Dear professor or write salutation and greeting correctly in letters and e-mails

‘Write an e-mail to the Prof? No problem! Or yet? Dear .. is already good, but then it starts: Professor write out or not? Whether he pays attention? One does not know. And he also has two doctorates – oh my!! Briefly, the most important rules for salutation and greeting in the double pack.

Letterhead: person whose head is covered by a pixelated envelope

If you make mistakes in the letterhead, you risk making a negative first impression on the recipient.


So how do you address a person in a letter who is not content to simply Mr. Speech but also a Prof. Dr. Dr. carries before him? Regardless of whether he cares that you take note of his academic career, there must be some rules that you can follow in such cases that will save you from major and minor blunders?!

During our research we actually found some. Three are for Mr. Speech, four in case Prof. Dr. Dr. Speech a woman is. In addition, we could Dr. Meyer as an example candidate for a pure doctorate carrier win. After all, these people also have to be addressed somehow.

The first mnemonic makes things easier for us with multi-title holders like Prof. Dr. Dr. Speech is already considerable:

If a person has several Title, only the highest mentioned in the salutation.

The doctoral titles (sog. academic title) of Prof. Speech are therefore omitted in the salutation (but not in the address)!).

The (remaining) title is used in the salutation written out, as long as it does not refer to the doctoral title. This is abbreviated.

Dear Sir Professor Speech
Dear Sir Dr. Meyer

In our examples, both titles are followed by the names of the gentlemen. At Dr. Meyer this is related to the abbreviated doctoral title. In addition, at most our grandmother is allowed to use, Dr. Meyer with Doctor to address and that also only if it concerns its family doctor.

At Prof. speech on the other hand, it is by no means a matter of course that he is also addressed by name in the salutation. Rather, it follows from the following rule:

Anders as with other office and occupation designations can behind the designation Professor nor the Name follow.

Since the name can follow, but does not have to, you can also address our example candidate with

Dear Professor
address. However, we would not necessarily recommend this.

If, on the other hand, you write to the dean of the faculty (and wanted to address him as such), only the variant without a name remains, so:

Dear Mr. Dean

Is Prof. Speech a woman, rule four applies:

Leads one Ms the title or if a woman holds the office, then as a rule the feminine form of the title or the official title chosen. A Exception make the PhD, where only the masculine variant is usual.

Ms Prof. Dr. Dr. Speech so you should address her like that:

Dear Professorin Speech
The masculine form of the title, thus:

Dear Professor Speech

is not wrong, but is increasingly out of fashion.

Is Dr. Meyer a woman, nothing changes in the (abbreviated) title. Thus, one writes:

Dear Mrs. Dr. Meyer

and stays with the masculine form Doctor.

Punctuation after the salutation

If the titles would be already done. Now just put the right characters after the salutation. Here applies:

According to the salutation is comma. Then – after a blank line small continued, as long as the first word in the new line is not a pronoun to be capitalized or a noun.

Dear Professor Speech,
haben you many thanks ..

Dear Professor Speech,
Ihre message from … I have received.

It is not wrong to put an exclamation mark after the salutation and to start capitalized after a blank line. However, this spelling is considered outdated and should therefore better no longer be used.

Multiple addressees

If you write to several persons, you should address each person separately. If it is official mail – as in your correspondence with members of the university – the higher-ranking person comes first. If both have the same rank, the woman is addressed first if the gender is different.


Dear Sir Professor Speech, dear Mrs Dr. Meyer,

enclosed you will find ..

Dear Ms. Professor Speech, Dear Mr. Professor Place,

in the attachment you will find ..

Tips for the appropriate salutation from the editorial office

In addition to the correct form of address, the name should of course be spelled correctly. First of all, this requires you to be careful with the spelling. Secondly, it is important that the computer does not sabotage you and get in the way – with an automatic "Spellingcorrection". It is not uncommon for unusual names to be made worse& – which is not even noticeable due to the automatism. So either check again at the end or turn off autopilot.

As a student you are still unsure whether the form of address is correct / appropriate / polite enough? Ask your fellow students how they do it – or, if necessary, personally address the person you are writing to, depending on personal familiarity and possibility.

A stamp lies on a letter


If you have reached the end of your lines, it is important to leave the field confidently and without errors, with a greeting formula. Which one you choose is a question of style. Usually you are wrong with official mail with the kind regards quite right. But important for us at this point: Which formal mistakes should be avoided? One above all: the comma behind the greeting formula. For:

After the greeting there is no Punctuation!


With kind regards

And one should begin the greeting formula also correctly:

The greeting formula starts large, unless it is Component of the last Sentence.

We just had a capitalized greeting, so here is just one example of an integrated greeting:

… I thank you in advance and remain

mit friendly greetings

With the basic rules mentioned above, you will also get very far with letters and e-mails to other people. It only gets difficult if your addressee holds any important offices or if the rank plays a role. Then the correct form of address regularly causes problems.
Clever books on how to write letters correctly, however, offer a solution for this as well. By the way, in some of these books you can also find a separate section for English letters.

The original version of this article was written by Nicola Pridik, but it has since been updated by the Studis Online-Editors revised.

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