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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 8) 
Hi,

May I ask if you read through this thread before you made this misleading post? Emotion: crying

Clive
dear
i want to write the letter
towhom it may concern,for showing a experience

regards
zafar
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Since you don't actualy know who the person, it means to who it may apply to. For instance, you may be writing to a business or company about how much you like their product. You do not know if the boss or the secretary or some random worker is going to read it, so you need to address it to the person in charge of letters or something and that is the person you are concerning.
Here is a rule of thumb:

If you are going to put the letter in an envelope, address the envelope, put a stamp on it and post it, then do not start the letter "To whom it may concern."
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ForbesHere is a rule of thumb:If you are going to put the letter in an envelope, address the envelope, put a stamp on it and post it, then do not start the letter "To whom it may concern."
That's a good rule!
It doesnt matter if you are writting a letter or not. Yes, this dependant clause "To whom it may conern" is used in letters, but thats not why WHOM is used. Whom is always used in the OBJECT case. For example: "To whom it may concern" The subject is IT. The verb/s is MAY CONCERN. There's two ways to look at this question. (1.) Since To WHOM is a prepositional phrase, and inside prep phrases there cant be subjects or direct objects, or indirect objects. But, in prep phrases, there can be the object of the preposition, which in this case, would be Whom. (2.) Ask yourself this: It may concern what? The answer would be It concerns Whom. Whom is your Object.
Hi I'm just passing through but I noticed this thread with interest.

The form: 'To whom it may concern' is used on letters of introduction, personal references and legal advices. To send a letter addressed 'To whom it may concern' to an individual (unless it was some legal notice) would be rude, 'Dear Sir or Madam' is appropriate in those circumstances.

For example, every year in order to receive a travel benefit, my daughter has to get a letter from school to confirm that she is studying there for that academic year. 'Dear Sir or Madam' could imply that a specific person is assigned to deal with the specific query whereas 'To Whom it may Concern' is a general announcement from one bureaucracy to another that confirms a detail about that person.

"To whom it may concern, Jane Doe is enrolled at xxx school for the academic year 2010-2011, yours sincerely, John Smith (Headmaster)..." and this would normally be on headed notepaper.

However (for example) if I was asked to write a letter to the accounts department confirming that my daughter had paid her travel dues, "Dear Sir or Madam, I can confirm that a cheque £512 for Jane Doe for her spring term travel card was sent on 11 Feb 2011, yours sincerely..." is more appropriate.

Other examples would be a landlord providing evidence that a person was a tenant at a particular property over a specific period of time.

Mike
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To whom it may concern ends with what?
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