to whom it may concern

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Canarina, Sep 26, 2008.

  1. Canarina New Member

    Spanish
    Hi,

    1. To whom it may concern
    2. To whom it may be concerned

    Which is the most correct of the two?

    Thanx,
    Canarina
     
  2. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    Hi,

    I've always seen #1 (with a comma at the end) in formal documents. I expect it is correct.

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2008
  3. I concur it's the first one. :)
     
  4. kitenok Senior Member

    I agree that only #1 sounds natural.

    It's a fairly minor point, Tom, but I'm not sure that I would ever put a full stop after any salutation in a letter. My own preference is for a comma, but I see the colon more and more frequently.
     
  5. Colon? That's a new one for me. I either put a comma or simply nothing.
     
  6. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    "To whom it may concern" is a fixed expression, so it is unwise to change it. In any case "to whom it may be concerned" isn't right. "It" here refers to the letter or announcement itself, so "it (the letter) concerns" or "may concern" someone (unidentified). It cannot "be concerned" to someone. Concern here means "be relevant to; affect or involve" [OED]. However you might say that the correspondence is directed to the "person concerned" with matters to which the letter relates. That is a somewhat different statement to this, however.

    As to punctuation, bear in mind that punctuation in correspondence varies from country to country, and there are noteworthy differences between, say, British and US usage. Styles also vary within regions. In my experience and view the phrase does not require any punctuation, but if I were to use any I think a colon is appropriate, but not a full stop.

    There are threads on this specific topic of correspondence punctuation, so it would be better to refer to those, if you wish to discuss this topic in general.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2008
  7. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    Yes, you're right, thanks for pointing this out, I meant a comma, I don't know why I wrote a full stop...:eek: Forgive me my carelessness. I'll edit my post and correct it.

    Tom
     
  8. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    New York
    USA - English
    In AE, a colon is used after a saluation in a business leter, while a comma would be used in a social letter. For example

    Dear Mr. Blank:
    Our company has received the latest order of widgets...

    but
    Dear Aunt Lulu,
    We are having a wonderful time on our trip to Manitoba...

    I concur that the only correct option is "To whom it may concern", while the other choice offered is simply wrong.
     
  9. ortak

    ortak Senior Member

    Turkey
    Turkish
    Hi friends,
    I also wonder that we can translate 'To whom it may concern' into 'whoever it concerns' ? Is it correct in meaning?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  10. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    New York
    USA - English
    It would not be the customary form. Why do you want to eliminate the "to"?
     
  11. ortak

    ortak Senior Member

    Turkey
    Turkish
    Hmm, okey, 'to whoever it concerns' would be good, I think :)
     
  12. vamink Senior Member

    English-England

    "To whom it may concern" - formal letter to unkown person (buisness/government etc. to a house)

    This is the custom construction, and "whoever" isn't formal enough to be used making it just sound strange in a letter.
     
  13. ortak

    ortak Senior Member

    Turkey
    Turkish
    Yes, thanks a lot, but actually I wondered its meaning out of a letter concept.

    Yes, whom is more formal, but I think both have same meaning and I think we may also say 'To whomever it concerns'. This is more formal.

    All these 3 sentences has same meaning :)
    'To whoever it concerns'
    'To whom it may concern'
    'To whomever it may concern/ it concerns'
     
  14. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    New York
    USA - English
    Ortak, you can say all sorts of things, including "Dear person whose name I don't know", and "Hello, Stranger!" However, if you wrote either of those, your letter would be thought very strange, and would give a poor impression of you to the reader. In the same way, you can write "whomever" instead of "whom", but it would not be wise to do so. It would make your letter pointlessly odd, and would strongly suggest that you were not familiar with standard English as used in businesses.
     
  15. ortak

    ortak Senior Member

    Turkey
    Turkish
    Okey, GreenWhiteBlue. Thanks for your explanation. Actually, I wanted to learn whether they are equal in meaning or not, but, of course, it is very important how the expressions sound.

    I guess none of these expressions is used in daily conversations (because they sound too formal and strange), but just in business letters or more formal communication. 'To whom it may concern' may more often be used rather than others, as I understood in this thread.

    Thanks again :)
     

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