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BS: Dear Sir or Madam...

McGrath of Harlow 01 Nov 02 - 08:06 AM
Declan 01 Nov 02 - 08:24 AM
greg stephens 01 Nov 02 - 08:41 AM
greg stephens 01 Nov 02 - 08:44 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 01 Nov 02 - 08:54 AM
greg stephens 01 Nov 02 - 08:57 AM
kendall 01 Nov 02 - 08:58 AM
catspaw49 01 Nov 02 - 09:01 AM
Willie-O 01 Nov 02 - 09:04 AM
smallpiper 01 Nov 02 - 09:26 AM
mack/misophist 01 Nov 02 - 10:04 AM
Amos 01 Nov 02 - 10:05 AM
Uncle_DaveO 01 Nov 02 - 10:13 AM
Midchuck 01 Nov 02 - 10:22 AM
EBarnacle1 01 Nov 02 - 10:24 AM
Bat Goddess 01 Nov 02 - 10:30 AM
GUEST,toribw who should be working 01 Nov 02 - 10:31 AM
katlaughing 01 Nov 02 - 11:09 AM
Declan 01 Nov 02 - 11:15 AM
wilco 01 Nov 02 - 11:19 AM
Ebbie 01 Nov 02 - 11:32 AM
Nigel Parsons 01 Nov 02 - 11:35 AM
Mrs.Duck 01 Nov 02 - 12:42 PM
Glade 01 Nov 02 - 04:59 PM
Amos 01 Nov 02 - 05:05 PM
robinia 01 Nov 02 - 08:28 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Nov 02 - 12:21 PM
GUEST,Brian F. Hannon 03 Nov 02 - 12:45 PM
GUEST,KingBrilliant 03 Nov 02 - 01:02 PM
smallpiper 03 Nov 02 - 07:50 PM
Don Firth 04 Nov 02 - 04:21 PM
GUEST,Kim C 04 Nov 02 - 04:37 PM
mg 04 Nov 02 - 04:50 PM
Little Hawk 04 Nov 02 - 05:51 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Nov 02 - 06:03 PM
Fingerbuster 04 Nov 02 - 06:09 PM
Ed. 04 Nov 02 - 06:35 PM
catspaw49 04 Nov 02 - 09:43 PM
Little Hawk 05 Nov 02 - 01:01 AM
Banjer 05 Nov 02 - 06:12 AM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Nov 02 - 06:34 AM
Mr Happy 05 Nov 02 - 06:43 AM
Little Hawk 05 Nov 02 - 11:51 AM
SharonA 05 Nov 02 - 02:15 PM
EBarnacle1 05 Nov 02 - 02:41 PM
catspaw49 05 Nov 02 - 03:24 PM
GUEST,Melani 05 Nov 02 - 06:15 PM
maire-aine 05 Nov 02 - 10:57 PM

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Subject: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 08:06 AM

"Dear Sir or Madam, will
you read my book..."


Writing formal letters to strangers in English tends to involve an initial awkardness, when you don't know anything about the person to whom you are writing.

I don't feel comfortable writing "Dear Sir", when for all I know the person I'm writing to is awoman. "Dear Sir or Madam" seems very ponderous. In any case, even if I know the recipient was a woman, but I don't know her name, "Dear Madam" doesn't really feel quite right. After all, for a man I wouldn't write "Dear Mister". But there is no proper female equivalent of "Sir" in English, unlike many other languages.

"To whom it might concern"? Sounds pretty remote.

Any suggestions anybody?


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: Declan
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 08:24 AM

In Gaelic we use the phrase A Chara (literally friend but considered to be OK as a formal mode of address. This was standard phraseology from the Irish Civil Service for years, even when the body of the letter was written in English. The equivalent sign off at the bottom is "Is Mise, Le Meas" which translates literally as I am, With Respect.

Of course none of this is any use to you unless your addressee understands Gaelic. I think Friend on its own sounds over familiar. Dear Friend ? Maybe.

On a total aside, for the first time ever the Irish Times now has a woman editor (Geraldine Kennedy). From the day she took over the opening of all letters on the Lettters to the Editor page - a highly influential page in this newspaper was Madam.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 08:41 AM

A serious problem. I suppose you can say for "Dear Sir or Madam" that at least the person you are addressing will know youre trying to be polite and formal, and unlikely to be annoyed. But I certainly wouldnt write "Dear Madam" if I knew it was a woman, that sounds downright offensive.
   Maybe sticking to emails is the answer, where the convention as I understand it is you dont have to put dear anybody.
   Luckily in my life the occasions I have to write to unknown recipients are very few.Writing to your bank-manager springs to mind. I suppose you could always write "Dear Bank Manager".


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 08:44 AM

Come to think of it, how should I address you, McGrath of Harlow? In full? Shortened to "McGrath", which sounds a bit public-schooly? And I could use your christian name, which I happen to know, but I dont that is appropriate on Mudcat as it is not the name you use here. But I digress.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 08:54 AM

this one is easy, you should just write Hello.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 08:57 AM

Hello jonn


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: kendall
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 08:58 AM

I use, Greetings:


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: catspaw49
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 09:01 AM

"Hey! Yo! Listen Up Mother Fucker,"

That ought to at least get their attention.........

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: Willie-O
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 09:04 AM

Good Day (I'm from the Ottawa Valley).

Or as we would say when picking up the typical three-headed, one-legged hitchhiker:

"G'day, g'day, g'day, hop in!"

W-O


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: smallpiper
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 09:26 AM

The accepted form and (aligidly) gender neutral is "Dear Sirs" well what do you expect language changes all of the time.

regards
herself


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: mack/misophist
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 10:04 AM

When I need to use something, I use 'Dear Person'. It works for me. Except when writing to animals.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: Amos
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 10:05 AM

You could try "Howdy!". But not "Boy Howdy!". Or, as said above, "Hello". Too formal? "Hiya!", or "G'day, folks." Or "Dear (Company)".

If they doon't like it you can always claim to be a dispossessed Nigerian Princess or something.




A


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 10:13 AM

How about: "Hey, you!"   ????

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: Midchuck
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 10:22 AM

'Zup, Dood?

Might as well go all the way into the 21st century...

P.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 10:24 AM

Since you are addressing potential readers, why not simply say "Dear Reader?"


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 10:30 AM

I try to get the actual name of the person I'm addressing, rather than just a title, but this isn't always possible. (But you'd be surprised what you can accomplish with a phone call.)

For at least the past 10 years I've been using "Hello" in formal correspondence and "Salu!" among friends.

Linn


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: GUEST,toribw who should be working
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 10:31 AM

Spaw, I used a greeting similar to yours once while applying for a job...funny, but I never heard from them. *g*

I use Good People when adressing correspondence to someone I don't know. It sounds a little less lame to me than some of the alternatives that I came up with.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: katlaughing
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 11:09 AM

If I can't find out their names, I at least try to have a title and would address them as that, as someone noted above, "Dear Editor" etc.

I, personally, would not care to receive one which called me "Madam." Sounds way to matronly and formal!*bg*

If you really are trying to get someone to read your book, I like the suggestion of "Dear Reader;" also, just a simple "Hello."


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: Declan
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 11:15 AM

Sometimes if I'm sending eMails around work to many people I address them as Folks. This might be seen as a bit in Formal - but the readers of your letters must be Folks - I've never seen a Horse read one.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: wilco
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 11:19 AM

Fellow Earthlings.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: Ebbie
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 11:32 AM

"Mother Fucker"

Ah. I get it. This way both sexes are referred to. Right, Spaw?


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 11:35 AM

I was always taught to avoid starting a letter,
"Dear sir,stroke Madam" !

Nigel


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: Mrs.Duck
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 12:42 PM

Can't really see the problem with this one. 'Madam' is the female form of 'Sir' not of 'Mister' which would be 'Missus' or 'Miss'. I would expect to be addressed as madam by waiters, shop assistants, bank staff etc as a form of politness. That said I did on my first weeks working in an office quite innocently tell the boss that it was rude to write 'Dear Sir' on a French letter!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: Glade
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 04:59 PM

Around here, "Dear Sir or Ma'am" is considered polite for correspondence, 'Madam' being considered old-fashioned, pompous, and/or risque.

You're right, it's always more polite to personalize your French letters. If you don't know the person's name, just don't write anything ;)

Glade


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: Amos
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 05:05 PM

French letters are usually pretty personal -- if you don't know the person's name by the time they are broughtinto the equation, I am sure you may well have met under dubious circumstances...


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: robinia
Date: 01 Nov 02 - 08:28 PM

I'm happy that someone mentioned "ma'am" -- don't know if it works as well in letters as in speech, but as a Yankee, even as a half-Brit, I've always felt that this southern salutation fillled a real gap in the English language. (BTW, in one of the early grades of school I was very given to "hey, you!" I seem to recall that my teachers took offense....)


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Nov 02 - 12:21 PM

"Ma'am" in England tends to be reserved for addressing the Queen. Which I very rarely need to do.

The Irish solution "A Chara" is far the neatest, but it's not really usable outside Ireland. (What about Scots?)

I agree the best way sometimes is to use the job title. In which case maybe it's as well to avoid writing "Dear Madam" in normal circumstances, for fear of musinderstandings.

Finding the actual name is best - though even that doesn't avoid all the problems. For example, is it "Dear John" or "Dear Mr Smith", or "Dear John Smith". Quakers tend to use the latter and it makes a lot of sense - especially when the recipient has a name that don't tell you the gender, such as Robin or Evelyn (and also avoids all the Ms/Mrs/Miss hassles). But some people think it sounds overfamiliar to a total stranger.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: GUEST,Brian F. Hannon
Date: 03 Nov 02 - 12:45 PM

I use the Terminology Dear Sir / Lady ,


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: GUEST,KingBrilliant
Date: 03 Nov 02 - 01:02 PM

I usually dodge the issue by using a "RE : subject....." line, then launching straight into the letter. "Dear Sir or Madam" just makes me giggle.

Kris


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: smallpiper
Date: 03 Nov 02 - 07:50 PM

"Fellow Earthlings" - thats a bit presumptious!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: Don Firth
Date: 04 Nov 02 - 04:21 PM

ACHTUNG!!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: GUEST,Kim C
Date: 04 Nov 02 - 04:37 PM

Kendall, I like "Greetings" also. Or I will say something like, "Dear Customer Service Manager."

Personally, I don't mind being called Madam or Ma'am. I am a Ma'am, after all.

I don't like being addressed as "Young Lady" because 1)I'm 35, and 2) I always think I'm in trouble...


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: mg
Date: 04 Nov 02 - 04:50 PM

I think if it is for something formal I would and do use Dear Sir or Madam or Ma'am...if it was informal, like requesting a catalog, I say dear Staff.. or Dear Manager or whatever.

There is a waitress here in town who calls me, and I presume other female customers, My Lady. I am going to call ladies that sometime. I like it...

mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: Little Hawk
Date: 04 Nov 02 - 05:51 PM

Spaw, you left out the comma before "Motherfucker". Some people might find that offensive. Your greeting should have read:

"Hey! Yo! Listen Up, Mother Fucker,"

Try to bear these things in mind. Politeness will get you a long way in life, even if you ain't got good looks! :-)

I believe your chosen greeting (WITH the comma included, of course!) is pretty standard in the fields of Rap and Hip-Hop. I preface ALL my letters to Rap business contacts in that fashion.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Nov 02 - 06:03 PM

Was it Les Dawson who said that he had received this letter starting Dear Sir, but that the person writing it obviously had some problem spelling, since they'd spelt "Sir" C-U-R ?


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: Fingerbuster
Date: 04 Nov 02 - 06:09 PM

In the midlands it's - Ayup miduck a'y awreet.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: Ed.
Date: 04 Nov 02 - 06:35 PM

Dear Friend?


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: catspaw49
Date: 04 Nov 02 - 09:43 PM

I tell ya' Hawk, the comma implies a space or pause and frankly I don't pause when I say "Listen up Motherfucker." I think my real mistake there was in writing Mother and Fucker as two words when in reality everyone knows it's a stand alone word all by itself. If I were wanting to really accent the thing for max emphasis then it needs to be:

"Hey!!! Yo!!! Motherfucker!!! Listen Up!!!"

Also, to address Ebbie's comment about applying to male and female, "Motherfucker" can work, but I think to be absolutely politically correct, a better term that can apply equally to either sex would be "Cocksucker."

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Nov 02 - 01:01 AM

Ah. Now you've got it exactly right, Spaw. Well done! You are on your way to a lucrative career managing and/or booking Rap concerts in Ohio and nearby regions.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: Banjer
Date: 05 Nov 02 - 06:12 AM

If writing to an unknown person or group of people how about using as the opening of the letter...'Ladies and Gentlemen, ? Covers all bases and is polite without seeming to be too familiar.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Nov 02 - 06:34 AM

When sending an unfriendly letter leaving out the "Dear" makes sense.

Starting a letter "Sir" makes it sound like a challenge to a duel. "Madam" on its own has a similar quality. But "Sir or Madam" - no, it somehow sounds grovelling.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: Mr Happy
Date: 05 Nov 02 - 06:43 AM

sir,

i remain your most dutiful & obedient servant [grovel, snivel, kow tow]


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Nov 02 - 11:51 AM

Very good, Mr Happy. Now polish my boots, if you please...

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: SharonA
Date: 05 Nov 02 - 02:15 PM

Kevin (McGrath): To my mind, the "Will you read my book?" part of the letter – the request itself – seems far more awkward than the "Dear Sir or Madam" part! ;^)


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 05 Nov 02 - 02:41 PM

The term "Motherfucker" is inappropriate when writing to Rappers. The correct term is "Hey, mufu." If you are going to write in a foreign tongue, a lees use tha tun a spuken. [For those who prefer their English intelligible, that was "at least use the tongue as spoken.]


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: catspaw49
Date: 05 Nov 02 - 03:24 PM

EBarnacle ... I was not writing to Rappers when suggesting the opening greeting. However your point is well taken as to expressing oneself. Now if I were to phonetically write it as I have many times in this forum, the word "fuck" is generally pronounced "fock" by second and third generation Dagos like myself. It's also used at a reasonably high frequency when in groups, ie.: "Aaayyy, go fock yerself ya scumbag mutherfocker...Fock you an anybuddy who fockin' looks like you."

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: GUEST,Melani
Date: 05 Nov 02 - 06:15 PM

Unless I'm trying to be totally formal, I use "Dear Folks."


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Subject: RE: BS: Dear Sir or Madam...
From: maire-aine
Date: 05 Nov 02 - 10:57 PM

For complaints, I use "Dear Sir or Madam". For almost everything else, I use "Dear Folks".


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Mudcat time: 23 June 11:04 AM EDT

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