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I'm looking for an alternative ways to ask my email recipients about themselves before we go into more serious discussion. I think "how are you" does not sound professional when you are emailing to authority departments/ hotels/ other professional bodies.

Thank you.

closed as off-topic by MetaEd, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, Jim, Kris, TrevorD Oct 17 '13 at 14:10

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I would say

I hope this email finds you well

I hope this email finds you in good health

I hope this email finds you well and in good health

I hope this email finds you in good health and spirit

The last one sounds a bit casual for business emails. It is usually good when you are about to make announcements in the following text. First three are equally good in your case.

You don't expect to get any meaningful response to such phrases, so, get rid of it if you want. If not, just "I hope you are well" will work too.

P.S: Don't use these expressions in every following reply, some people will return very sarcastic comments ;P

  • Thank you for your reply. I think "Greetings" and "I hope this email finds you well" are the answers that I am looking for. – Sunz Oct 18 '13 at 8:42
  • Glad you found your answer. You may also want to up vote the answer if it was helpful. – Fr0zenFyr Oct 18 '13 at 9:32
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I am trying to ascertain exactly the kind of person to whom you are writing.

If I did not know the addressee personally, I would keep off the subject of their health. (They may have recently been diagnosed with something dreadful, and your letter may send them into still further decline).

There isn't much wrong with the single word 'Greetings'.

But it all depends on what the message is about. If it's a cold sales attempt you obviously need to start with something punchy that will capture their attention and inspire them to take their finger off the delete button. Something like 'I promise it will take no more than 147 of your heartbeats to read this, and it could prolong your life by ten years'.

In Britain the weather is a good fall-back subject. Literally everyone comments on it daily. So if this was not my first contact I might begin:

'I trust you are well and enjoying this marvelous autumn sunshine' or 'I hope all is well with you despite the miserable weather we're having'.

If you know them really well the openings are endless, depending on how much irony you wish to employ;

'I trust you and the family are in good shape and you have come back disgustingly sun-tanned from your fortnight on the Costa Lotta'.

I trust you are in fine fettle, old boy, and up to all your usual mischief.

  • Thank you for your reply. I think "Greetings" and "I hope this email finds you well" are the answers that I am looking for. As a liaison officer for my department, I have to get in touch with other organisations/ government agencies (as in my country). Therefore, I do not think "how are you" is an appropriate way to greet them. – Sunz Oct 18 '13 at 8:57
  • +1 for 'I hope all is well with you despite the miserable weather we're having', my answer doesn't show such options. – Fr0zenFyr Oct 18 '13 at 9:37

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