I received an email from one of my professors today and I am not sure if I should respond or not. The email contained the grade I received on a paper as well as my grade going into the final. I am not sure if I should reply with a simple "Thanks" or if I should just let it be. Also, the email was sent about 6 hours ago if that matters.

  • 1
    Do you know to how many students he sent the grades? If it's an individual e-mail to a few students for specific reasons, it's polite to answer. On the contrary, if he did that for a whole class of 50 people, he probably doesn't need 50 "got it, thx!" responses.
    – Kerkyra
    May 17, 2017 at 7:06
  • 1
    If she took the time to do 20 individual e-mails, I would answer. Nothing time-consuming, along the lines of "Hi, thank you for taking the time to share this information, have a nice day". It never hurts to be nice ;)
    – Kerkyra
    May 17, 2017 at 12:33
  • Okay, makes sense! Thank you! Do you think it's too late to respond now? It has been a while. May 17, 2017 at 12:36
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    E-mail is not instant messaging, you are "socially allowed" to wait until you have the time to answer properly (which I guess would be once a day, maybe a few days if it's over the weekend or vacations or busy periods etc). In any case, I wouldn't worry too much about timing, phrasing, etc... just say thanks and forget about it!
    – Kerkyra
    May 17, 2017 at 12:47
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    Would you thank them if they gave you the same information in a hallway conversation?
    – JeffE
    May 18, 2017 at 14:43

3 Answers 3


Summarizing all my comments as an answer,

I am not sure if I should reply with a simple "Thanks" or if I should just let it be.

It depends on the number of students the professor wrote to. If it is an invidualized e-mail for a limited amount of people (apparently your case), yes, a little "thank you" is the nice and polite way to go. (On the other hand, if the class is a huge auditorium of a hundred people, the professor probably doesn't want this amount of e-mails arriving in his/her inbox).

Also, the email was sent about 6 hours ago if that matters

6 hours, 24, 48, it doesn't matter. E-mail is not the same as instant messaging, and it is generally okay to skip a few days - especially in your situation: the professor is not waiting for your answer, it's just a nice thing to do, but if you wait three days or don't write at all, noone will notice.

Just write "Hi Professor X, thank you for taking the time to notify me!" and that's it!

  • 1
    Think of the thanks as simply an acknowledgment that you received the email. That can be helpful in correspondence like this (course based correspondence where it might be a future nuisance if a student somehow 'missed' seeing the email or if it ended up in their spam folder.)
    – Carol
    May 18, 2017 at 2:14

If you are just stuck between a response and saying nothing, I would always go with a response to confirm the receipt of the email. But in your case, 1) it was more of an informative email and if you don't have any question or complaint about, you can let it go and 2) already 6 hours has passed. So, just let is be!

  • Especially due to the points listed in 1), I consider a response useful: It tells the sender that the issue is closed and they can forget about it; no more direct follow-ups will ensue. May 17, 2017 at 6:45
  • My response was based on my own experience. If I want the acknowledgement of the students to ensure they see the email, I send the email with "read receipts notifications".
    – EhsanK
    May 17, 2017 at 20:30

There's no correct response here, as it depends on the social mores of your group. Some people want to hear acknowledgement and will wonder if they don't get it, some people view courtesy emails like "thanks!" and "you're welcome!" as spam and will get upset if they do get it, and many more don't care either way.

My advice to you – ask your advisor sometime when there's nothing else important going on which one he prefers and just do that.

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