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business letters: salutation

The salutation will vary depending upon the person addressed and the nature of the letter. The following are some appropriate salutations for various circumstances:

  • Sir or Dear Sir
    Madam or Dear Madam
    (for very formal correspondence, when receiver’s gender identity is known)
  • Dear Mr. or Mrs.
    or Ms. Jones
    (for a standard letter, when receiver’s gender identity is known)
  • Dear C. Jones, Dear Chris Jones
    (if receiver’s gender or gender identity is not known)
  • Dear Customer Service Manager
    Dear Occupant
    (where a title is used but the receiver’s name is not known)

It is not recommended that Mr., Mrs. or Ms. be used with a title as a salutation, as in "Mr. Premier."

The salutation begins at the left margin. Use capitals for the first word and all nouns in the salutation of a letter. The salutation is usually followed by a colon in a business letter. For more information on punctuation, see COLONS.