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I've received an e-mail of a colleague that I meet once. He wrote as introduction, "I hope you're doing well" and then he continued directly with the matter of the mail.

I would like to use some kind of similar introduction, but it cannot really be very personal, as we don't know each other so well (I thought about using "I'm glad to hear from you"... but probably he will not believe it :) )

The recipient of my mail is a colleague and we have never worked together, but now we will work in the same project. He is an Englishman and he is extremely correct.

Thanks!

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  • These things are very rarely meant to be taken as 'very sincere / heartfelt', nor do they need to be. Your suggested response is fine and would not (1) cause them to think that you've been dying to hear from them or (2) are the most insincere person imaginable. I once had a debate with a person over whether 'How do you do?' (a) invited / (b) allowed a response like 'I had a cold last week, but I'm over it now, thank you. How are you?' – Edwin Ashworth May 12 '14 at 13:52
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    You could say something like "Thank you for your email." However, "I am glad to hear from you" would be fine, even if you think he would not believe it: phrases like these are not intended to communicate information, but rather to serve as social formulas that indicate politeness. – Senex May 12 '14 at 13:52
  • I assume the letters concern matters of business and are not meant as personal communications. Is the other person a customer who is likely to order something from you? If that were the case there would be nothing at all wrong with saying 'Thank you for your letter. I was pleased to hear from you.' If however he has written to ask a favour, you could start off: 'I received your letter with interest, and can advise you as follows.' – WS2 May 12 '14 at 13:58
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If you wish to reply formally, you could start your letter with 'Thank you for your good wishes' and since your concern is to reply with a similar introduction, I would add: 'Thank you for your good wishes, and I too am looking forward to collaborating on our group project'

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If, as you reported, you find this English colleague extremely correct, I can't seem to find any fault in using "I hope you're doing well," as long as he wrote to you in those terms.

However, if "doing well" sounds a little too slack and buddy-buddy to your ear, you might want to consider paraphrasing using a less casual but still courteous wording, such as "I hope you are well," or the more formal "I hope this email finds you well."

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