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How can one address unknown people in a formal letter?



 
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How can one address unknown people in a formal letter? #1 (permalink) Sun Oct 07, 2007 20:30 pm   How can one address unknown people in a formal letter?
 

Hi!

Imagine, you need to write a letter to public office/ a company or something else and want to talk to a certain person of whom you neither know the name nor the sex and also donīt know whether there is just one person or there are several persons you need to address.

How would an English native speaker begin such a letter?

I know, it seems a silly question. Nonetheless would I be grateful for an answer.

Thanks in advance

Michael
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How can one address unknown people in a formal letter? #2 (permalink) Mon Oct 08, 2007 12:08 pm   How can one address unknown people in a formal letter?
 

Hi Michael,

It's certainly not a silly question but it is a bit of a tall order with so little information to go on. I assume you would know the person's or persons' title or job. In that case the safest thing to do is address them by the job title or office held. I therefore suggest something along these lines:

Dear Director,
Dear Managing Director,
Dear Governor,
Dear Registrar,
and so on ..

Hope this might fit the bill.

Alan
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How can one address unknown people in a formal letter? #3 (permalink) Thu Oct 11, 2007 3:03 am   How can one address unknown people in a formal letter?
 

Hello Michael,

If you know the title or the job of the person you are writing to then you can address them according to this, as Alan has mentioned.

Also, (which i have done in the past when i have had no information on the name, title etc..) you can just write - To whom it may concern,
and then go on with the letter... this way who ever reads it will know who to pass the letter on to.

Hope this helped.
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How can one address unknown people in a formal letter? #4 (permalink) Thu Oct 11, 2007 8:47 am   How can one address unknown people in a formal letter?
 

Hi,

I don't think that 'to whom it may concern' would really work when you are writing a letter because it is too impersonal. This expression is more often used as the heading for a testimonial enclosed with a letter.

Alan
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How can one address unknown people in a formal letter? #5 (permalink) Thu Oct 11, 2007 10:16 am   How can one address unknown people in a formal letter?
 

ahh ok... Thanks Alan, i have learn't something new today too.. :)

I have usually used this when I have written letters to a company, but had no idea who to address it to.. I guess it is impersonal, but if you are not sure of the persons name and title, it's automatically impersonal.
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How can one address unknown people in a formal letter? #6 (permalink) Fri Nov 02, 2007 21:44 pm   How can one address unknown people in a formal letter?
 

Hi Alan, hi 1111166666!

Sorry for beeing late, but yes, your answers fit the bill"!

Thanks

Michael
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How can one address unknown people in a formal letter? #7 (permalink) Tue May 06, 2008 18:18 pm   How can one address unknown people in a formal letter?
 

Hi,

How about

Dear (companyname) representative?

- Timo
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