View Mobile Site

Dear Abby 11/15

First-name informality is wrong for business mail

DEAR ABBY: Would you please inform the business people of America about the existence of your booklet, "How to Write Letters for All Occasions"? When I open a business letter and find myself addressed on a first-name basis, as in "Dear James," the letter immediately goes into the trash!
    The informal first-name salutation is entirely wrong because I have never met the person sending the letter, and I consider it highly improper.
    When it comes to manners, please inform any and all business people about the proper way to address correspondence. -- MISTER C. IN SAN JOSE, CALIF.
    DEAR MISTER C.: I'm glad to oblige. You are not the only reader who has complained that the degree of informality in business letters they receive seems presumptuous.
    As I say in my letters booklet, "Depending on how well you know the person to whom you are writing, you write: Dear Martha, Dear Miss Smith, Dear Joe, Dear Mr. Black." Common sense dictates that if the person is a stranger, the formal salutation should be used instead of the familiar one.
    My booklet can be ordered by sending a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby — Letters Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Postage is included in the price.

    DEAR ABBY: I am a freshman girl who is dating a junior guy I adore. I can talk to him about anything, and he's always there for me no matter what. We've been dating for seven months.
    He is always telling me that we're going to be together forever, and I agree. But now that I start thinking about it, I don't know if he's the one for me. I don't want to say it because I don't want to hurt him. But I'm afraid if I keep leading him on that he'll only get stronger feelings.
    How should I tell him this? I am so young, and there are so many other fish in the sea. All my friends keep telling me I can do better, but I just feel stuck and don't know what to do. You can't force yourself into loving someone, can you?
    Please answer back as soon as possible, and tell your readers not to get too serious in a relationship unless you are 110 percent positive that he or she is "the one," or you'll end up in too big of a mess to handle. -- DISTRESSED DAMSEL IN THE MIDWEST
    DEAR DAMSEL: Although you may "adore" this knight in shining armor, it is not possible to "force" oneself into loving someone else. It is important that you level with him. It is also important that you do so without being cruel.
    Because you are unsure that he's "the one" for you, you should tell him that at 14, and only a freshman in high school, you need time to grow and blossom before you will be ready to commit to a relationship that is "forever." Explain that you care about him and would like to be friends, but that you feel it's important that you both date other people.
    Do not make any of this his fault. And do not mention that your friends think you can do better. If you were both older, someone with his qualities might be just the ticket for you. If you must blame it on anything, make it a matter of bad timing because, in a sense, that's what it is. That's the downside of young love.

    DEAR ABBY: Please assist my wife and me with a question of usage. Is the man who married my wife's sister my brother-in-law or my sister-in-law's husband?
    Please help, as there is $20 and a homemade deep-dish pizza on the line. -- STICKLER IN TENNESSEE
    DEAR STICKLER: According to Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th edition), your wife's sister's husband is your brother-in-law.

Interested in viewing premium content?

A subscription is required before viewing this article and other premium content.

Already a registered member and have a subscription?

If you have already purchased a subscription, please log in to view the full article.

Are you registered, but do not have a subscription?

If you are a registed user and would like to purchase a subscription, log in to view a list of available subscriptions.

Interested in becoming a registered member and purchasing a subscription?

Join our community today by registering for a FREE account. Once you have registered for a FREE account, click SUBSCRIBE NOW to purchase access to premium content.

Membership Benefits

  • Instant access to creating Blogs, Photo Albums, and Event listings.
  • Email alerts with the latest news.
  • Access to commenting on articles.

Please wait ...