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Faithfully/sincerely with job title

(22 Posts)
PhilipMarlowe Mon 17-Jun-19 11:21:55

Advice please: if I am writing to someone whose name I know, but I'm using their job title to address them, do I use faithfully or sincerely?

Dear MP
Dear Chancellor
Dear Bursar


stucknoue Mon 17-Jun-19 11:32:23

Faithfully if no actual name I was taught, but I don't think it matters much now

Seeline Mon 17-Jun-19 11:57:10

I think it would be more correct to use their name in the Dear …., rather than their title and then obviously it would be sincerely.

You could put their title in the address if you wanted to make it clear.

PhilipMarlowe Mon 17-Jun-19 12:10:42

I was always taught to use the job title in these circumstances. But that was decades ago, so perhaps it has changed.

Fifthtimelucky Tue 18-Jun-19 16:04:55

I would use the title in some cases, but not these (unless, by Chancellor you mean Chancellor of the Exchequer).

For example I would write 'Dear Prime Minister', or 'Dear Home Secretary' or 'Dear Bishop', but definitely not 'Dear MP/Chancellor/Bursar'.

As I hadn't used their name, I would go with yours faithfully.

PhilipMarlowe Wed 19-Jun-19 21:13:32

So when would you use job title and when wouldn't you?

Fifthtimelucky Tue 25-Jun-19 17:29:43

Not sure if I can explain really. I would use job title only for very important ones. What type of person are you actually writing to?

HollowTalk Tue 25-Jun-19 17:31:38

You'd never address someone by their job title, always by name.

PeonyPink0 Tue 25-Jun-19 17:33:25

Are you British? confused

You’d never use the job title...

Chocolate35 Tue 25-Jun-19 17:35:43

I was always taught that it’s faithfully if you’ve never met the person and sincerely if you have so based on that I would say faithfully.

HollowTalk Tue 25-Jun-19 18:57:46

It's faithfully if you don't know their name, @Chocolate35, not if you haven't met them. Most business people haven't met the people they're writing to.

PeonyPink0 Tue 25-Jun-19 18:59:36

The way to remember it is FS SF

Dear Sir
Yours faithfully

Dear first name
Yours sincerely

imsorryiasked Tue 25-Jun-19 19:08:13

Sincere friend or faithful servant

Fifthtimelucky Wed 26-Jun-19 12:20:14

In the UK in some cases you do use title, as in 'Yes, Minister'.

PeonyPink0 Wed 26-Jun-19 12:32:10

But this is about writing a letter @Fifthtimelucky

Fifthtimelucky Wed 26-Jun-19 12:48:47

Yes, but you would also write 'Dear Minister' in a letter. I probably didn't give a good example, but that the point is that Ministers/Prime Ministers are addressed by reference to their job title, not their name. Whether that is in writing or face to face doesn't matter.

PeonyPink0 Wed 26-Jun-19 13:05:51

No, you would write

Dear Theresa


PhilipMarlowe Wed 26-Jun-19 15:38:43

Fifth I remember being instructed by a vair posh lecturer that if I were writing to the chancellor of the university I studied at, it should definitely be Dear Chancellor. So I was recently emailing private school registrars & bursars, and thought I should put Dear Registrar etc. I knew their names but had never met them. Should I have put Dear Mrs Whatever?

Fifthtimelucky Wed 26-Jun-19 20:39:47

Peony: obviously anyone writing to the PM can write "Dear Theresa" or "Dear Mrs May" if they wish. However, the correct form of address would be "Dear Prime Minister" (assuming that they are writing to her officially and do not know her personally).

I'd say for a University Chancellor either is probably fine (happy to defer to the lecturer). Personally I'd go for the name unless I was writing something like a complaint or appeal that needed formal consideration in his/her capacity as Chancellor.

For school registrars and bursars, I would definitely just use their name. However, I don't suppose it matters in the least!

PhilipMarlowe Wed 26-Jun-19 21:47:30

Ha ha you've just described Pedants Corner - doesn't matter in the least!
Your example of when to call the Chancellor Dear Chancellor was roughly accurate - it was definitely to do with his chancellorship, rather than social etc.

So now I want a nice easy to remember rule: when do I write Dear Jobtitle and when do I write Dear Mr Smith. There must be an etiquette guide somewhere!

Thanks for all your suggestions above everyone.

PhilipMarlowe Wed 26-Jun-19 21:50:34

Is it because the PM or Chancellor is the writer's PM or Chancellor. So if you were French you wouldn't put Dear PM to Theresa May, and if you studied at a different university you wouldn't put Dear Chancellor?

Fifthtimelucky Wed 26-Jun-19 23:11:28

I think you would address them by their title if you were writing to them in their official capacity, so if I wanted to write to President Trump to try to change his approach to something, I would write 'Dear President Trump' (or perhaps 'Dear Mr President') even though I'm not a US citizen.

But as well as it being about the official capacity in which you are writing, I think it's also to do with 'rank/importance' and partly to do with tradition.

So I can see someone writing formally to the headteacher at their child's school starting 'Dear headmaster/headmistress' (though personally I wouldn't), but surely no one would start a letter to their child's teacher ' Dear teacher'?

I have just dug out and consulted an 1982 edition copy of Debrett's 'Etiquette and Modern Manners' which has a whole section called 'Correct forms of address'. That confirms that letters to ministers should start 'Dear Prime Minister/Home Secretary/Secretary of State', and that letters to MPs should start eg 'Dear Mr X'.

It also has all sorts of info on how to address law officers (eg the Lord Chief Justice gets 'Dear Lord Chief Justice' but QCs simply get eg 'Dear Mr X'); Clergymen (eg in the CofE it's eg 'Dear Bishop', Dear Archdeacon' etc but vicars just get 'Dear Mr X' or 'Dear Father X'), the armed services, the police, doctors and dentists (plus the Royal family and aristocracy).

There is nothing on how to address those in the education sector, unfortunately!

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