Writing Style – Inside Addresses

Kirk’s question: “I am drafting a thank-you letter to two men. In the address portion of the letter, do I write Mr. X and Mr. Y or do I write Messrs. X and Y? And similarly, if the letter was addressed to two women is it correct to use Mmes.?”

BizWritingTip response: Here is another area where styles have changed. Today, if a letter is addressed to two or more people at different addresses, the individual address blocks may be placed under each other with 1 blank line between. Alternatively, you can place the address blocks side by side.

Example (correct)

Mr. Robert Smith                  Mr. George Brown
Finance Manager                 Vice President of Sales
Starbrite Industries Inc.      Glorious Enterprises
234 Street Name                     567 Street Name
City Province Postal Code    City Province Postal Code

If the letter is addressed to two or more people at the same address, list each name on a separate line. There is no need to include their positions unless the titles are very short and can be placed on the same line as the name. Also, leave out the department name unless both people are in the same department.

Mr. Robert Smith
Ms. Georgia Brown
Starbrite Industries Inc.
234 Street Name
City Province Postal Code

Use separate envelopes and give the full address for each individual; omit all reference to other names.

As for the salutation line — if the letter is addressed to two or more men, you have three options:
Dear Mr. Smith and Mr. Brown:
Dear Messrs. Smith and Brown: (formal)
Dear Robert Smith and George Brown:

If the letter is addressed to two or more women, you have four options:
Dear Mrs. Smith and Ms. Brown:
Dear Mesdames Smith and Brown: (highly formal)
Dear Mses. Smith and Brown: (formal)
Dear Claudia Smith and Georgia Brown:

If the letter is addressed to a man and a woman, it is quite simple:
Dear Ms. Smith and Mr. Brown:
Dear Claudia Smith and George Brown:

Note: In selecting Miss, Mrs. or Ms., always use the woman’s preference. If you do not know the preference, use the title Ms. (Ms. merely indicates a female. It does not indicate marital status.)

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