With the invention of email, we have gone a long way from the days of the Pony Express. Now we can communicate with anyone, anywhere in the world, with the click of a button. But sometimes, this convenience can be a curse, as we are not always sure of the proper etiquette for certain situations. One such situation is how to address two people in an email. So, let's address the matter, shall we?
How to Address More Than One Person in an Email
If you are addressing an email to two people, there are three ways you can go about it. You can use the formal "To" and/or "CC" fields or the informal "BCC" field. Take a look at each one so you can better understand the art of emailing.
To and CC fields: The To and CC fields are the most formal way of addressing two people in an email. Since you are sending a message to more than one recipient and require them to act on it, you should list their names in the "To" field, separated by commas. For example: To: John Smith, Jane Doe. Bear in mind that most people don't want their email addresses disclosed, so use their names instead.
If needed, you can also use the "CC" field to send a copy of the message to additional recipients. The "CC" field is less formal than the "To" field and is usually used for people who are not the primary recipients of the message but need to be kept in the loop. More importantly, they don't even need to acknowledge they have received the message.
BCC field: The BCC field or the "blind carbon copy" is the informal way to address two people in an email. Meanwhile, it's great for situations when you don't want the two recipients to know that the mail was sent to multiple recipients. With this field invisible to any of the recipients inserted in the "To" and "CC" fields, it is ideal for sending messages to people whose names or email addresses you don't want to disclose.
How to Greet Two Persons in an Email
When it comes to email etiquette rules on how to address two people in an email when greeting them, they are similar to greeting a single person. The main rule is to always use a proper greeting. Naturally, different rules apply to friends and colleagues.
"Hi," "Hello," or "Dear" is always a good way to start a personal email. And since you are addressing friends, you can greet them by using either their first name or their full name. This is like text messaging, with a bit more text and formality. Some of the most common greetings for friends are: "Hi John," "Hi Jane," or even "Hey."
Proper email greetings for colleagues, on the other hand, would be "Good morning," "Good afternoon," or "Good evening," followed by the person's name. Also, when addressing colleagues, you should use their full name unless they have specifically asked you to use their first name. Still, it's always best to err on the side of formality and address colleagues by their full name.
For co-workers or colleagues, you should use the formal title Mr., Mrs., Ms. followed by their last name. For instance, you would address an email to "Mr. John Smith" or "Ms. Jane Doe," or if you are unsure of a person's gender, you can use a title such as "Dr.", "Prof.", or "Rev." followed by their full name. Of course, this is a very formal way to greet someone and should only be used in business emails.
And finally, the most asked question in email salutations is whether to use a comma or a period after the title. Generally, it's best to use a comma if you're addressing friends and a period if you're addressing co-workers.
How to Write an Email Addressed to Two Persons
In regards to the subject line and the text, when addressing two people in an email, the same rules apply as they would for a single person. The only question here is whether you are writing an email to two people who are your friends or your co-workers?
If the two people are your friends, a personal email would be the best option, while if you are writing to two people who are co-workers, then a business email would be more appropriate and should meet the following criteria:
Subject line: For the subject line, you should use a brief and descriptive phrase that accurately reflects the content of your email. For example, "Meeting tomorrow at 10 am" or "Question about the Smith project."
Text of the email: The text of the email should be concise and to the point. People are busy, and no one wants to read a novel in their inbox. So, avoid using long-winded or flowery language, and stick to the facts. Capital letters and emoticons are also not a good idea for a formal email. And most importantly, keep in mind that you are addressing two people, so be clear and specific about what you are saying or asking them to do.
In terms of formatting, you should indent each paragraph and use a standard font such as Times New Roman or Arial. Mind you, 70% of emails get deleted because of bad formatting, which is why it is essential that you proofread your email for any spelling or grammatical errors before hitting the send button. This will also ensure that you don't come across as careless or unprofessional. Finally, be sure to sign off with a friendly closing such as "Sincerely," "Best," "Regards," or "Thank You."
Learn more: How to address multiple people in an email
Final Remarks and Best Regards
Email is a fascinating medium, and there are many other aspects to cover so that one can better understand how email actually works. For now, next time you're about to send an email, you will know how to address two people in an email so they can feel valued and appreciated. After all, a good impression is in the details.