How do I start a letter in english?

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  • Tonka 24 Aug 2012 11:42:18 24,106 posts
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    Dear EG massif,

    Sometimes I have to write letters to complete strangers in english and I have no clue as how to start these letters.

    Currently I go with

    Dear Title Lastname

    but that sounds a bit weird to my swedish ears. Is there a better way? Am I doing it all wrong.

    kmf
  • neilka 24 Aug 2012 11:42:50 18,152 posts
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    OI FUCKFACE
  • Dougs 24 Aug 2012 11:43:30 77,266 posts
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    If it's a formal letter, that's about right.
  • Fab4 24 Aug 2012 11:45:04 7,547 posts
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    If you know their name and title (Mr/Mrs/Lord etc) and its a formal letter, then use them. If you don't know their name use Sir/Madam.

    Edited by Fab4 at 11:45:22 24-08-2012
  • Deleted user 24 August 2012 11:45:11
    If you know their name:

    Dear [Title] [Surname]

    Finished with

    Yours Sincerely

    If you don't:

    Dear [Position - if you're not trying to sweet talk] or [Sir/Madam - I don't like it, but it works]

    Finished with

    Yours faithfully

    Edited by RedSparrows at 11:45:30 24-08-2012
  • L_Franko Moderator 24 Aug 2012 11:46:35 9,695 posts
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    Dear Mr/Mrs Gooblegob

    This is how I normally start letters to people I don't know. Obviously change Gooblegob for relevant name.
  • elstoof 24 Aug 2012 11:50:09 13,877 posts
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    You still courting prisoners Tonka? I'm sure they're happy just to receive your letters and pictures, regardless of grammar.

    Edited by elstoof at 11:51:48 24-08-2012
  • Stickman 24 Aug 2012 11:50:16 29,652 posts
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    Wagwan bumbaclaat,

    Further to our previous correspondence...
  • Load_2.0 24 Aug 2012 11:50:32 22,400 posts
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    Dear Cunt.

    I murdered your son.


    With kindest regards

    Burt.
  • Tonka 24 Aug 2012 11:50:46 24,106 posts
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    Cool. I was worried that I came on a bit as if I was coming on to them if you know what I mean. To me Dear is something you call your wife.

    Can I have the coffe dear? etc etc

    I've noticed that some people reply with just my first name after I write them. This made me think that I was taught some ancient rules of politeness in school and that those rules have been outdated since.
  • morriss 24 Aug 2012 11:51:42 71,298 posts
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    Darling bank manager

    May the seed of your loin be fruitful in the belly of your woman

    Love,

    Niel.
  • Salaman 24 Aug 2012 11:51:52 21,351 posts
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    Sounds right Tonka, it must be your Swedish ears.
  • neilka 24 Aug 2012 11:53:03 18,152 posts
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    WRITE TO THEM

    WRITE TO THEM
  • Salaman 24 Aug 2012 11:53:35 21,351 posts
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    Most Tender Sir/Madam,

    Flower of my heart, moon in my sky. Can I please urge you again to pay the outstanding amount for my June invoice which is now 30 days overdue.

    Your passionately,

    Sal
  • L_Franko Moderator 24 Aug 2012 11:54:42 9,695 posts
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    Dear Sexy also works.
  • ZuluHero 24 Aug 2012 11:56:13 5,043 posts
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    Out of interest, how would you write it in Swedish?
  • neilka 24 Aug 2012 11:58:10 18,152 posts
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    Dear Tonka,

    Your construction equipment came to me highly recommended but I am afraid to report that the works I have been supervising on the A257 have now been in progress for the last twenty three years.

    Your Sincerely,
    Henry Hoover (no relation)
  • morriss 24 Aug 2012 11:58:38 71,298 posts
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    Boomshanka
  • heyyo 24 Aug 2012 11:58:40 14,362 posts
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    If you can't decide what their gender is based on their name you put

    Dear [first name] [last name]

    It's usually americans who have boy's names for girls, but you also get foreign first names you have have no idea which way.

    Or just chance it with mr/mrs, makes writing letters fun! ...

    Edited by heyyo at 11:59:55 24-08-2012
  • MrTomFTW Best Moderator, 2015 24 Aug 2012 11:58:46 44,357 posts
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    If it's an informal letter you can forget about the whole "Dear Mr Placeholder," thing. Just use something like "Hi Rodger" instead.
  • Destria 24 Aug 2012 11:59:05 2,852 posts
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    morriss wrote:
    Darling Fascist Bully-Boy

    May the seed of your loin be fruitful in the belly of your woman

    Love,

    Niel.
    Fixed :). Was just about to post that.

    Video guide
  • Folant 24 Aug 2012 12:26:06 1,983 posts
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    I think what confuses most people is the sign off.

    "Do I put sincerely or faithfully? Can I put Kind Regards?"

    Dear Name - Sincerely
    Dear Sir/madam - Faithfully

    Sending a formal letter, always use that.(Just remember, two S's don't go together. Sir/madam - Sincerely = X)

    But if you have further correspondence with that person still in a formal manner, I think it's ok to sign off with "Regards". It's still formal but more casual than the initial sign off.
  • Grunk 24 Aug 2012 12:34:32 4,717 posts
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    Also, your address goes top right, with the date underneath. their address goes under that on the left.

    I always thought that was a bit pointless, since their address also goes on the outside of the letter.

    And putting all these addresses can take up half the first page.
  • neilka 24 Aug 2012 12:36:17 18,152 posts
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    For that personal touch, make sure to enclose at least one of your pubic hairs in the envelope.
  • Deleted user 24 August 2012 12:38:15
    For business communications, I go with:

    Alright Dudes,

    What's going down in groove-town?
  • Salaman 24 Aug 2012 12:39:31 21,351 posts
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    heyyo wrote:
    If you can't decide what their gender is based on their name you put

    Dear [first name] [last name]

    It's usually americans who have boy's names for girls, but you also get foreign first names you have have no idea which way.

    Or just chance it with mr/mrs, makes writing letters fun! ...
    A prospect contacted me via email at work asking for more details about our company/product. The email was from Switzerland and the person was called Suso.
    I did a google search and found a linkedin profile for a lady called Suso.
    I opted for dear Mrs.

    He replied politely thanking me for the info and added "p.s.: it's Mr Suso"

    *redface*
  • Deleted user 24 August 2012 12:50:22
    It's best in academia: just shove Dr or Prof on and all's alright.

    Well, unless you call a Prof a Doc...

    Edited by RedSparrows at 12:50:30 24-08-2012
  • Tonka 24 Aug 2012 12:51:35 24,106 posts
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    ZuluHero wrote:
    Out of interest, how would you write it in Swedish?
    Hello,

    subject subject subject

    with kind regards

    My Name
  • thedaveeyres 24 Aug 2012 12:54:47 12,834 posts
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    Dancing Monster,

    Dancing monster dancing monster dancing monster dancing monster dancing monster dancing monster dancing monster dancing monster dancing monster dancing monster dancing monster dancing monster dancing monster dancing monster dancing monster dancing monster.

    Dancing monster,

    Dancing Monster
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