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I am submitting an unsolicited article to a magazine by email. The publication's website provides an email address but not a name. Rather than starting the email "To Whom it May Concern", "Dear Sir or Madam", or "To the Editor", I am inclined to omit a salutation. Would this be appropriate?

This question differs from related questions that I was able to find. While another question asks about choice of salutation for unknown individuals in email (as does this question), omitting the salutation is not discussed. Another question asks about omitting salutations in emails to known individuals but not unknown individuals.

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    I’m voting to close; communication protocols / niceties fits better on Interpersonal Skills. Feb 22, 2022 at 14:24

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I never put old-timey snail-mail salutations on emails.

That being said, for the first email you send to someone you don't know, yes you should have a short sentence at the top explaining who you are and/or why you picked them (of all people) to contact. (eg: "I'm having a bit of trouble with product-X, and the website suggested I send a request to this address"). This is the same kind of stuff you'd start out saying if you'd phoned, after the obligatory "hello","hi" verbal handshake that we don't do in emails.

This is done because most folks these days get a lot of email of all kinds, and thus have their finger poised over the delete button on any email from a sender they don't recognize. As a courtesy to them, you should give them all the information as soon as possible to make their decision on whether to keep your email, direct it to someone else, or (horrors!) trash it.

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  • Thanks. I agree with you that the reason for the email should always be stated upfront. Jun 3, 2014 at 17:25
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I feel the same way about the formal salutations, but I don't think 'hi' works, so I get around it by a greeting that incorporates the time of day.

Good morning,

I was wondering if you could assist me to....

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  • A minor point to bear in mind is that the recipient might read your email later or be in a different time zone.
    – J W
    Feb 22, 2022 at 14:39
  • "Hi" seems quite common even in business emails. Whether I'd use it in a job application might depend on the formality of the company, but I don't think it would be too out of place.
    – Stuart F
    Feb 22, 2022 at 17:23
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Do not use Dear unless it is very formal. Even on the first email I ever send a stranger I rarely use Dear. I find Hi too cutesy so I begin with the name followed by a colon. After the first email and initial reply I drop all salutations. If the person is unknown, I rarely use a salutation as the whole point is to personalize the email and avoid looking too harsh. Something like good morning does not really personalize it, although I guess it is okay if you want to be formal

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Try to find out the name of the person you're writing to. If it's an editor of a journal, you should be able to find their name very easily.

I am from the UK and I always use "Dear" for emails to people I have never corresponded with before, and then move to "Hi" at the first opportunity. "Dear" may be a little over-polite, but this is not a problem.

I never just write just the name alone with no salutation because it sounds like I'm about to give them a telling off. If people write to me with just my name alone, I find it horrifying.

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