ATT, ATTN, FAO ... - abbreviations for 'attention' in correspondence

Discussion in 'English Only' started by andersxman, Apr 5, 2006.

  1. andersxman Senior Member

    When writing english business letters, which is the corrct abbreviation of "attention". I reckon it must be either "att" or "atn". I've always used "att", but fear that it might be a calque introduced from danish.

    Thank you.
  2. Kelly B

    Kelly B Senior Member

    USA English
    You're close: Attn. In a business letter, though, you're usually better off avoiding abbreviations, and some style guides recommend leaving 'attention' out entirely.
  3. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Where were you going to put it?
    We would sometimes be asked specifically to mark something for the attention of XXXXX, so that it escapes from the normal jumble of mail-sorting and gets to the recipient directly.

    Such items are always addressed FAO Mr Brown, much to my amusement.
  4. raftor New Member

    India - English
    Hello Everyone,

    Can someone please tell me what the acronym Att: stands for when it is used in emails and is immediately followed by the recipient's name.


    Att: John Phillips

    Thanks in advance
  5. LilianaB Banned

    US New York
    It means attention.
  6. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    Att: is not an acronym, it's an abbreviation.

    It does indeed mean "Attention:" (The British are likely to say "FTAO" - For the attention of"
  7. Hau Ruck

    Hau Ruck Senior Member

    United States - Midwest
    English - U.S.
    Usually it's written as "attn./Attn."
  8. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    British English
    Not this Brit. I might use Attn:
  9. Egmont Senior Member

    Massachusetts, U.S.
    English - U.S.
    "Attn" (or one of the other versions) is used when you send mail to a company, but you think a specific person is the right person to read it. This form of addressing makes it clear that it is business mail, not personal mail. If that person is not available - perhaps he has left the company, perhaps she just began a two-month trek through Nepal - another person can open the letter without fear of reading anything private.
  10. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    Me neither ~ I'd write FAO:)
  11. pwmeek

    pwmeek Senior Member

    SE Michigan, USA
    English - American
    In AE it is properly written on envelopes as the first line of the address block. (formerly seen several lines below the return address, left-aligned with it)

    It is normally written with a colon: Attn: John Smith

    In a business letter itself, it would appear thus:

    <sender's address block>


    <recipient's address block>

    Attention: (or Attn: ) John Smith (or Attention:/Attn: Sales department)

    Dear Mr. Smith:

    <body of letter>
  12. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    British English
    I'd expect it on the second line like this:

    Wordgames Ltd
    (Attn: Mr F Smith)
    <rest of the address>
  13. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    American English
    I think in the US, we would never do that. ;) I subscribe to the pwmeek style.
  14. pwmeek

    pwmeek Senior Member

    SE Michigan, USA
    English - American
    Not my style. I have (up until yesterday) put it on the second line as Andygc showed. It was research for this thread that taught me better. I had to completely rewrite my first draft of the post.

    As the US Postal Service says: from top to the bottom you go from the smallest to the largest. So, the "Attn:" line goes at the top.

    Side note: It is important for the City State Zip line to be the bottom-most, and for it to be formatted "City, ST 12345-6789" and have nothing below it, as this is what the automatic scanners are looking for. If a person has to enter the Zip Code by hand (or worse, enter the city and state by hand to look up the Zip Code) it can add a day or two to delivery time. The PO would prefer ALL CAPS (whether typed or hand-written), but realizes that there would be a lot of resistance to this, as people much prefer the usual combination of upper and lower-case letters.
  15. UU1 New Member

    Russian -Canada

    In another forum, I saw suggestion that will be properly use ATT. for attachment and ATTS. for Attachments . After Reading all previous post and because I don't want to mix attention and attachment, I will probably stick to:
    Attn. /attn. or Attention: for attention ( Canada, US) ,
    FTAO or Attn: for UK
    ATT. attachment Atts. attachments ,
    Enc . Enclosures “
    Attachment: [Monthly Market Research],” “Enclosures: (10),” “Atts.: (5 pages)” or “Encl: For your eyes only."

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