Posted by: Jack Henry | September 11, 2018

Editor’s Corner: Revisiting Salutations

Hello! Good morning! Salutations!

A few times a year, I am asked by our readers about appropriate greetings for letters and emails. Even more often, readers ask about how to properly end a correspondence. Here is some great information from a newsletter I receive from It includes information, explanations, and examples of polite, acceptable ways to communicate with business associates.

A business relationship can be close or distant; in either case, the careful writer will remain aware of a professional context with proper boundaries and degrees of distance.

The salutation Dear (Name) can be used as the writer sees appropriate in business correspondence. The name can be the recipient’s first name, full name, or last name preceded by Mr., Mrs., or Ms. If unsure of a recipient’s gender, include the full name and exclude the prefix.

Salutations in business correspondence are followed by a colon if formal, or a comma if informal.


Dear Susan, (informal, closer relationship)
Dear Mr. Welsh: (formal, relationship not as close)
Dear Mrs. Martinez: (formal, you know she prefers “Mrs.” over “Ms.”)
Dear Ms. Martinez: (formal, she prefers “Ms.” or you aren’t sure of her preference)
Dear Macy Stapleton: (formal, relationship not close)
Dear Tyler Clancy: (formal, gender not known)

In any event, be diligent about spelling names correctly, including a person’s use of hyphens and second capital letters (e.g., Sheila Perkins-McMurtry as opposed to Sheila Perkins Mcmurtry).

In today’s business communication, careful writers will avoid the once-acceptable salutations Dear Sir or Madam and To Whom It May Concern. Such openings suggest the sender did not take time to learn basic details about the recipient, which may not make the best first impression.

To close business correspondence, you can use one of several commonly accepted sign-offs as you believe fit. [KC – Note the case used with these: the initial word is uppercase, and the rest of the words are lowercase. You would follow these sign-offs with a comma and your name.]

Respectfully yours

Kind (or Best) regards

Sincerely yours

With regards

With many thanks

All the best


Best wishes


Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services

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