I am 36 year old researcher in field of mathematics. When I get stucked at certain problem I use to write mail to mathematicians expert in the field. Sometime they are of age 80 and above. Most amazing thing is that they respond quickly to every of my mail. Most of the time when I write mail to young researchers of my age or younger than me I start my mail with word "Dear Sir......." and when I write mail to super senior researchers I start my mail with word "Respected Sir.......".

Is my way of writing "Respected Sir......." is correct or should use some other words for gesturing greater respect to them?

  • 8
    Most people would be perfectly happy with "Dear Professor X". There are of course differences in specific cultures: Chinese academics may expect different forms of address from other Chinese academics, compared to how they are addressed by researchers more familiar with other cultures. – Willie Wong Jul 17 '16 at 12:56
  • I have almost never responded to an email with either of these openings (I do get them), since I am female and so it is a clear indication that the person writing to me doesn't have much idea who I am. – Tara B Jul 17 '16 at 22:25
  • @TaraB in this regard, do you expect a universal greeting (such as "Prof."), or specifically a feminine one (such as "Madam")? – svavil Jul 18 '16 at 8:32
  • @svavil: I wouldn't say I "expect" anything. In an academic context I would prefer Prof. to Madam, though. – Tara B Jul 19 '16 at 19:42
  • Like they are human adults. So Dear Professor Lastname is a conventional start! – Thompson Mar 12 '17 at 20:13

"Respected Sir" seems off and pretentious, at least in an international setting. It's not commonly used.

Use "Dear" to be on the save side, and by the way, there's no need to gesture "greater respect" in your greeting. Your appreciation of the researchers previous work and career should be prevalent in the content of your message, in which you demonstrate knowledge of their achievements and capabilities. Attempts at scoring cheap points with cheesy greetings are not the way.

|improve this answer|||||
  • 5
    Indeed, "Respected Sir" can sometimes make your letter sound like spam. Even when the recipient doesn't view it that way, they might wonder why you're being so deferential - it can make you seem as if you might have a self-confidence problem, which is probably not the impression you want to give. – Stuart Golodetz Jul 17 '16 at 19:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.