15 Examples of Email Salutations and Greetings

Have you ever received an email without a salutation or one with your name misspelled? How did you feel? It is important to start your email messages with the appropriate type of greeting according to the context of your message and the recipient you're writing to.

Salutations are a crucial component of emails, setting the tone and establishing the level of formality.

In this article, we will expand on how to start an email, common opening salutations, their importance, guidelines, and how to use the most salutations in formal and informal contexts.

What is a Salutation?

A salutation is a greeting that is used at the beginning of a letter or email. It typically includes a form of address, such as "Dear" or "Hello," followed by the recipient's name or title. Salutations serve as an introduction to the message and set the tone for the rest of the communication.

Why are Salutations Important?

Salutations are important because they:

  1. Set the tone for the communication, establishing formality and professionalism.
  2. Show respect towards the recipient by addressing them correctly.
  3. Demonstrate that the sender knows the appropriate etiquette for the given situation.

Guidelines for Choosing Salutations

If you are unsure how to greet a particular employee or are unsure what is the best salutation you should choose, our recommendation is don't overcomplicate it. Consider these tips: 

  1. Consider the relationship with the recipient: Choose a salutation corresponding to the level of familiarity and formality between you and the recipient.
  2. Use the recipient's title and last name when in doubt: If you are unsure of the appropriate level of formality, it is generally safer to use a more formal salutation.
  3. Research the recipient's preferences: Some people may prefer specific salutations or forms of address. It's good practice to research and respect their preferences.

Tip: We have an in-detail guide about how to write a formal email. The salutation is just one of seven elements of a formal email.

How to Start an Email?

In this section, we expand on examples of formal salutations within business contexts, informal salutations, and friendly salutations you can use with coworkers and friends. Lastly, we will provide a few examples of greetings to avoid because they showcase that you do not follow any business etiquette. 

Formal Salutations

We use formal salutations in professional business contexts when writing to our superiors, new partners, or decision-makers.

  1. Dear Mr. Smith: Use this salutation when addressing a male recipient with whom you have a professional relationship.
  2. Dear Ms. Johnson: Use this salutation when addressing a female recipient with whom you have a professional relationship. "Ms." is the preferred form over "Miss" or "Mrs." unless you know the recipient's preference.
  3. Dear Dr. Brown: Use this salutation when addressing a recipient with a doctoral degree.
  4. Dear Professor Green: Use this salutation when addressing a university professor or someone with a similar academic title. You might also use the short version, Dear Prof. Green.
  5. To whom it may concern: Use this salutation when you do not know the recipient's name or when the letter serves a general purpose. Take, for example, the case when you're sending a letter of intent for a job. 

Tip: Just after the salutation, you need to add an good opening line to your email. Find 100 email opening examples.

Informal Salutations

Especially used within internal contexts when communicating with colleagues or close friends:

  • Hi John: Use this salutation when addressing a colleague or acquaintance with whom you have a friendly relationship.
  • Hello Jane: Use this salutation when addressing someone you know on a first-name basis but want to maintain a slightly more formal tone.
  • Hey Mike: Use this salutation when addressing a close friend, family member, or someone you have an informal relationship with.
  • Greetings Sam: Use this salutation for a casual but respectful tone.
  • Hi there: Use this salutation when addressing a group or when the recipient's name is unknown, but the context is casual.

Friendly Salutations

We speak about friendly salutations, especially when sending a message to our friends, acquittances, and even colleagues we know well.

  • Hi [Name],
  • Hello [Name],
  • Greetings [Name],
  • Good morning/afternoon [Name],
  • Hey [Name],

Salutations to avoid

These salutations might be ok to be used within social media for your close group of friends; however, we don't recommend them for business purposes, so avoid them. 

  1. Ladies and Gentlemen
  2. Dear Friend
  3. Hi Guys (when addressing a mixed-gender or professional group)
  4. Good Day
  5. G'day
  6. Salutations
  7. What's up [Name],
  8. Hiya [Name],
  9. Yo
  10. Hola
  11. Dear [First name] [Last name]
  12. Dear [Nickname]
  13. Hey there.

Standard salutation for a business letter or email

The appropriate way to use a greeting within a business letter is "Dear [Title] [Last Name]:". For example, "Dear Mr. Smith:" or "Dear Dr. Brown:".

Tip: Find out more than 23 business email examples for every situation.

Correct Punctuations for Salutations

Generally, use a comma (,) after the recipient's name in informal salutations and a colon (:) in formal greetings.


  • Formal: Dear Mr. Smith:
  • Informal: Hi John,

Overall takeaway

Salutations are essential to written communication - well, emails and letters, setting the tone and conveying respect towards the recipient. When choosing a salute, consider the relationship with the recipient, the level of formality, and the recipient's preferences. Using appropriate greetings and salutations for emails and letters demonstrates professionalism and attention to detail, contributing to a positive impression of yourself and your organization.

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