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I would like to reply to a message that says, "I hope you are doing well," and I want to return the acknowledgement. Is it acceptable to reply, "I hope you are doing well, as well?"

closed as primarily opinion-based by Drew, tchrist, ab2, Hot Licks, NVZ Mar 26 '16 at 21:20

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Is this for an employer or a friend/loved one? Response to the message hinges on that in my opinion. – ThatKidConnor Mar 26 '16 at 14:33
  • Properly, like "acceptable", is primarily opinion-based. Depends on who is involved and exactly what the context is, in detail. No useful answer can be provided for such a question, IMO. – Drew Mar 26 '16 at 17:12
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A simple, "Thank you, I'm well". But as someone who uses this expression at the start of some emails (only when I know the receiver and we're on more than formal, though less than friendly, terms) I don't actually expect a response.

  • I believe that your second sentence contradicts your first one.  You're right; except between the closest of friends, "How are you?" is interpreted as a salutation rather than a question.  "I hope you are doing well" doesn't even look like a question (grammatically), so it seems somewhat inappropriate to respond by actually making a statement about your health.  The bottom line is that ReyBoadi's question is about how to respond to the salutation, not how to answer the (implied) inquiry. – Scott Mar 26 '16 at 17:25
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A very common phrase used to inquire about the wellness of the message recipient is...

I hope this message finds you well.

This phrase behaves like a question, but reads like a statement.

However, according to the article Speaking Your Reader's Language (see paragraph 6 about e-mails to strangers), by Lynn Gaertner-Johnston, you may want to avoid using the phrase when sending a business e-mail. The act of inquiring how a stranger is by using the word you (at all) can be considered too informal.

This other article, also by Gaertner-Johnston, explains (see the third-to-last paragraph) how the phrase might have an awkward feeling about it, and gives a list of alternatives. However, I am confident that its use is still OK, as I have seen this being used numerous times even in the past year or two at both work and home.

Finally, here is a sample letter where the phrase is used (see the very first line).

  • You say that using the word you can be considered too informal.  Is that your personal opinion?  Because it looks like you’re attributing the idea to Lynn Gaertner-Johnston, but I don’t see her saying it.  (Although her earlier article questions the conventionality of the phrase “I hope you …”  BTW, did you mean to delete your reference to that article?)  But if it is your personal opinion, how do you reconcile it with “I am confident that its use is still OK”? – Scott Mar 26 '16 at 17:01
  • @Scott I work at a business and see colleagues saying it all the time? How do I prove/disprove such a thing? What are you getting at? – Snoop Mar 26 '16 at 17:11
  • What I'm getting at is (1) you reference Lynn's blog twice, and you sandwich the statement about "considered too informal" between those two references.  This suggests that you're saying that she says that using the word you can be considered too informal.  But I don't say her saying it.  If it's just your opinion, you should clarify that.  (2) You say "using the word you can be considered too informal," but you also say "I am confident that its use is still OK”.  You seem to be contradicting yourself.  So, what is your opinion? – Scott Mar 26 '16 at 17:19
  • @Scott I had quite a tough time with the URLs this morning as I am on mobile. Sorry to have caused confusion, there were actually two entirely separate articles! The same article got stuck in the copy/paste queue so I accidentally used it twice! – Snoop Mar 26 '16 at 17:26
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I would say in response:

Thanks for your good wishes. I hope you are doing well, too. (I wouldn't repeat the word "well" as in the original example.)

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You could say, "Thanks; same to you".  They'll get the point.

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    If I begin a seventeen-paragraph message "I hope you are doing well," and I get a response several days later that says "Thanks; same to you", I am going to be uncertain as to what that means. – Scott Mar 26 '16 at 17:10

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