One email to two people

Discussion in 'English Only' started by mrblack, Oct 27, 2010.

  1. mrblack Member


    I need to write an email to two persons and have the following questions:
    1) How to address them in the email? Is it ok if I write:

    Dear Ms. X:
    Dear Mr. Y:

    I have received ...

    2) Should I always address the female recipients before male, although she should actually be added in CC?
    3) Punctuation: Which punctuation mark should be used after addressing? Comma, Colon or neither of them?
    4) Capitalization: Should the first letter of the first text block be capital?

    Thanks very much for your answers.

    Last edited: Oct 27, 2010
  2. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    English (England)
    1) I would write Dear Ms. X and Mr. Y

    2) No, I've never heard of putting female recipients before male - maybe I'm unchivalrous. Actually, I would never address a message to someone who is in CC at all - you can't copy a message to someone it was addressed to anyway. Either put them both in the address line and write the message to both of them or put her in CC and don't address the message to her at all.

    Your questions 3 and 4 don't really relate to the subject of this thread, but as they're quick to answer anyway I'll do so:

    3) Comma.

    4) Yes.
  3. Aardvark01

    Aardvark01 Senior Member

    Midlands, England
    British English (Midlands)
    I agree with everything Timepeac says except in regards to this. It would not usually be a capital letter but since you have started your text with the first person pronoun "I" it is appropriate to use a capital.
  4. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    English (England)
    Really, Aardvark?

    Do you mean you would write, for example,

    Dear Mr Smith,

    it has been a long time since we spoke.


    I would certainly write "It has been a long time since we spoke".
  5. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    It's not clear, from these first two questions, whether you are in fact writing to two people, or you are actually writing to Mr. Y but you want Ms. X to have a copy of the message.

    If you are sending the message to both of them (there will be a line at the top "To: A____ X______" and another "To: B_______ Y_______"), then you would begin, "Dear Ms. X and Mr. Y". (This line is called the salutation.) No, you would not put one sex or the other first. If one is of higher rank (such as, position in a company), then I would put that name first; if they are more or less equal, I would put them in alphabetical order.

    If you are actually writing to Mr. Y and sending a copy to Ms. X (there will be a line "To: B_____ Y______" and another "cc: A______ X_______"), then your salutation is just to Mr. Y ("Dear Mr. Y").

    You do need some punctuation, and either comma or colon is correct; the colon is a little more formal. I would use a comma, but it's a matter of personal choice.

    Yes. A new sentence always begins with a capital letter.
  6. mrblack Member

    Dear Aardvark01, Parla and timpeac,

    Thanks guys! That was very helpful.
  7. Aardvark01

    Aardvark01 Senior Member

    Midlands, England
    British English (Midlands)
    Dear timpeac,
    So would I. I was going to say that I would usually expect a capital in a formal e-amil, (and I habitually use the capital informally) but that this is often dropped in informal messages. But all this was a moot point because of the first person pronoun, which is capital anyway. But then I re-worded it and didn't check.:eek:
  8. Elwintee Senior Member

    London England
    England English
    Hi, mrblack. The other posts are of course correct, but their wording is formal, and would be used if you are addressing people you don't know well. When I write to two or more members of my team I write "Dear Both", or "Dear All". That's just my way of doing it, I'm not advocating it, just pointing out that emails between friends and colleagues can be informal.
  9. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    My standard solution to this issue is to make one party a "Cc" (carbon copy). In that case I address the e-mail to the primary recipient.

    If I had had a meeting with two people and I wanted to e-mail to both of them, then I would go with either of these formats:

    Mike & Joe, (less formal)


    Mike, Joe: (more formal, but not very formal)

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