When writing a letter to officials you don't know the sex of, do you say Dear Madam / Sir or Dear All?

How do you avoid the fact that you don't know the sex of the official(s) to whom you are writing?

  • 1
    "To whom it may concern" is another option. Jun 20, 2017 at 13:51
  • The question is certainly a duplicate, but I'm not at all sure that either of the answers from long ago is better than the answer submitted to this question today.
    – Sven Yargs
    Jun 21, 2017 at 3:56

1 Answer 1


I was born in the 1960s, and learned to do this by writing "Dear Sir or Madam" (or you can use "Dear Madam or Sir" if you prefer to be more gender-sensitive). I understand that some now find this style to be offputting, although I personally do not find it to be. I find "Sir or Madam" to be no more offputting than "Dear" is as a greeting to an anonymous stranger in a letter.

A more modern style, still acceptable, is to address the greeting of the letter to the title of the person to whom you are writing, e.g. "Dear Human Resources Manager:" if you are applying for a job. If you know a more accurate title for the person's position, use it instead.

I would not use "Dear All:" because that implies that the letter is to anyone who chooses to read it, and that would rarely be the case. Even if that was your intention (e.g. an open letter) it is more common to address the letter to the audience that you are looking to reach, e.g. "Dear Canadians:" or "To the Citizens of the World".

Note that I have used the colon after all of my greetings, but it is equally acceptable to use a comma instead.

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