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  1. #1
    TheShadow is offline Member
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    British English Formal Letters

    Hi,


    In formal letters do you put a dot (.) after a greeting?

    For example: Dear sir or madam -> is it correct like that? or you do you have to add a dot after madam?

    And for example Dear Mr Johnson -> is this correct? do you have to add a dot somewhere? or is it the correct form?


    Thanks

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is online now Moderator
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    Re: British English Formal Letters

    We definitely don't put a dot after Sir or Madam. A dot indicates an abbreviation.

    To be honest, I'm not sure what the current thinking is on whether we still put a dot after Mr, Mrs and Ms. Personally, I don't. I would start a letter:

    Dear Mr Johnson

  3. #3
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    Re: British English Formal Letters

    in BrE, we do not normally put a full stop (period) after an abbreviation when the final letter of the abbreviation is the final letter of the the full word: Mr Mrs Ms Dr .

    We never put a full stop after the opening 'Dear .....'. Many people use a comma there; some use no punctuation.

  4. #4
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Re: British English Formal Letters

    A comma is the traditional way. I have also used a colon.

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: British English Formal Letters

    The colon isn't used much in BrE- it's generally either a comma or nothing.

  6. #6
    tedtmc is offline Key Member
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    Re: British English Formal Letters

    As I understand, the use of a dot to denote an abbreviation as in 'Mister' to 'Mr.' used to be the practice in the old days, up to the seventies probably.

    A comma was also the practice after the opening address of a letter as in 'Dear Mr. Smith,'.

    There is also the comma used after a house number and street names in an address, e.g. 45, High St,

    Apparently, all the little punctuation marks have been dispensed with.

    not a teacher

  7. #7
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Re: British English Formal Letters

    Using a period for "Mr." or "Dr." or similar titles is the norm in America.

    Youngstown News, NY Times calling it for Romney in Fla. - Newswatch

    See, for example, this news story.

  8. #8
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: British English Formal Letters

    Quote Originally Posted by tedtmc View Post
    As I understand, the use of a dot to denote an abbreviation as in 'Mister' to 'Mr.' used to be the practice in the old days, up to the seventies probably.

    A comma was also the practice after the opening address of a letter as in 'Dear Mr. Smith,'.

    There is also the comma used after a house number and street names in an address, e.g. 45, High St,

    Apparently, all the little punctuation marks have been dispensed with.

    not a teacher
    Like 5jj, I was taught not to use the full stop after abbreviations that ended with the last letter of the word (Mr/Mrs/Ms/Dr) but to do so when they didn't (Rev./Prof.). However, nowadays this distinction seems to less marked and it seems to be largely down to personal preference in BrE.

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