Dear Sir Or Madam: Is It Appropriate To Use It? Best Alternatives


How bởi vì you know when lớn use Dear Sir or Madam or something else? When writing a business letter or email, it can be a real challenge to lớn get the salutation right—especially for someone you don’t know or an organization you’ve never worked with. In such situations, you should err on the side of formality, but even then there are good reasons khổng lồ avoid Dear Sir or Madam. Luckily, there are a number of alternatives for Dear Sir or Madam that will help you remain professional.

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Is Dear Sir or Madam Acceptable?

The short answer is yes but only rarely—though of course, not everyone agrees.

Here’s why:

In today’s technologically connected world, there is (almost) no excuse for not knowing whom you are writing to.Dear Sir or Dear Madam may offend your recipient if you’re unsure of their gender or get it wrong.

If you want khổng lồ write a better cover letter khổng lồ a prospective employer or an outstanding business letter to a potential client, you want to stand out, right? Likely you want to lớn show how you are already a great fit for the team. Knowing someone’s name, gender, & what they bởi vì is a fundamental way lớn show your investment.

Dear Sir/Madam Cover Letter vs. Dear Sir/Madam Email

You should avoid using Dear Sir/Madam in emails as well as in cover letters.

Cover letters are notably more formal than emails, but some of the same rules apply, especially if you are writing lớn someone for the first time. Regardless of format, use a formal tone, while—as stated earlier—investing time in researching whom you are writing to.

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Dear Sir/Madam Alternatives

Because you should invest some time trying khổng lồ find out exactly whom you are writing to, the best alternatives lớn the highly impersonal Dear Sir or Madam include, in order of preference:

Dear ,Dear Mr./Ms./Dr. ,Dear , or Hello, , (informal only. Good if you’ve worked together before or the environment is casual.)Dear ,Dear ,To Whom It May Concern,Dear Sir or Dear Madam,Dear Sir or Madam,

This business writing salutations flow chart will help you understand when khổng lồ use Dear Sir or Madam & when to use something else.


Dear Sir/Madam vs. Khổng lồ Whom It May Concern

If, after diligent searching online and off, you are unable lớn learn the the name, role, or gender of your intended recipient, what should you do? In this (rare) situation, you should use Dear Sir or Madam and not To Whom It May Concern.


Though many people use Dear Sir or Madam interchangeably with To Whom It May Concern, there is a notable difference in meaning that employers or companies in certain formal sectors (academia, law, finance, etc.) will be sensitive to.

To Whom It May Concern implies that the information discussed in the letter can go to any relevant tiệc ngọt within the organization.

This salutation should be used for general concerns lượt thích support requests or feedback.

Dear Sir or Madam implies that you have one specific person in mind for this letter, but vì not know their name, title, or gender.

This salutation should be used for communication regarding specific projects, specific concerns, or employment.

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How khổng lồ Use Dear Sir or Madam Correctly

If you must use Dear Sir or Madam or a variant of it, traditionally this salutation is paired with Yours Faithfully, in the signature. Here is a template of a letter or e-mail which uses Dear Sir or Madam correctly.