If you know the person's name:
Dear Ms / Miss / Mrs / Mr / Dr + surname
Dear Mr Miller
You can also write the person's full name. In this case, leave out the title (Mr/Mrs). This way of writing the salutation is very handy if you don't know the gender of the person.
Dear Chris Miller
If you don't know the person's name:
There are several possibilities to address people that you don't know by name:
|salutation||when to use|
|Dear Sir / Dear Sirs||male addressee (esp. in British English)|
|Gentlemen||male addressee (esp. in American English)|
|Dear Madam||female addressee (esp. in British English)|
|Ladies||female addressee (esp. in American English)|
|Dear Sir or Madam||gender unknown (esp. in British English)|
|Ladies and Gentlemen||gender unknown (esp. in American English)|
|To whom it may concern||gender unknown (esp. in American English)|
Business partners often call each other by their first names. In this case, write the salutation as follows:
In British English, don't use any punctuation mark or use a comma.
Dear Mr Miller or Dear Mr Miller,
In American English, use a colon:
Dear Mr. Miller:
For examples see → Subject.
Ms, Miss or Mrs?
- Mrs - to address a married woman
- Miss - to address an unmarried woman (rarely used now)
- Ms - to address a woman whose marital status you don't know; also used to address an unmarried woman
Note: Abrreviations for Mister, Misses etc. are usually written without full stops (Mr) in British English and with full stops (Mr.) in American English.