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How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: volcs0
Date: April 07, 2009 12:27AM
I'm sending a formal letter to someone named Morgan. I don't feel comfortable with "Dear Morgan" but would rather use: "Dear Mr. ____" (or "Dear Ms. ____"). I've googled this person, and I suspect they are female, but I just can't be sure.

What are the options:

1. No salutation. Just start in with the letter.
2. To Whom it May Concern
3. Dear Sir/Madam

Other ideas?
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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: kap
Date: April 07, 2009 12:30AM
2 or 3



West San Gabriel Valley, California ... for the time being :-)
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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: C(-)ris
Date: April 07, 2009 01:06AM
Dear Captain?
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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: davester
Date: April 07, 2009 01:11AM
I'm partial to "Hey you", "Captain my Captain", or "Y'all".




"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: Racer X
Date: April 07, 2009 01:32AM
no, this is formal You All.
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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: guitarist
Date: April 07, 2009 01:38AM
Is there a way to unobtrusively determine the person's gender identity? Using a resource other than Google...Call their office, find out through a third party, something...do a bit more research? If it's not practical, and the letter is purely formal and impersonal, then Sir/Madame is acceptable.

If you don't want to risk being totally impersonal and uninformed, going to the trouble to find out a tiny bit more about the person you're addressing seems like a worthwhile effort.
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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: Jack D.
Date: April 07, 2009 01:38AM
Yo, 'sup @#$%&? I wonna axe you suh'in,

Covers the gender problem but maybe not formal enough?



- Jack D.




New tasteless sig coming soon!
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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: Lux Interior
Date: April 07, 2009 01:39AM
I'd go with the Sir/Madam
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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: Black
Date: April 07, 2009 01:49AM
Greetings!


It has come to my attention etc. etc.




MR/F Guestmap: [www.mapservices.org]
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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: jdc
Date: April 07, 2009 02:29AM
Hi Pat,





----

The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs [www.fakesteve.net]


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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: WHiiP
Date: April 07, 2009 06:41AM
I would call and ask. You almost always get a switchboard type person (eventually) and can ask them, or ask for the person you need to know about and you, depending on their position, usually a secretary type will answer and you ask them. But, if the letter is F O R M A L then you should take the time to find out the appropriate salutation.



Bill
Flagler Beach, FL 32136

Carpe Vino!

Fermentation may have been a greater discovery than fire.
— David Rains Wallace
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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: threeprong
Date: April 07, 2009 06:42AM
Dear Person of Undeterminable Gender,
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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: Big Daddy Cool
Date: April 07, 2009 07:18AM
Dear he-she…
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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: bik
Date: April 07, 2009 07:29AM
Including first and last name, "Dear Morgan <Last name>," is a little awkward. But less awkward than getting the gender wrong.

If it seems reasonable, you might change from a letter format to a memo format.
To: Morgan <lastname>
From: Volcs0
That would be better than a letter with no salutation.
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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: m.paris
Date: April 07, 2009 07:35AM
You might consider "Dear Morgan Smith:" It is much better than just the first name although it is not, strictly speaking, proper. As others have said, try to determine the gender if at all possible. Using "Dear Morgan" sounds like you are addressing a child or a close acquaintance.

EDIT: Dang, I need to speed up my typing. Someone beat me to it.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/07/2009 07:37AM by m.paris.
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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: anonymouse1
Date: April 07, 2009 08:43AM
What guitarist said.

Doing "Dear Sir or Madam" enormously weakens the letter.
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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: kap
Date: April 07, 2009 08:48AM
Yo!



West San Gabriel Valley, California ... for the time being :-)
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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: billb
Date: April 07, 2009 08:52AM
Dearest ugly bag of mostly water,
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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: AAA
Date: April 07, 2009 08:53AM
What if you know the gender they say they are, but you have doubts?
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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: DaviDC.
Date: April 07, 2009 09:08AM
Dear Sir or Ma'am;

It's not hard to see who didn't pay attention during English classes.



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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: Dakota
Date: April 07, 2009 09:31AM
How about Dear Ms. Fairchild?
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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: Mr Downtown
Date: April 07, 2009 09:45AM
1. Just start with the letter. This will be much less noticeable than any other option.
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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: Lux Interior
Date: April 07, 2009 09:53AM
Quote
kap
Yo!

Fool! He said it was a formal letter!

"Yo Dawg!" would be the proper salutation. But you still have the gender issue, because for a female, it would be;

"S'up B!t©h"
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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Date: April 07, 2009 09:54AM
Quote
anonymouse1
What guitarist said.

Doing "Dear Sir or Madam" enormously weakens the letter.

+1
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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: volcs0
Date: April 07, 2009 09:57AM
Ok. Thanks everyone. I had to send it before the AM - it went out at 4AM - so before I saw the morning responses.

Through google and facebook, I was able to come to about 90% certainty that it is a woman, but I didn't want to take a chance.

Calling the switchboard would have been a good idea. I'll have to remember that.
Also, the standard Memo format is good.

I used:

Greetings.

Thanks for the advice.
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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: space-time
Date: April 07, 2009 11:40AM
too late now, but how about using the position/function/title of the person?

Dear Professor Morgan,

or

Dear Officer Morgan,

or

Dear Judge Morgan.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/07/2009 11:40AM by space-time.
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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: Joey Cupcakes
Date: April 07, 2009 12:15PM
Dear Sir or Madam,

Will you read my book? It took me years to write, won't you take a look?
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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: Racer X
Date: April 07, 2009 02:20PM
Dear Douchbag is gender-neutral BTW.
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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: billb
Date: April 07, 2009 02:46PM
Quote
Racer X
Dear Douchbag is gender-neutral BTW.
[forums.macresource.com]
:-)
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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: Racer X
Date: April 07, 2009 02:56PM
you are correct. my error. No soup for me.
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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: Seacrest
Date: April 07, 2009 05:34PM
"Home Skillet"





Live from Berserkeley, California | Originally from the City of Brotherly Freakin' Love | WEEEEEEEEEE! Stuff, yo.
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Re: How to address a formal letter if unsure of gender?
Posted by: AAA
Date: August 19, 2009 10:18PM
Quote
AAA
What if you know the gender they say they are, but you have doubts?

[www.dailymail.co.uk]
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