I feel “I hope you are the right person.” doesn’t sound suitable for emailing professors. To me, it sounds a little rude, or cheesy, I don’t know...

Any suggestions for alternatives???

  • Technical question, or confused undergrad wondering if "Chinese Poetry in Translation" will count as credit towards the breadth requirement? Context matters here, as does your relationship to the Prof. – Wayfaring Stranger Oct 23 '17 at 18:14
  • @WayfaringStranger I actually know nothing about these profs. I am emailing them to gather more information about admission requirements as an international student. – Audrina Oct 23 '17 at 18:19
  • Sorry, it's been 40 years since I last had to write that sort of correspondence. I'm sure though, that there's someone around here who's done it within the past decade. – Wayfaring Stranger Oct 23 '17 at 18:26
  • "I hope you can answer some questions for me" ? – Lee Leon Oct 23 '17 at 18:47
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    @PapaPoule "I would be very grateful if you would answer the following questions" is a thinly disguised interrogation. Perhaps "I would be very grateful if you could advise me about the following matters." – Weather Vane Oct 23 '17 at 19:47

Dear Professor Zoom,

I am studying psolimestry, and my research has revealed that you are an expert in this field.

I would be very grateful if you could find the time to resolve some of my doubts.

The first matter I find difficult to understand is . . .

I am also struggling with a contradiction between . . .

I do hope you can advise me.

Yours sincerely,

Weather Vane

  • +1 Quoth Google: "Did you mean palmistry, psalmistry, solomostry, psalmistre" My only reservation with your answer is that it would be better if you warned the student not to ask a question that could be easily answered by some intensive Googling. – ab2 MonicaNotForgotten Oct 23 '17 at 22:37
  • @ab2 the question was how to ask an esteemed professor without seeming to be rude. Not how to research my fake topic, which you fell for along with NigelJ. My topic was not easily answered with google. – Weather Vane Oct 23 '17 at 22:40
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    I didn't "fall for it", I just Googled it because I Google almost everything. – ab2 MonicaNotForgotten Oct 23 '17 at 23:16

I think personal choice is going to be the deciding factor here. I would say, "I assume I am addressing this question to the right person(s)."

  • The important thing though is the unknown professor's personal preference for how things should be worded in an email like this. Getting that right increases probability of helpful response. – Wayfaring Stranger Oct 25 '17 at 14:57

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