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"To Whom It May Concern" - What does it mean, when is it used?

What is the purpose of this phrase, or should I use "Dear Sir/Madam"?

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Comments  (Page 3) 

I disagree that this is appropriate, for the reasons I gave earlier. Emotion: smile

There's nothing wrong with beginning the kind of letter you describe simply by saying 'Dear Sir', or 'Dear Sir or Madam' if you prefer.

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A matter of opinion, I suppose. I still don't like it, and wouldn't use it - just saying I have seen it used in that manner.
"to whom this may concern" is not a typical greeting line. "to whom it may concern" is what is used in this case.
When using "to whom it may concern" in writing a letter are the first letters all capitalized?
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I wouldn't.

However, I don't remember the last time in my life that I used this phrase in a letter, and I wouldn't be surprised if I never use it on any future occasion. In other words, I never use it, and I strongly suspect that it is not a suitable phrase for you to consider using.Emotion: smile

I hope you take the time to read the earlier posts in this thread, where this is discussed in more detail.

Best wishes, Clive
You clearly don't read or write many letters. People in North America and the UK use 'Yours faithfully' when ending a letter that has been started with 'Dear Sir/Madame' - that's the rule!
 BarbaraPA's reply was promoted to an answer.
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