Do You Capitalize The Phrase "To Whom It May Concern"? (2022) (2022)

The issue when writing a letter is not the content that goes into it. It is a fact that sometimes, letters addressed to companies don't necessarily go to a person in particular. In cases like this, the best option is to address it as "to whom it may concern," but should it have all initials in uppercase?

In the phrase "to whom it may concern," the initial letters of all words must be uppercased. A person's name is a noun. All nouns are capitalized; therefore, to whom it may concern should follow the same rule of noun capitalization even if the person's actual proper name is not available.

Before the age of digitalization, knowing how to write a letter was an essential requirement for everybody. Letters have existed since ancient history; it was the simplest way to convey a message from one person to another. Writing has been around for as long as there have been records of human history.

Letters as a tool helped society to communicate in ways that can't be described. The benefits not only were from mailing letters locally to nationwide, but the fact that a person could take letters with them on a ship to another continent was the cherry on top of the ice cream. The only requirement for a letter to be mailed is to have a postal address.

The benefits of writing a letter are that it is the safest way to send information; whereas an email can bring malware or harmful files to a computer; it could be deleted by mistake, emails are insecure, and with phishing, the consequences can be disastrous. On the other hand, a letter in the sender's handwriting gives a more personal feeling than an email, and you can tell a lot from a person's handwriting, showing the mastery of a good writing technique.

Do You Capitalize The Phrase "To Whom It May Concern"? (2022) (1)

Do People Still Write Letters?

Nowadays, writing a letter has become an art. With technology changing every day, new tools and software have made "writing" a letter or, better yet, typing something to not worry about. With editing tools, there's no need to pay attention to correctly structured sentences, questions, applying the correct punctuation, or capitalization. The only thing you need to bring to the table is the message needed to be communicated; the phone or computer will take care of the rest.

Letters are something that children start doing as early as four. They see someone bringing mail, envelopes being torn, and pieces of paper with words in them. For Christmas, they learn about Santa Claus and how you send a letter to the North Pole so Santa will know what to get them.

There have always been many everyday things linked to writing; mail, letters, or just information on paper. Once in school, they see how letters are a way to communicate with people at a distance. They learn to structure a letter, what to put in it, the greetings, and the goodbyes.

There are many types of letters, and they are categorized in mainly seven:

  1. Formal letter. This letter will have a particular structure and formality. It is used primarily in a professional way.
  2. Informal letter. These would be personal letters. There's no need to follow a structure or formality, and these are usually addressed to friends or family. An example of this type of letter is called a "Dear John."
  3. Business letter. A business letter would be the type used among peers, and it mainly contains complaints, claims, and commercial information.
  4. Official letter. An official letter is a type of letter that businesses use to inform offices, branches, and other locations belonging to the same company of any changes or relay information about procedures, events, and other things.
  5. Social letter. A social letter would be a personal letter to transmit congratulations, condolences, or an invitation, among other personal matters.
  6. Circular letter. A circular letter is a type of letter intended for mass distribution. It is used mainly to provide information of interest to a large group of people.
  7. Employment letters. Employment letters are any letters concerning an employment process.

Using letters as a way to communicate seems to be still a thing and not something that will disappear any time soon. Perhaps in a paperless way, but it is still going strong.

How To Address A Letter

A greeting is the first thing you should take into consideration when writing a letter. Greeting a person by name shows respect, diligence, and determination. It also shows that you took the time to check who was the right person to contact. Depending on the type of letter or how close you are to that person, there will be different ways to address it. When writing to friends or family, a "Dear.." and then the name will be enough. When sending a letter to a business, the salutation would have to take a step up. Some tips to consider when doing this are as follow:

  • Start with the word dear. Keep in mind the relationship you may have with this person.
  • Research company personnel. Make sure you verify the correct person to reach with this letter.
  • Address the recipient by job title if available.
  • Use a regular title. If no job title is available, refer to a Mr., Mrs., or Miss. When unsure about the marital status of a woman, use Ms. instead as it covers both single and married.
  • Complete with a comma or a colon.

When you need to send a letter to an organization or a department within a business, knowing who to address it is crucial. If you can't find the name of the person you are supposed to be reaching, you can use the phrase "to whom it may concern."

When To Use To Whom It May Concern

When there's not enough information about a person to contact, using the phrase "to whom it may concern" would be the best choice. But in what situations would this phrase be a good choice?

When writing cover letters for a job application, sales invoices, business memos, faxes, or emails; inquiries; appointments letters; and invitations; using this phrase would be an acceptable form of salutation.

Better Options Instead Of This Phrase

Using the phrase "to whom it may concern" should be a last resort once you've exhausted all possible ways to get the correct person for your letter. Ensure that you have reviewed job listings; sometimes, the name of a person hiring might be the one you can contact. Also, searching the organization's website could provide you with a list of names, or call the company and ask for the name as well, which are good options before using a general salutation.

If you are still unable to find the person's name, addressing the job title is a great alternative. Here are some examples.

(Video) When Do You Use a Capital Letter | Writing Song for Kids | Capitalization | Jack Hartmann

  • Dear (Job Posting)
  • Dear Recruiter
  • Dear Hiring Manager
  • Dear Human Resources/HR Manager
  • Dear (Title of the Department)
  • Dear Search Committee
  • Dear Sir or Madam
  • Good Morning
  • Good Afternoon
  • Good Evening
  • Hi All

Do You Capitalize The Phrase "To Whom It May Concern"? (2022) (2)

Bottom Line

Whether you are sending a letter to a character from a western Christian culture who is said to bring gifts from the north pole or a letter to ExxonMobil to discuss gasoline price increase in the last few years, writing a proper greeting or salutation is essential.

And if you also make sure you have the correct punctuation and capitalization, it will be a plus. When in doubt of who to address that very important letter, consider using the traditional and professional phrase "To Whom It May Concern." The initials of words are capitalized as a noun should since it is the same as writing someone's name.

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FAQs

Do You Capitalize The Phrase "To Whom It May Concern"? (2022)? ›

While capitalizing each word isn't grammatically necessary, as To Whom It May Concern isn't a title or proper noun, it's standard practice (mostly because another salutation that includes a name would also be capitalized).

Does To whom it may concern be capitalized? ›

Here's a tip: Always format “To Whom It May Concern” with a capital letter at the beginning of each word. Follow it with a colon. Double-space before you begin the body of your letter.

What is the correct way to write to whom it may concern? ›

To properly punctuate this greeting, use Dear + Name, followed by a comma. There are several ways you can use this traditional greeting in correspondence. Make sure to capitalize the first letter of each word in the salutation “To Whom It May Concern.”

How do you address a letter to an unknown recipient? ›

Unknown Recipient: There are two traditionally acceptable salutations when you are writing a business letter to an unknown recipient. To whom it may concern or Dear Sir or Madam show respect to anyone who is the intended reader.

Who should you address a cover letter to if there is no name? ›

Addressing a Cover Letter with "Dear Hiring Manager"

Dear Hiring Manager, That's another way to start a cover letter introduction right if you don't know the hiring manager's name. In fact, 40% of managers prefer "Dear Hiring Manager" to any other cover letter salutation.

How do you start a letter with no name? ›

Address the Cover Letter With “Dear Hiring Manager

It is the most common way to address a hiring manager with no name and 40% of hiring managers prefer this salutation over no salutation at all.

Is it rude to start an email with just a name? ›

An email greeting with just a name looks abrupt and even rude. An exclamation mark makes it even worse. A recipient may feel as if you're about to shout at them.

Can you mail a letter without a name? ›

You can your package without a name or you can put any nickname on the package if you have the delivery address to a house. If you live in an apartment building, and the package has your address but a different name, the driver may not be able to find you.

How do you start a letter without dear? ›

"Dear Sir or Madam" Alternatives
  1. "Hello, [Insert team name]"
  2. "Hello, [Insert company name]"
  3. "Dear, Hiring Manager"
  4. "Dear, [First name]"
  5. "To Whom it May Concern"
  6. "Hello"
  7. "Hi there"
  8. "I hope this email finds you well"
May 7, 2019

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