15 '10 at 10:28
    
I use Sirs/Mesdames sometimes :) –  Paul Amerigo Pajo May 3 '11 at 0:58
    
Gentlemen is more appropriate than "Sirs". –  에이바 Feb 21 '13 at 16:32
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9 Answers

up vote 17 down vote accepted

If you don't know the recipients' names, I refer you to the other answers. However, if you do know their names, then I will add that I would actually just write:

Dear John,
Dear Jack,

I have been using this formula for more than a decade. So far, nobody has complained. For me, this approach has quite a few advantages. First of all, it is more personal than simply "Greetings" or "Hi all". Secondly, if one of those people is the main recipient and the other is CC, or if one of them has a higher rank (say, he is the boss of the other), I can reflect that in my address by mentioning him first. Lastly, this formula can be easily adapted to many situations. If some (or all) of the recipients are female I simply write:

Dear John,
Dear Jane,

If I need to make it more formal, I simply write:

Dear Mr. Smith,
Dear Ms. Black,

And I can easily extend it to three or even four people:

Dear Mr. Smith,
Dear Ms. Black,
Dear Mr. Blunt,

Now, when I am addressing more than four people, I often do use something like "Greetings", "Hi everybody", "Dear clients", "Dear colleagues". However, even then I sometimes set the most important recipient apart by writing:

Dear Prof. Black,
Dear colleagues,

or

Dear Mr. President,
Dear Members of the Committee,

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If I am addressing a few people who are well known to me, I would generally use:

Dear John, Bill, Jack,

If I am addressing a lot of people, or people who are not familiar to me, I would go with:

Dear All,

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I tend to go with this. Or I will just put the most important people in the "To:" heading, the others in "CC:" and not address them at all. –  Vincent McNabb Jul 8 '11 at 22:56
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It's kind of a carryover from my medievalist hobby, but I really like using

Greetings,

or even

Greetings!

for emails to a group of people. It's also really handy for addressing a single person when you're unsure of that person's gender and/or title.

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I rarely begin emails with a salutation. If I do, it is usually just the name - I have never transferred the pointless 'Dear' to emails.

If I wanted to put one in a group email, I suppose I would start with a word like "friends", or "people", or "folks", depending on the context and formality.

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I don't care what got accepted, this is the right answer. Email is not a written letter. The (automatically generated) header is meant to take the place of most of that formal stuff you'd manually put at the top of a written letter. If I see a salutation on one, my spam filters go on high alert. –  T.E.D. Apr 30 '12 at 13:19
    
Agree, this should definitely be the accepted answer. "Dear" is nearly always omitted in emails, and salutations are frequently omitted as well. –  Ben Lee May 13 '12 at 2:17
    
The only time I ever include a greeting in an email is when it is being CC'd to a lot of people -- particularly bosses -- I will often greet the primary recipient in the email as a hint to other recipients. –  Michael Edenfield Jul 25 '12 at 13:35
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I can't agree with this more. Dear is becoming outdated and should really only be used in written letters. I would be taken a back and a bit put off if I received a legitimate e-mail with "Dear" as the salutation. –  에이바 Feb 21 '13 at 16:34
    
@T.E.D. But isn't using "Dear" a sign of courtesy? A throw back to times when letters were written on paper and posted by hand. –  Mari-Lou A Sep 1 '13 at 23:05
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If you are working together on a project, then I rather like

Dear team

This can be appropriate even if the recipients include people from both your company and the client. It's a subtle reminder that you are all working towards a common goal.

More generally, I'd just use

Dear all,

or just

All,

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Since you are referring to a specific team, or a specific set of people (implied by the To and Cc lists), I would capitalize 'Dear Team' and 'Dear All'. –  Jonathan Leffler May 3 '11 at 1:53
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@Jonathan I see no reason to capitalise team or all. –  Hugo Sep 11 '11 at 16:49
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"Sirs" is just completely wrong. If you are addressing more than one man, it would be "Gentlemen".

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Email is still sufficiently young that formal conventions have not emerged. I find it useful to imagine myself in the mind of the recipient and ask what information I need to give them in the greeting.

If the email is really to be sent with equal priority to a number of recipients and they regard themselves as part of a group (fellow developers for example), then I would use

Dear All,

If, actually, the email is a mailshot to a number of individuals who don't know each other, then its an individual email.

Dear Sir,

or possibly

Dear Sir (or Madam),

Here, I prefer to use the convention that Sir is neuter.

And lastly, if an email is really to a single individual, but with a few more individuals copied in (such as a question to an individual developer, but where I want the email trail to be visible to the group), then I would use

Dear Bob (Alice, Charlie, Dilbert)

The last one is not a convention I have seen elsewhere, but I find it works for me.

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I have been using, "Hello to all". It seems to work well for both male and female recipients and is formal enough to use in a business setting.

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You can also use gents to refer to many recipients.

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I'm not so sure that this should be used in a formal e-mail, but +1 because it sounds classy. –  에이바 Feb 21 '13 at 16:36
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protected by Will Hunting Apr 4 '12 at 3:12

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