What's in a name?

  gengiscant 06:44 AM 08 Nov 11
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Answered

Anyone else notice that all to often correspondence be it letter or email is not being signed without a gender specific title prior to the signature? The letter/email is invariably addressed to me as Mr etc etc but unless the person's name is obviously male or femail, how does one address a formal reply?

I have taken to begining a reply with dear Mr/Ms but that is not at all satisfactory. I am certainly not keen to address a reply to the full name of a person particularly if it is a formal letter to someone I have never met. Surely if they are addressing me as Mr then it is correct that I reply in the same manner.

Interested to know how you deal with this type of situation.

  badgery 07:31 AM 08 Nov 11

"Dear Sir/Madam"

Covers all bases for me, including the problem of whether it's Miss/Ms/Mrs.

  gengiscant 07:59 AM 08 Nov 11

Badgery. Can see where you are coming from but when the communication has been addressed to me by name I feel that using Sir/Madam is not the correct way to reply. I may well be wrong.

  SparkyJack 08:39 AM 08 Nov 11

This seems to be a trend[Another dumbing down from the USA?] to use forenames in all sorts of situations.

The best policy is to [to corrupt a biblical phrase]

'Do unto Them as They did You'

  morddwyd 08:50 AM 08 Nov 11

I always put "Dear Mr/Ms (surname)"

That way you cover all cases, and also drop a gentle hint that their forename is not enough.

Although my given name is the one I use here, I use Laurie for day to day use, particularly in England (that's not racist, they simply have trouble with Celtic language idiosyncrasies, and, as we have seen here, sometimes take refuge in personal abuse!), for obvious reasons.

I do sometimes get replies addressed to Mrs/Ms.

I don't get offended - I realise it is an easy misunderstanding to make, and is, partially at least, my own fault.

I do get offended when I get a "just a simple woman" sort of response!

  gengiscant 09:34 AM 08 Nov 11

My worry is not so much as whether I will cause the offence,as far as I am concerned if they are offended by the way that I have addressed them then that really is there fault by not including their title.

I have had a quick look through recent communication from the NHS and the DWP both contacts are because of official complaints so cannot be considered friendly. I have the following first names Lee, most probably male but not absolute. Andy, again most likely male given the spelling but not absolute. Leslie, Jude, a M longmuir.

This was just a quick look,I know there are more. It seems to,as I have already said that if they are addressing me as Mr then it is only right that I should address then correctly.

  gengiscant 10:20 AM 08 Nov 11

fourm member. What is it with you? What I meant but perhaps worded it incorrectly that it has never crossed my mind that someone could be offended by being called Mr/MS in a reply from me, because they have chosen not to furnish the information as to their title.

But if by saying that you give up with me that you will no longer contribute to any threads I begin,I can live with that.

  Aitchbee 10:38 AM 08 Nov 11

Forget about the "Dear..." bit, and just put 'To Whom It May Concern'.

  lotvic 11:48 AM 08 Nov 11

AitchBEE, that is not the appropriate way to respond to a communication that has included the name of the sender.

  Woolwell 13:01 PM 08 Nov 11

I dislike the term Ms and stick to Dear Sir/Madam.

  gengiscant 13:13 PM 08 Nov 11
Answer

I think the consensus is to use Dear Sir/Madam but I am not convinced that that would be correct if A: they have addressed me by title and name and B: they sign their full name but no title.

I don't think there really is an answer to this. Thanks for your thoughts anyway. Well most of you anyway.

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