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Bonjour a tous,

I will be starting a job in Paris soon and I am in communication with the HR department.

Here's an example of the way they email me.

Bonjour Sean,

Merci beaucoup pour ces documents....

(...)

Merci beaucoup,

Très bonne fin de semaine,

A******

It's been a few days since I've heard from them and I would like to get back in touch. In English I would say something like

Dear X,

I hope you are well

What would be a french idiom for something similar?

More broadly, it would be really great to hear any other typically used idioms and their (precise) usage- emails are important to get right, and translating directly from English to French is sure to be a disaster.

Many thanks!

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To begin your e-mail, you can use:

Monsieur/Madame le/la Directeur/Ministre/...,

Chère Madame X (or Cher Monsieur X)

Bonjour Madame X (or Monsieur X)

Monsieur, Madame X

Cher/Chère X,

Bonjour X,

Bonjour,

Salut X,

Salut,

They are roughly from the more formal to the less formal. Note that some women prefer "Madame la Ministre" while other like "Madame le Ministre". You probably do not want to get involved in such a fight so I'd suggest you avoid this solution.

  • Agreeing with "Bonjour,". It's the most neutral, not too formal nor familiar. You can't get wrong with it! Avoid "Salut" for people you don't know personally or not from your team at work. To end the mail, I suggest using "Cordialement". – user6391 Dec 15 '17 at 7:53
  • "Bonjour" is not always polite enough. It depends on the job, etc. And anyway, "Bonjour X" is better, I think. – Distic Dec 15 '17 at 9:47
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"Dear X" can be directly replaced by "Cher X". Note that you have to write "Chère X" instead if you know X to be a woman.

"I hope you are well" can also be safely replaced by its almost-literal translation: "J'espère que vous allez bien." Other equivalent formulations can be used but this one is very common.

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    I wouldn't recommend cher in a professional context, especially if you don't know the person. And I guess it's a cultural thing, but I wouldn't try to find an equivalent of I hope you are well either. – Stéphane Gimenez Dec 14 '17 at 15:31
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    Dear is standard usage in English in a professional context, but cher isn't in French. – Stéphane Gimenez Dec 14 '17 at 16:48
  • Considérant la modification, +1 dans ce contexte même si dans l'abstrait je ne suis pas d'accord avec la première affirmation. Merci ! – user3177 Dec 20 '17 at 20:44

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