Dear professor doctor or dear professor?

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Ali 999

Member
arabic
If I want to write an email to an academic, and their academic status is "Prof. Dr.", how should I begin the email to them?
should I write "Dear professor xxxx, " or "Dear Professor Dr. xxxxx, "?
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    In the English-speaking countries we do not combine academic titles like that*. The higher-ranking one is Professor, so the person is Professor X, not Professor Doctor X.

    * In German-speaking countries someone can be Prof. Dr Dr X, with multiple doctors!
     

    Ali 999

    Member
    arabic
    In the English-speaking countries we do not combine academic titles like that*. The higher-ranking one is Professor, so the person is Professor X, not Professor Doctor X.

    * In German-speaking countries someone can be Prof. Dr Dr X, with multiple doctors!
    I'm writing the email to a german professor, though I am not German. Should I combine the academic titles when addressing him/her? Wouldn't it be rude not to?
     

    cidertree

    Senior Member
    Hiberno-English
    I'm writing the email to a german professor, though I am not German. Should I combine the academic titles when addressing him/her? Wouldn't it be rude not to?
    I suggest you use the German titles. If I were writing to a Spanish person, for example, it would be Dear Sr. Rodriguez.
     

    Ali 999

    Member
    arabic
    We don't discuss other languages here. The above were just examples. Post 2. answers your question about English.:)
    I meant by my question: should we write the academic titles both abbreviated or in the full form? "Prof. Dr." or "Professor doctor" I don't see how this is a question regarding other languages. :)
     

    Tegs

    Mód ar líne
    English (Ireland)
    In the English-speaking countries we do not combine academic titles like that*. The higher-ranking one is Professor, so the person is Professor X, not Professor Doctor X.
    As Entangledbank said, you can’t use both titles, so the question about using the abbreviated form or the full form of both is irrelevant. In English, you would write Dear Professor X, using the full form of the word “professor”.
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I'm sure he won't object if your write 'Dear Professor XXX'. You are writing in English, after all, and so are using English conventions. When Italians write to me (in Italian) they use Italian conventions and that's fine by me.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    The practice in English-speaking schools is not as simple as some of the previous posts suggest. One should use the more prestigious title, whichever it is. In schools where there are many professors, but they don't all have doctorates, the practice may be to address a professor with a doctorate as "Dr." as that is more of a distinction than simply being a professor. (I taught at such a university for about ten years from the late 1980s to the late 1990s.)
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    The practice in English-speaking schools is not as simple as some of the previous posts suggest. One should use the more prestigious title, whichever it is.
    That's what ET said above.:)

    In the English-speaking countries we do not combine academic titles like that*. The higher-ranking one is Professor, so the person is Professor X, not Professor Doctor X.

    * In German-speaking countries someone can be Prof. Dr Dr X, with multiple doctors!
     

    Tegs

    Mód ar líne
    English (Ireland)
    In schools where there are many professors, but they don't all have doctorates, the practice may be to address a professor with a doctorate as "Dr." as that is more of a distinction than simply being a professor. (I taught at such a university for about ten years from the late 1980s to the late 1990s.)
    This sounds like a US situation that doesn’t apply in the UK. Here, professor trumps doctorate, and if you are a professor, even without a doctorate, you are higher up the ladder than a doctor. It could therefore offend a professor with a doctorate to be called Dr rather than Prof.

    I have no idea whether the US situation exists in Germany. But if I were writing in English to a German “professor-doctor”, I would write Dear Professor as this is what is standard in UK academic circles.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    This sounds like a US situation that doesn’t apply in the UK. Here, professor trumps doctorate, and if you are a professor, even without a doctorate, you are higher up the ladder than a doctor. It could therefore offend a professor with a doctorate to be called Dr rather than Prof...
    It is not a general U.S. practice. I have seen it at some universities, but it is far from universal.
     

    LVRBC

    Senior Member
    English-US, standard and medical
    "It could therefore offend a professor with a doctorate to be called Dr rather than Prof."
    In the US the custom is usually to address professors with doctorates as Doctor X, and those without as Professor Y. No one would take offense at this. So many differences to remember besides just boot, bonnet and knickers...
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Something like 'Professor Dr Schmidt' is normal in Germany, and you can either go with the German style as given, or with 'Professor Schmidt', the normal style in the English-speaking world. I can see arguments for both options.
     

    Tegs

    Mód ar líne
    English (Ireland)
    In the US the custom is usually to address professors with doctorates as Doctor X, and those without as Professor Y. No one would take offense at this. So many differences to remember besides just boot, bonnet and knickers...
    Indeed - I was completely unaware of this!

    Interesting too what Natkretrep says about Germany.
     
    This question has been answered adequately in Professor Doctor.
    If you think that thread has a bearing on the question by the OP, then you may consider offering it to the OP directly, instead of treating it as some sort of riposte to my suggestion. As it is, though, the answer given in that thread (which is about usage among English speakers in English speaking countries) is not at all adequate to the question of the correct title to use for an academic in Germany, which is not an English-speaking country even if one writes to that academic in English.

    Why do you think that a native speaker of German could usefully contribute to this question?
    Golly, could it be because customs used in Germany for addressing academics there might be better known to a German than they are to either of us? Surely you know that the custom in Germany when writing in German is to use both titles together. A bilingual German-English speaker might therefore be better informed about how a recipient in Germany of a letter being written in a language other than German might prefer to be addressed.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    We don't write Dear Professor Dr (or whatever!) when writing English. This is, after all, an English Only forum and people who ask questions are not enquiring about what they might do in other countries, where the language is not English.
    The question is not like Should I use "Sir" when asking a question? This may be the case in the USA, although it sounds very odd to anyone in the UK and any answer would or should point out the difference between the two countries.

    As far as I am concerned, the question was answered in the link I gave, which was not addressed to you specifically.
     
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