Career Tips

15+ Alternatives to “Dear Sir or Madam” and Appropriate Use


The greeting “Expensive Sir or Madam” seems like a proper technique to start a enterprise letter or enterprise e-mail. Although, in as we speak’s enterprise world, the usage of this salutation or greeting is taken into account poor enterprise etiquette. That is thought-about such poor enterprise etiquette as a result of data relating to the identify of the recipient, for emails or letters, is available. And the usage of the time period implies the particular particular person in thoughts for the letter’s receipt is unknown (their identify, job title, gender, marital standing, and extra).

The secondary purpose that “Expensive Sir or Madam” is an inappropriate methodology of beginning a enterprise letter is that it falsely assumes a most well-liked gender. And “To Whom It Might Concern” turns into a poor different, the place gender intent could also be alleviated from the greeting, however lacks personalization.

A salutation is a letter greeting used to open the communication between an creator and a reader. The most typical salutation within the English language is the time period “Expensive,” adopted by the recipient’s given identify (start identify) or title. In the USA, variations of this greeting embody “Expensive Sirs.” Whereas the British utilization of the time period stays “Expensive Sir or Madam.” However in each the UK and The US, this greeting is taken into account borderline offensive and sexist (as a result of it’s unclear whether or not the author addresses a person or a girl). Variations of the time period might embody “Expensive Sir/Madam,” “Expensive Sirs and Madam,” “Expensive Madam,” “Expensive Madame,” or “Expensive Sirs.”

Writing a Formal Salutation

An off-the-cuff salutation is utilizing a slang time period or casual time period throughout the greeting. For instance, “Expensive Women” or “Hey there!” are each casual greetings. These greetings could be utilized in a private letter or letter to a pal, member of the family, or shut contact. A proper salutation may be discovered on a canopy letter, enterprise letter, authorized letter, advice letter, job software, or reference letter. The letter is meant to be authored for a brand new contact, the place a proper tone to the writing signifies respect on behalf of the author. The correct (or “proper manner”) to begin the letter could be, “Expensive Mr. Johnson” or “Expensive [Mr./Mrs. Last Name]”.

In all situations, addressing the reader and particular person by their identify is taken into account formal letter writing and correct enterprise etiquette. When writing a canopy letter salutation, it’s finest to deal with the hiring supervisor by their identify. This data is often out there by LinkedIn or different firm “About” pages. In that occasion, “Expensive Mr. Johnson” could be a extra applicable greeting.

The usage of “Mr.” and “Mrs.” is the utilization of a surname. By utilizing a surname in enterprise emails, enterprise letters, or formal correspondence— correct enterprise etiquette is achieved.

When a selected particular person or identify of the contact particular person is unavailable, there are all the time higher options than utilizing “Expensive Sir/Madam” because the greeting. Utilizing the duvet letter instance, beginning the letter with “Expensive Hiring Supervisor” is extra applicable and is a more practical cowl letter greeting than “Expensive/Sir Madam.”

Colon or Comma After the Greeting

When writing a proper letter, there are three choices for the punctuation to make use of after the salutation: a colon, a comma, and an em sprint. The usage of a comma is most typical within the English language. It appears to be like like this:


Expensive Mr. Smith,

Whereas the colon appears to be like like this:


Expensive Mr. Smith:

Each are acceptable types of separating the greeting from the preliminary paragraph or opening paragraph within the enterprise letter, cowl letter, or one other formal letter. Improper use of the separator may be thought-about a small formality however a key indicator for the reader. For instance, in a job software, this will point out to the reader that the creator has poor verbal writing expertise. Use both the comma or semicolon when deciding between punctuation separators.

Expensive Sir/Madam Options

Options to this time period embody utilizing a division when addressing an organization and when a basic salutation is required (no out there identify or contact data of the letter recipient). For instance:

  • Expensive Gross sales Workforce
  • Expensive Engineering Workforce
  • Expensive Authorized Workforce
  • Expensive First Identify

Addressing the division is one technique to hold a proper greeting intact. One other methodology is to make use of the job title of the recipient because the personalization. For instance, the next are good for a canopy letter.

Cowl letter options

  • Expensive Hiring Supervisor
  • Expensive VP of Product
  • Expensive VP of Gross sales
  • Expensive CEO
  • Expensive Buyer Service Workforce
  • Expensive Recruiter

Within the occasion the creator has the recipient’s contact data, there are alternatives to make use of the surname or exclude the surname. For instance:

  • Expensive John Smith
  • Expensive Mr. Smith
  • Expensive Roxanne Brooks
  • Expensive Mrs. Brooks
  • Expensive Ms. Brooks

Avoiding utilizing a surname may be helpful when addressing a girl or woman, contemplating it exhibits respect for his or her marital standing. It may be improper to falsely assume, as the author, the marital standing of the reader. If the letter is being authored for a girl, it’s best to keep away from utilizing a surname.

Keep away from casual options to the greeting. For instance, “Expensive Gents,” “Expensive Women,” “Hello There,” or “Hello Workforce.” Whereas these sounds extra engaging, they’re casual and improper to make use of in a enterprise dialog.

Is there an applicable use for “Expensive Sir or Madam”? No. Keep away from utilizing this greeting as an creator.

The right way to Use Expensive Sir or Madam Appropriately

In the event you should use “Expensive Sir or Madam” right here is the way to accurately use it. Many individuals use “Expensive Sir or Madam” and “To Whom It Might Concern” interchangeably. It is not suggested to make use of these in any respect. Although, if you must. Right here is the one place the place it is applicable to make use of the time period.

Ideally, when sending an e-mail to an organization e-mail deal with on behalf of one other enterprise. The place the receiver of the e-mail will route the message to the proper occasion.

If you realize the identify of the occasion. Or have some thought who would possibly know their identify, it is best to succeed in out to that particular person somewhat than utilizing the salutation. You’ll be able to even say, “Expensive Firm Identify.”

Once more, for those who can keep away from utilizing the greeting, nice. It may not go away an enduring constructive impression upon the recipient. In conditions the place the recipient doesn’t know the sender, they could assume it is a stranger. And dismiss the e-mail fully. This goes for job candidates who attempt to use the salutation for his or her cowl letters.

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