Starting and ending letters and emails

The beginning of your letter is called the greeting and the end is called the salutation. So if you would like more help from the internet, a search on ‘greetings and salutations’ should give you lots to go on.

Formal emails and letters

  • Dear Sir/Madam……Yours faithfully (formal. You don’t know their name)
  • Dear Mr Last Name…..Yours sincerely (formal. You do know their name)
  • Dear Ms Last Name …..Yours sincerely (Use Ms instead of Mrs or Miss)
  • Dear Firstname …….Regards, Best regards, Best wishes, All the best, Kind regards
  • Dear Title Lastname….. (as for Dear Firstname)

Miss, Mrs, Ms

  • I was Miss Janet Carr
  • When I married I became Mrs Mark Comerford
  • When we divorced I became Mrs Janet Comerford
  • If I had been widowed I would have been Mrs Janet Comerford
  • When I returned to my maiden name I went back to Miss Janet Carr

……. so to avoid that potential minefield use Ms for a woman unless it is a very formal diplomatic letter and protocol dictates you must use the form of address above.



Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

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