Email communication is tricky, especially as it can be difficult to convey nonverbal elements of speech in written form.
When the different registers of English (formal, informal) enter the picture, things get even trickier.
Today we’ll look at several ways to address emails to a group of people in a formal work setting.
Should you use “Dear all” as a greeting in work emails?
The phrase “dear all” is one way to address an email to multiple people. The use of “dear” is relatively formal, making this a suitable greeting for work-related emails to groups. Alternatives include “hello,” “greetings, everybody,” “hi everyone,” “hi all” and listing addressees by name.
The meaning of “dear all”
This short salutation is made up of two words: “dear” and “all.””Dear” technically means that something is beloved or important, but the word has long been used in letters and other forms of communication to address the recipient in a formal tone. You can think of it as a formal equivalent to “hello.”
The word “all” means everything. By extension, it is also used to refer to large groups of people or to everybody in a specific context.
Put together, then, “dear all” is a formal greeting at the start of a communication addressed to multiple people.
When to use “dear all” in an email
The word “all” should make it clear that “dear all” should only be used to address groups of people. Other than that, the register of the word “dear” makes this greeting ideal for use in a relatively formal setting like a work email or one to a group of people you have been collaborating with but may not know outside of a professional setting.
The formal register of “dear” is continued in the remainder of this short email in the common email phrase “please find attached” and in the distance suggested by the email’s final sentence.
Again, this is a pretty formal email. “Please see below” is similar to “please find attached” in terms of formality, making “dear all” appropriate.
Five alternatives to using “dear all” in a work email
1. “Greetings, everybody.”
If “hello” is of middling formality, the word “greetings” really ratchets things up.
This tone is best reserved for very formal work settings. Alternatively, it could be used in situations where it’s important for you to set yourself apart from the people you are emailing or establish yourself as some kind of authority figure.
This email positions the person sending the email as someone in charge, setting a formal tone appropriate for something like an orientation group.
This is a casual email, although the phrase “social mixer” suggests it is still taking place in a work environment.
2. Using people’s names or other identifiers
If you aren’t sure what salutation to use and don’t feel comfortable with “dear all” or “hello,” a good option is to explicitly address your email to the people you are writing.
The main drawback of this approach is that it doesn’t work for very large groups of people.
In these cases, an aggregate noun like “members of the computer science division” or “employees” can feel more directed than “all” and still appropriate for a formal email.
This option is also flexible since it can be combined with “dear” or a more casual “hi” as needed.
In this case, the writer has used “friends” as a kind of group noun to show their closeness to the email recipients.
This email is written in a formal style but the use of first names suggests that the writer is relatively well acquainted with the people they are contacting.
3. “Hi everyone”
This greeting is virtually indistinguishable from “hi all,” although the use of the longer word “everyone” does make it sounds very slightly more formal.
Again, the casual tone of this email would not make it appropriate for a very formal setting.
4. “Hi all”
Although “hi” is a very casual greeting, it may still be workplace appropriate if you are on friendly terms with everyone you are emailing or just work in a very laid-back organization.
This is perhaps the vaguest of all possible email salutations and is not recommended unless you can’t come up with anything better.
In a pinch, though, “hello” does the job of opening an email in a manner that is friendly and welcoming, not too formal and not too casual either.
As an added benefit, it can be used when emailing individuals as well as multiple people.
Although it can be used in a work setting, it does sound a bit stand-offish if addressed to someone you know and work with closely.
It can also sound like the start of a spam email, so be wary of overusing it.
Here, the writer is uncertain on who will be reading their email. This makes “hello,” which can address any number of people in a relatively polite manner, a great option.
In this example, “hello” explicitly addresses multiple people.
Sometimes you will also hear the expression “My dears.” Have a look at our article “How to Use the Expression My Dears to find out whether this is yet another viable alternative for “dear all.”
6. “Dear team,”
“Dear team” may also be a great alternative to “Dear all” in work emails. This particular salutation can be used when addressing a working party.
The word “team” bears this inclusive connotation that helps in making the greeting more personal and compact.
Addressing people using words like “team” or “team members” also induces camaraderie and affinity among groups.
Especially when you want the team to do or achieve something as a group or even simply congratulate them for a job well done, “Dear team” would be an appropriate choice.
Just be careful to avoid using this one when addressing a larger number of people beyond your immediate members because that might come off as a bit pretentious.
Here’s how you can use “Dear team” in your email:
If you feel like you want to show even more warmth toward your team, you could use a cozier greeting like “Hello, team.”
Just don’t ever forget to put a comma after “hello” when choosing this salutation for your work email to show writing precision.
“Dear All” vs. “Dear Everyone”
Although the words “all” and “everyone” are largely the same in meaning, there are a few nuances that we can watch out for to make our writing even more precise.
This means that there would be some minute differences that native speakers are able to spot when we use “Dear all” vs. “Dear everyone” in our emails.
“All” suggests a more collective meaning, focusing on the reference to the group as a whole. Whereas, “everyone” focuses more on the individuals that belong to a referred group.
This means that using “all” is more appropriate for general messages that are meant to give instructions or announcements to the whole group.
This is just a reminder that Elevator 3 is under maintenance at the moment. Please proceed to Elevators 1, 2, and 4 for the rest of the week.
Meanwhile, “everyone” conveys a similar meaning as “everybody” or “one and all,” which is great for drawing emphasis when recognizing people.
We are pleased to announce that our company has raised $550,000 from new investors. This means that the company should be able to last for at least one more year before we reconsider another organizational restructuring. Thank you for your effort and dedication!
“All” can also be used to refer to both living and non-living things, but “everyone” can only be logically used to refer to people.
Hence, we had better use “Dear all” for general mass messaging tasks and “Dear everyone” for a warmer, more personalized effect.
How to address a group in an email
When addressing a group of people in general, there are a few more salutations that can be used instead of “Dear all.”
All of the salutations listed in this section are relatively formal because they are meant to be used toward a larger group of people.
“Dear team members,”
“Dear team members” is a great salutation for people who belong to one working party within an organization.
It is great for highlighting the fact that the message is meant to include all team members, especially to achieve a particular goal or address an issue.
We regret to announce that one of the best people on our team is leaving the company for a valid reason. Dave will be working with us until the end of the month. For those who want to reach out and thank him, please feel free to send him a personal message. He will appreciate your messages beyond doubt. Yours truly,
“Dear colleagues” is meanwhile meant for more generalized recipients including those who are outside of your immediate team.
This is something you would use, for example, when you want to sound a bit formal. This is suitable for emails that may have moderate to serious implications.
We regret to announce that the planned year-end party will be postponed for a week. We currently have some budget and logistics-related constraints, and we need a little more time to finalize everything.
Thank you for your continued support and understanding.
“Dear [department name],”
If you’re making an announcement on a department level, “Dear [department name],” would be a great choice.
Depending on how big your department is, this salutation may change its effect. That is, a large department may treat this normally, but a small one may think that something important is going on.
Dear IT department,
Please be advised that there will be an internet interruption with our main provider tomorrow afternoon. In this regard, kindly notify everyone about the news and let them use our backup network.
“Dear fellow members,”
Suggestive of a polite connotation, “Dear fellow members,” can also be used when certain matters of concern are involved.
Using this particular salutation also suggests that the writer of the email is a “fellow member” rather than a “group leader.”
Dear fellow members,
Thank you for raising your questions and comments through the link we provided. We sincerely appreciate your feedback on the new policy. Rest assured that we will do what it takes to consider all of your suggestions and address your concerns by the end of the week.
How to address everyone in an email
When addressing a group of people with whom we have already developed an affinity, we meanwhile tend to soften our language use.
This means that the greetings listed in this section generally bear a warm tone and are meant for those we consider close enough.
When sending email reminders to people we work with, “Hello, everyone” could be a great choice.
This greeting can act as a soft email opener for lighthearted messages and regular updates of any sort.
We are pleased to announce that all the non-winning entries will be reconsidered for a do-or-die round. We will be selecting one finalist who will be joining the championship round.
Best of luck!
Board of Judges
Another great salutation with a warmer tone than the last one is “Hi, everyone.” This one may also be used with simple emails that are meant for a large number of people.
This greeting, for instance, may be used when sending goodwill or motivational messages to a large group, like in the next example:
As we wrap this week up, I would just like to remind you that you have done a great job. Let us continue our promising performance and break a leg again next week. Don’t forget to have a moment to thank and praise yourself for all your hard work.
“Good day, everyone.”
Another simple, cozy greeting would be “Good day, everyone.” This is something you would use for emails that are to be sent during the day.
Should you want to make the salutation even softer, you may also change the full stop or period into an exclamation point.
Good day, everyone.
This is just to let you know that the details of our upcoming charity event have already been finalized. Please see attached for more details.
One final casual greeting that we could use in work emails is “Greetings, everyone.” This is great for any email bearing positive or at least neutral kind of news.
To achieve a lighter tone, feel free to use an exclamation point rather than a full stop or period at the end of the salutation.
Thanks for attending our weekly team meeting. This email is just a quick reminder that this meeting will be completely canceled next week due to the holiday adjustments.
Please enjoy your time at home or wherever.
Frequently Asked Questions on “‘Dear All’ in a Work Email”
Is “Dear all” formal?
“Dear all” is relatively more formal than “Dear everyone” and “Dear team.” This salutation should be reserved for when addressing a huge number of people rather than a small group. That is, a small group may likely think that the greeting is slightly emotionally distant.
What are some other words for “dear” in an email?
Instead of “dear,” other greeting expressions like “hello,” “hi,” and even “greetings” can be used in an email. The choice, though, will depend on the overall email context, which includes the relationship with the recipient and the type of message to be conveyed.
Is it “dears all” or “dear all”?
“Dear all” and not “dears all” is the grammatically correct email salutation. The word “dear” acts as an adjective for “all” and cannot be pluralized. To make things easier, “Dear all” is a shorter form of “My dear all” that is popular in mass messaging contexts.
How should we address all staff in an email?
A typical salutation used to address all staff in an email is “Dear all.” But, “Dear team” or “Dear team members” might be better choices when the goal is to achieve camaraderie or teamwork because of their warmer connotations. “Dear all” is more suitable for a larger variety of individuals.
What is a good alternative for “Dear colleagues”?
“Dear coworkers,” “Dear team,” “Dear team members,” and “Dear fellow members” are possible alternatives for “Dear colleagues.” To lighten the tonality, “dear” may also be replaced with “hello” or “hi.”
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