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What's in a name?


gengiscant
Resolved

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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.

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Woolwell

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There is a difference between a formal business letter and informal letter. I don't see why I should be addressed by my first name by someone I have never met or been introduced to and therefore I don't like the reply to first name either. I find Hi or hello more irritating but perhaps I'm becoming old fashioned and grumpy.

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gengiscant

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You seemed to be saying that you didn't care what the recipient's reaction would be

My post clearly implied that how on earth could I be responsible if they were offended by my incorrect address to them if they have not bothered to sign their letter with a title in their signature. Yet your light-hearted comment implied that I was intentionally trying to offend, or at least didn't care whether I offended or not.

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lotvic

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Having read and re-read this thread, I still am unable to understand how fourm member can jump to the conclusions that he does and then continue to argue a point that has not been raised by the OP.

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interzone55

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gengiscant

When you sign a letter do you write Mr Firstname Surname?

I don't know anyone who does, so I think if the first name is in anyway ambiguous you would be quite correct in replying with a simple Dear Sir / Madam

This will let you off from the dilemma of responding with Dear Mr / Ms or Dear Mr / Mrs (by the way, why do we have different addresses for single & married women anyway).

Also, I understand from your posts that you have had correspondence from several people, so by starting Dear Sir / Madam it means that your letter / email is addressed to anyone in the department.

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interzone55

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As an aside to my last post, I've just remembered someone at work who signs her emails Mrs xxx xxxxxx.

Her name is not in any way ambiguous, so the only conclusion I can come to from this habit is that she wants to tell every one that at some point in the past she managed to snare a man...

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badgery

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If, say , a letter has been signed M. Smith, why not solve the whole thing by using the following:-

M.Smith
Head Honcho, Madhouse Inc.

Dear Sir/Madam, ...

That way you acknowledge their name in the 'address' section, then Sir/Madam will demonstrate clearly what your problem was.

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lotvic

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It matters because:

When 'Yours faithfully' and when 'Yours sincerely' in a business letter?

Dear Sir ... Yours faithfully
Dear Madam ... Yours faithfully
Dear Sir or Madam ... Yours faithfully

When the recipient's name is unknown to you:

Dear Mr Hanson ... Yours sincerely
Dear Mrs Hanson ... Yours sincerely
Dear Miss Hanson ... Yours sincerely
Dear Ms Hanson ... Yours sincerely

When you know the recipient's name:

Dear Jack ... Best wishes/Best regards

When addressing a good friend or colleague:

Dear Sirs ... Yours faithfully

Addressing whole departments:

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lotvic

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Headings are underneath the block they refer to - read it from bottom up...

The formatting on here is terrible, the preview box does not accurately reflect how a post will look.... :( makes it look as if my headings are with the wrong block.

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lotvic

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fourm member your response is not unexpected. Thank you for your examples of how standards are declining/changing.

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spuds

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I generally put Sir/Ms on correspondence that I deal with. Putting Madam can lead to offence, that is possibly why Maaam is used in 'authority' circles.

Sir is showing respect, and Ms is a version of Miss or Mrs.

Addressing a letter direct to a person, could contravene the Data Protection Act, if the correspondence got into the wrong hands.

I sometimes find that writing to some companies, there are more than one person who might respond to your correspondence, and they might pick-up were the other person left-off. So addressing any correspondence to them direct, might prove negative.

On finalisation, I notice that Regards is now becoming more popular, so I do likewise with Best Regards which sounds more friendly and seems to be acceptable by most.

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