how to correctly address a letter

  bumpkin 20:02 04 Jul 2018
Locked

Dealing with a government or council site by post what is now the protocol. Is "Dear Sirs" still appropriate or is something else now considered the norm.

  Quickbeam 20:38 04 Jul 2018

People still write letters?

  bumpkin 20:53 04 Jul 2018

Yes, you have to if you need to enclose certain documents.

  Al94 22:30 04 Jul 2018
  Forum Editor 22:47 04 Jul 2018

if you want to cover all eventualities, and the letter is a formal one, you can start with 'To whom it may concern'.

  Al94 22:51 04 Jul 2018

Wouldn't recommend it! old fashioned and stuffy

  bumpkin 23:00 04 Jul 2018

Thanks for the replies, I had to do it earlier today so went for "Dear Sirs" and hope that is acceptable.

  hastelloy 09:17 05 Jul 2018

I usually (though not often these days) go for Dear Sir/Madam. If you use that greeting (or just Dear Sir) you should end with yours faithfully. If you start with Dear Mr (or Mrs) Bloggs you end with yours sincerely.

I remember this as - if there's an s in the greeting (Sir) there isn't in the ending.

  bremner 21:54 05 Jul 2018

Dear Sirs really should be avoided, it is outdated as the recipient is equally as likely to be a female as male and therefore could cause offence.

  Forum Editor 22:25 05 Jul 2018

"Wouldn't recommend it! old fashioned and stuffy"

I disagree - it is gender neutral, for one thing and that's a help. The fact that a form of address has been in use for a long time isn't automatically a reason to label it 'stuffy' or old-fashioned. If that was the case, nobody would use 'yours sincerely' yet it appears on millions of business letters every day.

'Dear Sirs' is the greeting that is old-fashioned and stuffy because it expresses an assumption - that all the recipients of business letters are male, when in fact at least 50% of them are probably female.

  Pine Man 13:09 06 Jul 2018

From The Guardian:-

One of Britain’s most prestigious law firms has banned the use of “Dear sirs” from all of its legal documents and communications, apparently the first of the “magic circle” of top City legal companies to do so.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has stopped using the phrase from this weekend. In the UK the firm will now address all communications to “Dear Sir or Madam”

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