I am a graduate student. Some part of my master thesis requires me to contact a professor from another university. In the first email I addressed him as "Dear Professor Smith". He started his reply with, let's say, "Dear Emily".

Does it mean that he also asked me to call him by his first name? He didn't do it explicitly. How should I address him in my next email?

We are going to meet face to face in the foreseeable future. He doesn't teach me.

My question isn't about addressing a professor in the US. All I want to know is how to be polite if we communicate in Enlish (although this is a mother tongue neither for him nor for me), so my inquiry refers to the English language, not the (English or American) culture.

In other words: did the professor suggest that I we should be on first name basis by addressing me as "Dear Emily" in his email?

The email was sent to me and other members of my group. It started with "Dear Emily and all" and ended with "Cheers, John". The professor is on first name basis with the rest of the group.

Edit: My question is about this particular situation, the email I received (not a general rule), so I don't think this is a duplicate.

  • I am not sure I understand what you mean by my inquiry refers to the English language, not the (English or American) culture. Different culture would imply different usage of English. If he prefers to be called "Professor" in his language, why would he prefer to be called by his first name in English? – scaaahu Nov 25 '15 at 13:39
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    If it ends with "Cheers, John", than that's obviously how he supposes you to call him. – damian Nov 25 '15 at 13:40
  • @ scaaahu, first of all, I don't know, how he prefers to be called in his language. Second of all, it all depends on the verb forms which are used in a specific language, i.e in English there are no different forms for "professor" (or you) and "John" (or thou), so being on the first name basis is more common in English (because there are not many differences in grammar) than in my mother tongue. And my question is more "what did he mean" than "what are general rules". – user2738748 Nov 25 '15 at 13:47
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    The answer to the question is the same, ask politely. – Davidmh Nov 25 '15 at 14:21
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    As I wrote elsewhere, if he signs his messages to you "John" then I don't think he can reasonably object to your addressing him as "John". – Andreas Blass Nov 25 '15 at 17:20