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32

Such utterances are known as phatic. In the OED's definition, they 'serve to establish or maintain social relationships rather than to impart information, communicate ideas.' Exchanges about the weather, such as you describe, can made without a greeting such as 'Hello' or 'Good morning' and often occur between strangers.


29

Dear Sir or Madam (some write it Dear Sir/Madam) would be an appropriate salutation when you are writing to an institution and you don't have a name. It is in common use, at least in the UK and the EU, and is considered polite and professional. "Sir or Madam is a respectful way to address the person when you don't know their gender - that is, when you don't ...


18

Some sensitivity to age and formality is needed to answer this question. A formal note does not change in structure because it's being sent via email. There's nothing special or magical about email that gives one permission to be forward, rude, or insulting. When writing to older persons, persons in authority, superiors, et al, I recommend a salutation and ...


17

Such statements are usually considered conversation starters/openers: A conversation opener is an introduction used to begin a conversation. They are frequently the subject of guides and seminars on how to make friends and/or meet people. Different situations may call for different openers (e.g. approaching a stranger on the street versus meeting them at ...


11

In one of Terry Pratchett's children's books, a computer that - unlike the nomes[sic] that are the main characters - understand human speech, explains that a conversation it overheard consisted of "I am still alive. Are you still alive?" "Yes, I am still alive". This seems foolish to the nomes until they realise that most of their conversations consist of ...


11

Whom and whomever are the pronouns used as direct objects (of the preposition). Who and whoever are predicate nominatives. When it comes after to, it will always be a form of whom. Whoever is technically a subject word (like he or I), but whom would be the object (like him or me). Therefore, after the word to you would need to use the object word....


11

There is no implication of marital status in your first example. It's just a more compact way to say the same thing. I could question whether two fruits could legally be married in the first place, but that would probably lead to downvotes.


8

As the others have said, this depends very much on the people you are communicating with. I'd say, better safe than sorry: as a rule, it is best to include greetings and a closing line with your name in your e-mails, unless you're absolutely sure the recipient will not appreciate them. In informal e-mails to friends, just Hi + Recipient and Sender is enough: ...


8

The first thing to say is that punctuation isn't grammar. The second thing to say is that punctuation is there to help the reader and if it doesn't do that it serves no purpose. In your example, either the exclamation mark or the comma would be helpful. The two together most certainly are not.


8

When the addressee is in the same field as the writer, you can use the address Dear Colleague.


8

"Goodbye" is derived from God be with you, as are many valedictions. "Take care" is sort of threadbare. "Farewell" seems antiquated. "Bon Voyage" is great if you're French. Be well, good fortune, until we meet again I do like the Vulcan Valediction, live long and prosper. Namaste is very respectful. It is spiritual, however; it can be interpreted (roughly)...


8

Unlike the well-established norms of traditional epistolary correspondence, there is no single standard way to write an e-mail regardless of the level of familiarity or distance, formality or informality intended, in the English-speaking world. An e-mail chain can be an asynchronous exchange of long form prose, as with a traditional letter or memorandum; in ...


7

As an Australian English speaker working in a typical office environment (health/academic sector), if first name use is not appropriate ('Dear Janet') then I would use the person's preferred title depending on their position or qualifications: Ms White Dr Green Professor Brown This should be fine in most contexts irrespective of gender. I ...


7

It's neither a subject nor an object. When I was in school this was called a "noun of direct address". When I took Latin it was called the "vocative case". That is when you use a word to identify the person you are speaking to. The most common use is sentences like, "Bob, come here!", where you may need to identify whom you are addressing, e.g. in a crowded ...


7

This supports @tchrist's analysis, but I thought I'd share the source material with you. Here is a fairly straightforward explanation of the punctuation of the word "brother" used in religious communication from an online religion style book... brother: A man who has taken vows in a Christian religious, particularly Catholic or Anglican, order but is ...


7

Dear Sir may have been an acceptable gender-neutral salutation some time ago, but I would suggest 'To whom it may concern,' as a more modern and suitable alternative :)


7

"Greetings", by definition, should only be at the beginning of a letter. "Wishes", on the other hand, can go at the end :-) Something I write often is "best wishes from [wherever I'm currently at, if I'm on vacation]" - and such a structure is definitely appropriate at the end of a letter. That said, Jon is also correct that sometimes mentioning where you ...


7

In my view, the simplest and most elegant solution is to start off simply with Dear ladies and gentlemen, having made sure to include the names of all the recipients in the postal address block pertaining to the addressees (if you are sending everyone a paper copy of the letter), so that all of them are able to see who else is covered by your salutation. ...


6

Use “we remain” in a participial closing¹. It provides the object (we) of the preceding participial phrase. Here is an example of correct usage. I have added a sample participial phrase, and removed the comma after “remain”. Letter text. Hoping this banal participial closing causes no offense, we remain Sincerely yours, Mr Person Head ...


6

If you are using brother as a form of address, just as you might write Doctor Jones or President Obama or Deacon Williams, then yes, you would capitalize Brother John there. Compare all these: Dear Mister Davies, Dear Doctor Johns, Dear President Obama, Dear Deacon Williams, Dear Lady Jessica, Dear Pastor Johnson, Dear Brother Jaques, Dear Secretary Bird, ...


6

Most of the emails I receive do not use Dear, although as noted in my comment all letters that I received do use Dear. emails tend to start with 'Jeremy' if they are from people who email me frequently, and with 'Dear Jeremy' or 'Dear [family name]' if they do not. I think that the absence of Dear in emails is comparable to the language used in pre-email ...


5

Both forms of addressing are used when you don't know their name. Otherwise it's a poor excuse for not being able to make use of technology properly when you do know their name. In which case it would be Dear X Y and Y Z, where the letters are meant to represent full name. It also does away with using titles, as titles are used rarely nowadays, unless it's a ...


5

In the U.S., the word Dear is rarely used when addressing a general audience. It might be used in a religious context (via a “Dear Friends in Christ” formula) or at a family gathering. “Ladies and gentlemen” is acceptable at the beginning of a speech, but is nowadays uncommon. The usual opening of a Toastmasters speech in the U.S. is along the lines of “...


5

Here is how it works if the intended recipient is unknown. If the gender is unknown, use: Dear Sir/Madam, Dear Sir or Madam, Dear Madam or Sir; Dear Sirs If the recipient is male: Dear Sir Otherwise, Dear Madam, If you want to exclude gender altogether from your letter, then use: To Whom It May Concern That said, the important thing is what ...


5

Greedily promoting from comment: The traditional salutation in this case isDear Sir or Madam:


5

Using the form "Sir [insert name]" implies that the person has been Knighted (or, in some countries, possibly other positions, not sure). This applies even in the United States. Bill Gates has not been Knighted, so you should not use it in this form to address him. Doing so would be an interesting faux pas. If you wish to formally address someone, you ...


5

I don't see anything wrong with, “I'm up here and I don't know why.” It sounds natural; it would catch my attention. (I imagine the next part of the speech would explain why, to some extent or another.) Just my two cents: Strive to speak from your heart, rather than seeking words of eloquence. The speech will be easier to deliver, and more enjoyable to hear....


5

In English, "Dear Sir or Madam" is the traditional and customary order. It does sound quaint (and sexist to some) — but's that's how it is. You would indeed be thought "outlandish" (a good choice of term there) if you were to reverse that order.


4

In the American South, it’s quite common for women to address total strangers, as honey, sugar, baby, etc. (On TV, black men do too, but I haven’t observed this first-hand. It might be fiction.) It’s a tricky thing because you’re taking a very familiar attitude. If you’re a vigorous Southern woman with heaps of personality, it’s charming. You’re just ...


4

In my experience, email can be used in one of two ways: Sending letters in electronic form. Sending asynchronous, quick communications - similar to Skype or text messaging. If you're sending a letter in electronic form - then as another answer stated, it should be no different from a letter you would write and send through snail mail. However if you're ...


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