DEAR MISS MANNERS: What do you recommend to start emails for business, and for personal messages? And how to sign off?
I often see “Hi” as the start and “Thank you” as the ending, and sometimes that just doesn’t feel right.
GENTLE READER: Emails cover a wide range of formality. Therefore the recipients and subject matter must always be considered when using salutations -- and they may even be excluded altogether, once you are deep into the exchange.
“Hi,” although becoming commonplace, still strikes Miss Manners as being cheeky, or at least too breezy for business correspondence. And “thank you” is premature when accompanying a request.
Treat formal emails as you would letters -- using “Dear” and “Yours truly” for business, and more affectionate terms for your personal affairs. Miss Manners will leave those to your own discretion, depending on the degree of intimacy -- and the relative privacy of your internet connection.