In Gmail, when I receive a reply to a message with Subject: X, and the reply has Subject: Re: X, it correctly recognises it as a reply and sorts the message in the same thread/conversation.

However, if the reply has a subject Aw: X or Sv: X, as may happen when people use non-English e-mail clients, Gmail appears to not recognise the message as part of the conversation.

Is it possible to tune or configure Gmail to make it understand non-English reply prefixes?

If so, how?

  • I imagine this might be dependent on whatever language is set as the "Gmail display language"...? Would "Aw: X" and "Sv: X" be two different languages?
    – MrWhite
    Commented Aug 3, 2012 at 10:13
  • Yes. Aw would be German, Sv would be Norwegian or Swedish. I communicate in multiple languages.
    – gerrit
    Commented Aug 3, 2012 at 11:38
  • And if your display language is set as German and you get a reply as "Aw: X", is it grouped as a conversation? Or does it make no difference? I'm not saying this is an answer, just trying to figure out what Gmail is doing. I assume conversations do work in other languages, since it is a key part of how Gmail works. But I could understand that it might only work for one language at a time (although I could be wrong). Gmail currently supports 57 languages, so I imagine there is quite a variety of prefixes.
    – MrWhite
    Commented Aug 3, 2012 at 12:15
  • 4
    Though it doesn't help your problem, the "Re:" is actually supposed to be Latin for "in the matter of", not English for "Reply", see section 3.6.5 of faqs.org/rfcs/rfc2822.html. So the world is wrong, sort of.
    – dsolimano
    Commented Aug 3, 2012 at 17:11

1 Answer 1


It should be using the References: header of the email messages. However, not all email clients provide a correct References header. There is nothing you can do about Gmail's processing of the mail headers.

Some references:

  • 1
    It seems my issue is mostly when people use Microsoft Outlook...
    – gerrit
    Commented Aug 8, 2012 at 16:28

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