Some days ago I received an email from my business owner regarding an issue. She started with writing 'Hi my_name' then she described the issue, in response I wrote 'Hello her_name' and then I wrote the solution to the issue. She tried the solution and issue was resolved but she had a different issue now and she replied the same email saying 'My_name, another issues here...'. Now I was reluctant to reply like 'Her_name, here is the solution...' instead I replied like 'Hello her_name, here is the solution...' and this mail thread was growing and growing. Just after couple of hours all issues were resolved.

I realised that I was replying in mail thread by saying hello again and again because of the fact that she is the business owner but at the same time I was feeling like there were too much of hello every time.

What is ideal way to greet or address people in a rapidly growing email thread?

3 Answers 3


I find a greeting line of some sort very important in exactly 4 scenerios in emails. I almost never use them otherwise

  • I am reply to an email with multiple people but I am directing comments/actions/responses at a subset of the group of people on the email. Never assume the directed individual will know who the email is directed too, even if they are the only person in the "To" line. I've seen far to many emails ignored because the intended addressee did not know who the email was addressing.
  • A reply to an email old chain that has not been replied too in weeks or months or someone has hijacked an old email and changed the topic, I will treat it as brand new. But otherwise, I don't include anything.
  • If I am addressing a superior or key customer about an important topic, I may add another salutation line in follow up replies.
  • Sending an initial email.

Look at what more experienced folks are doing, decide what seems to work best, and copy their style. That's how the rest of us learned. There isn't any one perfect solution, but most folks evolve their way to one that works well enough.

My own preference: Generally in that kind of thread you are either replying to a particular comment -- in which case the a-few--lines-and-reply mechanism is enough to maintain context -- or you particularly want the attention of a specific individual, in which case you use their name at the start of a paragraph as an eye-catcher. Example:

........... On Feb 14, 2015 6:03 PM, Fred Glank wrote: >

Here's a draft of language to go on the website:

Looks good to me, though I'm not sure Cloak & Dagger's address is right.

Dina: isn't it http://www.cloakmaker.com ? ............  

  • 1
    That doesn't seem to be OP's issue. He is concerned about using "Hello" with each response.
    – Masked Man
    Commented May 9, 2015 at 15:53
  • The answer to that specific question is in my first paragraph. Do whatever seems appropriate for that conversation. Usually "hello" every time, being content-free, is avoided by us old timers and marks one as a newbie. But that depends on exactly who you're talking to, and realistically nobody cares.
    – keshlam
    Commented May 9, 2015 at 15:59
  • Thanks for the clarification, I didn't notice that the first time I read it for some reason.
    – Masked Man
    Commented May 9, 2015 at 16:19

I think the greeting is only necessary the first time you respond in the chain. After that you are mid-conversation and to keep repeating hello seems odd.

Occasionally, you might start your subsequent additions to the chain with "Thanks, her_name" to indicate that you read her last comment and are now adding another: Thanks, Jane. Would you like me to follow up?

If multiple people are included in the chain, preface your comment with the name of the person who is expected to respond. If it is just one person, you don't need to keep repeating their name.

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