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Dear Sirs, Dear Madam, Yours faithfully, Kind Regards. Please advise me on the correct usage.

10 replies

MmeLindt · 16/08/2008 15:56

DH and I are moving to Switzerland shortly and he will have to speak a lot more English than at present. (He is German).

He asked today about writing a letter/email in a work situation.

We learnt in school

Dear Sir or Dear Madam = Yours faithfully

Dear Mr Smith = Yours sincerely

Is this still used? What about less formal usage, eg. emails or writing to a colleague when "hello" or "hi" is too informal.

And the plural of Dear Sir?

2nd Question

If writing a letter or email to a person not work related, but not a friend, what do you use to sign off? "Kind Regards" would still be too formal but obviously "love" a bit too informal


OP posts:
themoon66 · 16/08/2008 16:00

You are correct. Sir or Madam is followed by Yours faithfully.

Dear (named person) is followed by Yours sincerely.

At work emails are usually Dear Colleague or Hi if it's someone you know well enough to have a laugh and joke with.

Plural of Dear Sir is Dear Sirs.

Kind regards is used extensively I find - or just Regards. Failing that, stick with Yours sincerely.

I'm a secretary so see lots of letters and emails from many different places and people every day.

MmeLindt · 16/08/2008 16:03


This week DH sent an email booking a room in a hotel and wrote Dear Sirs. In German he would have written Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren.

Is that the correct usage if the persons are unkown. Or should it be Dear Sirs and Madams?

OP posts:
edam · 16/08/2008 16:07

Dear Sirs is the correct plural for unknown correspondents (I think it's remained purely on the grounds of being less wordy).

Kind regards/regards/many thanks are used a LOT in emails.

PortAndLemon · 18/08/2008 12:29

Dear Sirs or Dear Sir or Madam if unknown, I believe, followed by Yours faithfully.

When writing to a colleague if "hello" or "hi" is too informal, most people would switch to first names and put "Dear Fred," or simply "Fred,".

Signing off to a person not work related, but not a friend, Kind regards or just Regards would be fine.

PuppyMonkey · 18/08/2008 12:30

Do not ever write Dear Sirs to me as I immediately put them in the bin, being a female and all.

Kind regards seems perfectly acceptable in all circumstances these days. Being too formal makes you look like a nob-end sometimes.

MmeLindt · 18/08/2008 12:34

DH has informed me that he does not like writing "Dear Sirs" to unknown correspondants as it is impolite to any woman who might read his letter/email.

That saying, he is appalled that the Brits still use "Mr and Mrs John Smith" and even worse, "Mrs John Smith".

I think he is going to use Madame et Monsieurs

Thanks for your answers.

OP posts:
branflake81 · 19/08/2008 12:37

Surely it's "messieurs"?

elkiedee · 19/08/2008 12:58

Mesdames as well.

In English you can use Dear Sir/Madam - Dear Sirs is widely used between legal firms even by women, but I do remember typing a letter to a small all female firm where the fee earner dictated Dear Mesdames.

MmeLindt · 19/08/2008 13:00

We don't move to Switzerland until next month and my French skills are not great non-existant I will tell him the right spelling, thanks.

OP posts:
SqueakyPop · 19/08/2008 13:01

Sir/Madam = yours faithfully
Dear name = yours sincerely

For emails, it's more flexible. I usually say Best regards.

Plural of Dear Sir is Dear Sirs (can't really think of when to use it though)

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