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Correspondence Vocabulary

address n. the place to which a letter is to be sent
We still haven't got your invoice. Are you sure you sent it to the correct address?
Best regards friendly close to a letter - also Kind regards, Best wishes
I use "Best wishes" to close personal correspondence, but for commercial correspondence I use "Best regards".
Dear first word of most SALUTATIONS, formal or not [eg: Dear Sir, Dear Mr Won, Dear Jo]
Starting a business letter with "Dear" seems a bit too personal, but everyone still uses it.
Dear Madam formal SALUTATION to an unnamed woman
Can I use "Dear Madam" when writing to a businesswoman who's already given me her name?
Dear Sir formal SALUTATION to an unnamed man
He'd assumed the CEO was a man and began his letter with "Dear Sir", and then had to apologize after being told she's a woman.
Dear Sir or Madam formal SALUTATION to an unnamed person of either gender
It's generally more respectful to avoid "Dear Sir or Madam" and to take the trouble to find out your correspondent's name or at least gender.
dictate v. to say or read aloud words that someone else will write down, or that dictation software will transform into text - dictation n.
Which one of those speech-to-text dictation apps do you use for dictating letters?
enc. abbr.1 enclosed [adj. (esp of a document) sent in an envelope along with a letter]; 2 enclosure [n. a document or object sent in an envelope along with a letter]
If you see "Enc. (2)" written at the bottom of a business letter, it means two additional items were sent with the letter.
Ladies and GentlemenUS SALUTATION when writing to a firm and not to any particular individual in that firm
By using the salution "Ladies and Gentlemen" (or "Dear Ladies and Gentlemen") you are legally addressing the firm or company.
letterhead n. a sheet of letter paper printed with a person or company's name and address
As soon as the business cards, letterhead, stationery and website are ready, we'll launch the business.
Mr Ms Mrs Miss abbr. of title for man, woman (married or unmarried), married woman, unmarried woman
Mr and Mrs Singleton would like to invite you to the wedding of their daughter Miss June Singleton and her loving same-sex partner Ms Olivia MacIntyre-Jones.
p.s. abbr. postscript [used to indicate a note added at the very end of a letter]
If you've written a letter but then think of something else you want to say, write "p.s." down the bottom and add the extra bit there.
p.p. abbr. per pro, meaning "on behalf of" or "through the agency of" [eg: A per pro B (where B has written on behalf of A)]
When Anne writes a letter on behalf of her boss, she puts "p.p. Anne Windsor" after his name when signing off.
registered mail n. a secure postal service for important or valuable letters or packages
Sending things by registered mail costs a bit more, but at least you can track them online.
salutation n. opening or first line of a letter, usually beginning with 'Dear...'
It's important to use the correct salutation when sending commercial correspondence.
shorthand n. a system of speed writing, esp. when taking dictation
After leaving school, mum went to a commercial college and learned how to type and take shorthand.
sign v. to write one's name at the end of a document - signature n.
Leave a space at the bottom of the letter for signing your name.
To Whom It May Concern SALUTATION you can use when writing to a company, government department or other organisation and you don't have a contact name
If a letter begins with "To Whom It May Concern", figure out which department it should go to and pass it on to them.
Yours faithfullyUK polite close to a letter that does not begin with the recipient's name, as in Dear Sir
Yours sincerelyUK polite close to a letter that begins with the recipient's name, as in Dear Mr Smith
Yours trulyUS polite close to a letter; Sincerely yoursUS