Recently I asked a question on our main site: Proper salutation in email for requesting a resource.

Today, it has been closed as a duplicate to another question: How should I phrase an important question that I need to ask a professor?

One can observe that answer of latter also answers the former question.

But, the intention of the both questions are different. Former is asking only for salutation and the later is regarding phrasing an important question to professor.

If there is a question A asked with intention X, got answers that also contain answer for question B asked with intention Y.

Can the question B be closed as duplicate of A even-though the intentions X and Y differ?

2 Answers 2


I think a more appropriate duplicate target would have been How to address a professor in letter? In fact, maybe we should merge the posts so that the answers to the new question (a few of which are quite good) are transferred to the old one.

To the title question, no, two questions are not necessarily duplicates just because an answer to one question can answer the other.

In this particular case, the relevant context is that we get a lot of questions that are variations on "How do I tell a professor that I want to wibble? Or that I don't want to wibble anymore?" We frequently close such questions as a duplicate of How should I phrase an important question that I need to ask a professor?, just so that we don't have to write a million variations of "tell them what you want clearly and politely." But your question does not really fall into this category; you are asking about the honorific, which I think is a bit different.


The question should remain closed because it strongly depends on individual circumstances. Different professors prefer different salutations.

It has been closed as a duplicate because that is more helpful than closing it for depending on individual circumstances.

  • 2
    There are cultural norms that inform the choice of salutation, (even) when we don't know what salutation the other person prefers. So it's possible to give generally applicable advice. Jul 1, 2021 at 11:48

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