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cathryn amdahl

I truly loved Tankylosaur's comment:

"Why not try the old Scottish phrase, 'Dear Sir or Madman'?"

A bit of levity goes a long way in discussions of policing sexism in language. This is not to say that sexism in language is OK. Eliminating sexism in any way we can is good. But we can not just tell people not to be sexist (or racist). We have to show them and make sure our institutions are free of sexism. Language, alas, is not an institution.

breanna mcghee

I think "To Whom It May Concern" or "Dear (Insert position of whom you sending a letter to)" can also be appropriate. They are both professional and don't assume the gender of the reader. This only shows whomever you are sending a letter to that you are professional and that you are considerate of their preferences.

Carmen A.

In my opinion, the person sending the letter should research who they are sending it to. If the gender is unknown, people should address it with a gender neutral noun. We learn in school to write letters and addressing them with Dear Mr.,Ms., or Mrs. depending on your audience. Therefore, "sir" should not be used in all cases.If you know the editor is male, then by all means, use "sir". The issue should not be controversial if writers consider their audience or gender of the person they are sending the letter to.

Stephanie W.

My view is that it's easier to just use a gender neutral form of address, such as "To whom it may concern", in the first place, just to make things easier. There's much less of a risk of offending someone, and you don't need to research who you're sending it to. It's still respectful, but its much simpler.

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