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Recently, I tried to request the name of a project manager I am communicating with, using the following sentences:

"By the way, so far I know by name only [XXX] from [company YYY]. I am not sure if I am still communicating with [XXX]:)"

I havn't recieved response for the email yet, and I am wondering if my language was not good enough to ask a name. I wanted to ask his/her name because he/she didn't mention his/her name and I don't want to keep on saying just Hi, without mentioning his/her name.

I would appreciate if someone can advise me if I said it properly.

  • You were trying to ask for the name of the person with whom you were exchanging emails? – Adam Sep 2 '15 at 21:10
  • Email or instant messaging? The other person's email doesn't include a signature block? – mkennedy Sep 2 '15 at 21:10
  • Yes, I was trying to ask his/her name. The email block only says Project Manager and doesn't have a name. – yibe Sep 2 '15 at 21:11
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You have probably tipped your hand that you aren't a native speaker, but your message is grammatically sound and intelligible. (The nearest thing to an outright error is that by name should probably come after [XXX])

The problem is that only is typically used immediately before the verb:

I only know Susan Meeks at Integrity Solutions by name,

but this leaves ambiguity about what only is applied to. You could mean, I know Susan Meeks by name, but not what she looks like or what her favorite color is; or you could mean (as you do) Susan Meeks is the only person at Integrity Solutions whom I know by name.

Native speakers dodge this ambiguity by totally rearranging the sentence (or don't, and just accept that their writing in inelegant).

I would have written,

By the way, who am I writing to? I started out [writing back and forth/corresponding] with Susan Meeks, but I'm not sure if she's still the one answering my questions.

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What you said is understandable enough, so your recipient(s) should know what you meant.

For maximum clarity, you could phrase it more like:

Am I still communicating with [XXX] from [Company YYY]? I know [XXX] by name only.

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