Discussion in 'English Only' started by miyax, Aug 26, 2006.

  1. miyax Member

    spanish, Spain
    this is perhaps a naive question, what does the sign "c/o" mean when written before a name or address on an envelope? what other "versions" of it are there? (I´ve seen them but I can´t remember right now) thanks!
  2. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    It means "in care of." You send something to so-and-so in care of the person who lives at the address.
  3. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    You were asking about variations... sometimes people write or type a percent sign ("%") rather than "c/o". It's not actually correct, but it gets the job done. :)
  4. miyax Member

    spanish, Spain
    I see!! thanks. What about c/- (just came to my mind, but cannot tell if it is actually used at all). Any idea?
  5. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    I've never seen that, but that doesn't mean it hasn't been used. Regarding "%", I wouldn't recommend that you use it. I just thought you might have seen it. It is written out completely sometimes:

    John Q. Thompson
    In Care Of: Hopeless Enterprises
    1234 Dead-end Street
    Lost Wages, NV

  6. miyax Member

    spanish, Spain
    OH thanks JamesM, I won´t use the %... never to that address anyway!:p . By the way, is it really important the use of c/o, I mean, doesn´t the letter get delivered if the name does not correspond with the address displayed, say, on the letterbox? In Spain at least, postmen couldn´t care less...:p .
    thanks for the quick reply!
  7. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    I have actually had mail held by the U.S. Post Office when it was sent to someone at my house whose name was not recognized as living at my house. With "c/o", however, they will deliver it if they recognize that name. It's annoying and picky of them to withhold mail because the name was not recognized, I know, but I can vouch that it does happen.
  8. papillon Senior Member

    Barcelona, Spain
    Russian (Ukraine)
    Probably the most common usage of c/o is when sending mail to a company/organization. I suppose it's meant to indicate that the one in whose care you're sending the letter is not the principal person there, but is one of many who work there.
  9. Kenneth Garland Senior Member

    Portishead, UK
    UK, English
    I've seen 'c/-' used for 'c/o'. But I'm pretty sure it was when I lived in Australia, so perhaps it's an Aussie usage.
  10. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I have never seen c/o meaning company/organisation?

    The c/o was much more useful in the days when a postman walked the same walk for years. He didn't need to read the address - all letters for Panjandrum went into my letter box. All letters addressed to anyone c/o Panjandrum went in there too.
  11. ulrika

    ulrika Senior Member

    English/Spanish (I don't know where I'm from anymore)
    In Spanish, c/ means "calle" (Street) in that same context. Maybe that explains the usage of only "c/".

    In English, it is "in care of", as it was mentioned.
  12. susanb

    susanb Senior Member


    In defence of Spanish postmen/women I'd like to say that I once got a letter from England which only had my name, surname, town code number and town- not even the country. The letter arrived to my uncle's-god knows how!!
  13. miyax Member

    spanish, Spain
    Yeah Kenneth, you hit the nail on the head, I remember now! It was an Aussie friend that wrote it in her letter to me!
  14. roxcyn

    roxcyn Senior Member

    American English [AmE]
    C/o can mean "class of". Of course that has nothing to do with letters, but if you see a year book that says c/o 1995 it means "class of 1995"
  15. papillon Senior Member

    Barcelona, Spain
    Russian (Ukraine)
    This is a crazy coincidence, I didn't even realize that abbreviating company/organization would result, once again c/o.:confused: Of course, c/o is in care of, I just meant that I see it a lot in the mail that comes to the Universities where a lot of people may be working in the same lab/office/department.

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