you please give me some tips about netiquette, i.e. which
are the correct forms of address for emails and how do you close
There is no standard format as far as I know for netiquette
- etiquette for the net. Netiquette is a new
word. Etiquette is a system of social rules or polite
bahaviour relating to a particular group of people - in this case
all the people who use the web for emails.
For letters, whose progress can be as slow as that of a
snail when they are entrusted to the postal system, there are clearly
defined conventions for opening and closing:
For formal letters when the name or sex of the recipient is not
OPENING: Dear Sir(s), Dear Madam or Dear Sir or Madam
CLOSING: Yours faithfully (In American English, sometimes:
For the more formal style of letter when their name is known but
you do not know them very well:
OPENING: Dear Mr Jenkins, Dear Ms Hopkins (or, if you know
their marital status and know that they prefer to be addressed as
Mrs or Miss: Dear Miss Hopwell, Dear Mrs Jenkinson)
CLOSING: Yours sincerely (In American English, sometimes:
Sincerely Yours, Sincerely,
For informal letters to business contacts that you know well:
OPENING: Dear Tony, Dear Estelle
CLOSING: With best wishes or With kind regards followed
by Yours sincerely or, sometimes, in public service Yours
For letters to friends or close family members:
OPENING: Dear Maggy, Dear Freddie
CLOSING: Yours, Your, Love, Lots of Love (Hugs and Kisses)
However, there are no standard formulas for starting or finishing
emails. Only one thing is clear. Emails are invariably of an informal
nature, so informal language tends to be the norm.
Hi, Roger, Hello Roger, Dear Roger
These seem to represent an informal norm, as far as there is one.
Roger, Dear Mr Woodham
These formats are used more in business correspondence. Note that
using the given name alone, as above, is reminiscent of business
memos among colleagues within the same organisation.
But I have also received emails with a wide variety of other opening
formulas over the last twelve months. I list them all below from
most formal to least formal:
Dear Professor Woodham (this is incorrect as I am not
a university professor),
Dear Roger Woodham(note that this formula is
also used in letters sometimes),
Hello Roger Woodham, Hi Roger Woodham, Good morning Roger,
Hey Roger, Hey you guys (this one to me and my colleagues)
Best wishes, Regards, Best regards, Good wishes.
These seem to represent the informal norm, followed by the
given name (David/Dave/etc) of the sender.
Occasionally, Yours sincerely is combined with Best
wishes or stands alone before the given name of the sender,
as in a semi-formal letter. Very occasionally, I have received
emails ending, e.g. Yours sincerely and then on the next line the
given name plus family name, David Green, but this is an exception.
Sometimes, a pre-closing formula is used instead of or in
addition to the standard closure, e.g.
Let me know if you need more information,
Look forward to hearing from you.
There is also a trend, particularly in informal emails, to dispense
with capitalisation, punctuation and to use shortened forms and
shortened words as in text-messaging. This is a slightly extreme
example, but you might one day get an email looking something like
b4 u leave b'ham pls spk 2 NG & tell her we'll b @
r hse in sth ldn till nxt weds. Ta v much. C u soon. Luv ND
Translated into more standard English (the opening here is slightly
old-fashioned), this would read:
Before you leave Birmingham, please speak to Angie and
tell her we'll be at our house in South London until next Wednesday.
Thanks very much.
See you soon. Love, Andy
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