Letter or email opening and closing phrases

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by mmpnyc, Dec 29, 2004.

  1. mmpnyc New Member

    USA - English
    In English a letter to a friend usually begins with "Dear _____" and ends with "love", _________. How is this written in Italian? "Caro" seems to be the translation for both, but does that imply romantic love? I am corresponding with an Italian whom I know casually -- his English is better than my Italian -- but we are writing in both.

    Grazie mille tutti.
  2. Silvia B

    Silvia B Senior Member

    Italy - Italian
    In italian you usually begin a letter with "Caro/Cara" and it doesn't imply romantic love.
    When you end a letter you may use more than just one expression which could be:

    spero di sentirti presto! hope to hearing from you soon
    con affetto, (which is the translation of "love" but may be considered a bit ..mmm...romantic? or maybe it is just used with people we really love, like old friends)
    Un bacio / baci which is "kisses"

    I don't have many ideas today.. someone else will surely give you other suggests!

  3. Silvia

    Silvia Senior Member


    here I can only speak for myself, since I guess it's a little bit personal.

    I'm not calling you dear/dearest, since I barely know you :D

    Actually, I don't know you at all, so I don't want to sound like a hypocrite ;)

    Caro or carissimo (dearest) is for a male and cara or carissima (dearest) is for a female. Informally, you can also say:
    Hi Amanda,
    Ciao Amanda,

    or start with your friend's name:

    To close a letter/email you can use (depending on your kind of intimacy):
    A presto
    Con affetto
    Ci sentiamo
    Fatti sentire
    and lots more!
    (Italians like to be creative ;))
  4. muriel

    muriel Senior Member

    italia italiano
    Hello guys,

    I think that about the close Silviap has benn as exaustive as usually she is.
    If I may be so bold as to dare to add anything to her opinions, I would suggest an ironic (not mocking, just smart) form of addressing to someone by letter:

    Egregio ......

    Illustre ........

    ....... all the vocatives (it.: vocativi)

    That may be funny to begin a letter in a rather formal attitude... if you have no better idea....

    Bye all
  5. Silvia

    Silvia Senior Member

    muriel, that sounds fun :D

    Egregio, Illustre, Illustrissimo, Stimatissimo... (male)
    Gentilissima, Stimatissima... (female)

    but with a big big smile included :D
  6. DesertCat Senior Member

    inglese | English
    What would you typically use in Italian for formal correspondence?

    As an aside, it is generally considered antiquated and sometimes even offensive to use "Dear Sirs" in the US. The salutation should either be specific to a name of an individual or generic/non-gender specific.
  7. muriel

    muriel Senior Member

    italia italiano
    Egr. signor/signora ....... o Egr. dott./dott.ssa .....
    Cortese [idem]
    Gentile [idem]
    Spett. per ditta/azienda/cooperativa/associazione...

    Quindi tanti altri modi, penso che in Italia riceva cospicua considerazione l'uso appropriato dei vocativi (sig. - dott. (dr. se medico) - prof. - avv. - .... ).
  8. Gianni Member

    United States English
    Such as 'To Whom It May Concern'
  9. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    US, English
    I wouldn't use "To whom it may concern" anymore if I had anything to go on. Even a blind letter to a prospective employer for example, if you can't get an actual name (ideal, of course) could be addressed "Dear Human Resources Executive." The less remote and "form letter" your greeting can be, the better.
  10. Silvia

    Silvia Senior Member

    To Whom It May Concern is still used for circular letters:

    A tutti gli interessati

    or (if we're talking of customers)

    A tutti i Clienti
    Loro Sedi
  11. Necsus

    Necsus Senior Member

    Formello (Rome)
    Italian (Italy)
  12. accordion New Member

    Vicenza, Italy
    For Desert Cat,
    Can Dear Sirs really be even offensive? Would ''Gentlemen:'' any better as opening of a letter? Thks
  13. london calling Senior Member

    In the UK it wouldn't be considered offensive. We use Dear Sirs as the opening salutation of a very formal business letter when we address it to the company, not to a specific person (in which case we'd write Dear Mr./Mrs./Ms. XXX).
    Personally, I use "Gentlemen" in e-mails when I know who I'm writing to and I'm sure they're all men.:)
  14. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    US, English
    Yes, Desert Cat is correct with regard to today's accepted best practice in the US. It is passé at best and offensive at worst to presume gender when none is known in business correspondence.
  15. accordion New Member

    Vicenza, Italy
    I'm realizing how time goes by! When I was young the teacher said that in business correspondence British English uses ''Dear Sirs,'' as opening and American English ''Gentlemen:''( meaning in both cases Ladies and Gentlemen) as we currently use in Italian ''Egregi Signori'' meaning both genders. It seems that nowadays with the politically correct I was running high risks with those letter openings! Can anybody give me a hand for future safe business correspondence? Thanks a lot.

    Any other final hints about the correct use of commercial letter openings in the UK and in the USA?
    Thanks a lot!
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 26, 2010
  16. london calling Senior Member

    Ci sono un sacco di siti utili. :)Dai un'occhiata a questo, per esempio.
  17. accordion New Member

    Vicenza, Italy
    Grazie, London Calling, ma mi rimane sempre il dubbio, dopo quanto scritto da Desert Cat (negli USA puo' essere ritenuto persino offensivo ''Dear Sirs'') perche', qualche annetto fa, in America, l'insegnante diceva che il nostro ''Egregi Signori'' o il tedesco ''Sehr geehrte Herren'' o il francese ''Messieurs'' che, fino all'arrivo del politically correct, si intendeva riferito ad ambo i sessi, andava tradotto in British English come ''Dear Sirs'', e in American English come ''Gentlemen:'' (con i due punti) nelle lettere commerciali. Certo, il mondo cambia ma qual e' la parola definitiva in proposito ora nel 2010?? Grazie del consiglio e un cordiale saluto
  18. CristoferoJ Member

    English, England
    I have to confess that I am rather dismayed to learn that Political Correctness in the USA has reached such levels of idiocy that "Dear Sirs" is regarded as offensive. I would like to address this note to the entire business community (male and female) of North America.
    Dear Sirs, I gather that some of you may be offended by the word "sir" or "sirs" as a formal salutation, since, in your closed minds, it implies masculine gender.
    "Sirs" is a shortening of the old English form "Sires", which has been in use as a polite form of address since the 15th century. It is not gender specific since it derives from the Latin 'seior' meaning "older, elder" . In any case, in modern English "he embraces she". Please stop trying to ruin our language with PC nonsense. Yours sincerely, an Englishman.
  19. Blackman

    Blackman Senior Member

    Island of Sardinia, Italy
    This is exactly what I think, English is based on Tradition. An Italian Englishman.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2010
  20. accordion New Member

    Vicenza, Italy
    Thank you very much, CristoferoJ, of your explanation. I share your opinion regarding the stupidity of PC! So in Italy we should not say that Berlusconi is a short man. No, he is.... lacking in vertical extention!!!!
    Best regards.
  21. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    US, English
    I agree, CristoferoJ, but then I feel no need to make the distinction so popular (in the US) today for words such as chairman, chairwoman and chairperson, or The Dawn of Man vs. The Dawn of Humankind. However, not knowing the recipient in cases like a business proposition or a request for a job interview, I have to advise on the side of caution and therefore maximum inclusion.
  22. sofi1991

    sofi1991 Member

    Lucca, Tuscany
    Per scrivere ai miei professori universitari uso sempre la formula Gent./Gent.mo/Gent.ma.
    A volte uso anche la lettera maiuscola con il pronome personale con cui mi rivolgo al destinatario:
    mi rivolgo a Lei.....vorrei chiederLe se...
    Ma è molto formale.
    Per concludere:
    Aspettando una Sua risposta, Le porgo cordiali saluti/La saluto cordialmente/cordiali saluti. Oppure, semplicemente:

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