Learn English – Is a salutation necessary in an email to an unknown person


I am submitting an unsolicited article to a magazine by email. The publication's website provides an email address but not a name. Rather than starting the email "To Whom it May Concern", "Dear Sir or Madam", or "To the Editor", I am inclined to omit a salutation. Would this be appropriate?

This question differs from related questions that I was able to find. While another question asks about choice of salutation for unknown individuals in email (as does this question), omitting the salutation is not discussed. Another question asks about omitting salutations in emails to known individuals but not unknown individuals.

Best Answer

I never put old-timey snail-mail salutations on emails.

That being said, for the first email you send to someone you don't know, yes you should have a short sentence at the top explaining who you are and/or why you picked them (of all people) to contact. (eg: "I'm having a bit of trouble with product-X, and the website suggested I send a request to this address"). This is the same kind of stuff you'd start out saying if you'd phoned, after the obligatory "hello","hi" verbal handshake that we don't do in emails.

This is done because most folks these days get a lot of email of all kinds, and thus have their finger poised over the delete button on any email from a sender they don't recognize. As a courtesy to them, you should give them all the information as soon as possible to make their decision on whether to keep your email, direct it to someone else, or (horrors!) trash it.