Learn English – Are greetings and salutations redundant in an e-mail


Do I really need to write my email this way?

Hi John,

[My Message here]

Regards, Jane

The email header already includes the to and from. The recipient should not be confused by who the email is directed at (himself) and who it's coming from if the greeting and salutation are missing.

Some people might say the greeting and salutation are there for politeness. Is this really true? Will you be offended if they're left out? As a website user interface designer, I was always taught by the great usability experts (Steve Krug, Jacob Nielson) that writing more than you need is disrespectful of a website user's time. To me, leaving out the greeting and salutation makes the email easier to read.

Best Answer

Some sensitivity to age and formality is needed to answer this question. A formal note does not change in structure because it's being sent via email. There's nothing special or magical about email that gives one permission to be forward, rude, or insulting.

When writing to older persons, persons in authority, superiors, et al, I recommend a salutation and a complimentary close. These are not "wastes of time" by any means - they serve very specific functions if you are skilled in their use. Both the opening and the close allow you to frame your relationship with the recipient. For example:


Hi Melissa:

Dear Melissa:

These all have a different feel and express a different kind of tone. Paired with the proper close, you have no need for silly emoticons and winkies and such.

However, younger people will find these things to be quite strange and confusing. In sending email to anyone 25 and younger, I'd recommend being extremely curt and you might even be pushing the envelope by using punctuation.