Ladies and Gentlemen? Dear Sir or Madam? You need to know how correspondence etiquette is changing

Business Englisch ist für Sie als Sekretärin ein nötiger Erfolgsfaktor. Doch leider stellen die englische Geschäftskorrespondenz, die Kommunikation am Telefon und die korrekte englische Rechtschreibung eine große Herausforderung für viele dar.

Holen Sie sich jetzt das Englisch-Standardwerk: "The Secretary's Handbook of Business Englisch" und profitieren Sie von unzähligen Beispielen, Musterbriefen und -bausteinen sowie Anleitungen und Profi-Tipps rund um die perfekte englische Kommunikation!

The correspondence etiquette

Over the past months I’ve been receiving letters from you asking about the right forms of address in business letters and emails. Many of you worry that you might get something wrong, because you have noticed that in correspondence from the USA and UK, forms of address are not the same as the ones you learned at secretarial college. First of all, good for you for noticing these changes, and thank you for asking me about them. I have been following them myself, too and wondering when to write about them. So now’s the time.

There are six new forms of address and three outdated ones

I have noticed six new additions, and three salutations are going out of date. The new additions include just writing "Hello" or "Greetings" and addressing an individual or a group of people by their function (Dear HR Manager / Dear Board Members). Use the table below to decide which salutation you need on your letter or email if you want to be up to date.

Traditional and new salutations for letters and emails

New trend  
Traditional Outdated
Dear Board Members (mainly USA) Dear Sir or Madam To whom it may concern 
Dear Human Resources Director (mainly USA) Dear Sir or Madam Ladies and Gentlemen: 
Hello (USA and UK) Dear William Dear Sir / Dear Sirs 
Greetings (mainly USA) Dear Sarah:  
Hi Bill (USA and UK) Dear Bill  
Mary, Dear Mary