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Want more responses to your emails? Open with "hey" and close with"thanks"

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When you write emails, what are your preferred greetings and sign-offs?  There are a lot of options, and your choice probably depends on the nature of the email. 

We've actually talked about email on That's What They Say before, but a new study by the email program Boomerang inspired us to revisit the topic.

The study analyzed nearly 300,000 emails to see which greetings and sign-offs people use most often.

As it turns out, the most popular way to begin an email is with a simple "hi."

"Hi" is twice as popular as "hello" which came in second. The traditional opener "dear" came in third, followed by the informal "hey," and then "greetings."

The study also looked at which openers get the best response rate. "Hey" came in first, but it's clustered closely with "hello" and "hi." "Greetings" came in fourth this time, with "dear" bringing up the rear.

If you prefer to close your emails with "thanks," then you're in the know. The study found that "thanks" was the most popular sign-off, while "regards" came in second. "Cheers" was third, followed by "best regards," then "thanks in advance."

When it comes to response rates, the sign-offs that are some version of "thanks," including "thanks in advance," seem to do the best. This is in line with other studies that have shown "thanks" to be the most effective closing.

What's your favorite email greeting/sign-off combo? 

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Anne Curzan is the Geneva Smitherman Collegiate Professor of English and an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor at the University of Michigan. She also holds faculty appointments in the Department of Linguistics and the School of Education.
Rebecca Kruth is the host of Weekend Edition at Michigan Radio. She also co-hosts Michigan Radio’s weekly language podcast That’s What They Say with English professor Anne Curzan.
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