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

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.


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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