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  1. #1
    Allen165 is offline Key Member
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    Default Dear Sirs and Madams

    Is it ok to use "Dear Sirs and Madams" as the salutation in a formal letter or email? I don't like "Ladies and Gentlemen" because it sounds like something you'd say at the beginning of a speech.

    "Dear Sirs and Madams" gets quite a few hits on Google.

    Thanks a lot!

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is online now Moderator
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    Default Re: Dear Sirs and Madams

    How often would you address a letter to a whole group of people of mixed gender? I can't really imagine a circumstance which would require this.
    If you don't know the gender of the person to whom you are writing, then "Dear Sir/Madam" is still appropriate as far as I'm concerned.

  3. #3
    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Dear Sirs and Madams

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Allen:

    1. When I was young, I occasionally communicated with businesses in England, and they would quite often

    start off with "Dear Sir/Madam" -- as emsr told us.

    2. I know that you appreciate very honest (and courteous, of course) answers. So I have to tell you that in

    my opinion, if Americans received a letter from you with the saluation "Dear Sirs and Madams," their first reaction

    would be to laugh. (Americans have been taught since childhood that everyone is "equal," so the idea of being

    so formal seems so out of place for many Americans; furthermore, some Americans only know the word "madam"

    as referring to a lady who runs a certain type of establishment.)

    3. On a more serious note, any American who received a communication with that salutation would immediately conclude

    that the writer was not a native speaker of the language, IMHO.


    HAVE A NICE DAY!

  4. #4
    Allen165 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Dear Sirs and Madams

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    How often would you address a letter to a whole group of people of mixed gender? I can't really imagine a circumstance which would require this.
    If you don't know the gender of the person to whom you are writing, then "Dear Sir/Madam" is still appropriate as far as I'm concerned.
    Actually, at the company I work for you often write emails to a group of people composed of males and females (e.g., when emailing the company's board of directors). I don't think "Dear Sir/Madam" is appropriate in such a situation.
    Last edited by Allen165; 04-Jun-2012 at 19:10.

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Dear Sirs and Madams

    Depending on the degree of formality, Dear all or Dear All might work.

  6. #6
    CarloSsS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dear Sirs and Madams

    What about "to whom it may concern"? Would that do? I know it is nothing special, but maybe it is what you are looking for.
    Please note that I'm not a teacher.

  7. #7
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dear Sirs and Madams

    In a company email, I wouldn't start with "Dear" at all. That is (to my mind) reserved for actual letters. The list of recipients is clear from the list of names in the "To:" line of an email. I would simply launch straight into the body of the email.

  8. #8
    Allen165 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Dear Sirs and Madams

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    In a company email, I wouldn't start with "Dear" at all. That is (to my mind) reserved for actual letters. The list of recipients is clear from the list of names in the "To:" line of an email. I would simply launch straight into the body of the email.
    "Dear" is very much used in emails, and I don't see why it should be reserved for letters.

    Emailing someone without including a salutation is rude, in my opinion. If I were to write such emails, it would only be a matter of time before I got fired.

  9. #9
    Allen165 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Dear Sirs and Madams

    Quote Originally Posted by CarloSsS View Post
    What about "to whom it may concern"? Would that do? I know it is nothing special, but maybe it is what you are looking for.
    "To whom it may concern" is too impersonal, especially when you know the names of the people you're writing to.

  10. #10
    Allen165 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Dear Sirs and Madams

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Depending on the degree of formality, Dear all or Dear All might work.
    Too informal.

    "Ladies and Gentlemen" seems to be correct (see Business Letter - Salutation), but I don't like it.

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