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I have often seen emails and letters that contain the phrases:

For Your Kind Attention, Dr. Maulik:
Kind Attention, Dr. Maulik:

And in other emails/letters I don't find it. To be frank, though as it includes the word kind, it looks like a bit of oxymoronic usage with the word attention. In other words, a bit impolite! It seems you are ordering someone though politely.

In what circumstances do we use this phrase? Is it impolite? If yes, what are the other alternatives to this that serve the exact purpose?

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  • Why do you think that it's an oxymoron?
    – Helix Quar
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 2:06
  • It seems to me joining two words - kindly and attention. Something like pretty ugly. Kindly refers to kindness but attention takes away that politeness - I already said, to me, it looks so
    – Maulik V
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 2:19
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    @MaulikV An oxymoron involves contradictory elements. I see nothing contradictory (ie not kind) about the word attention. It seems neutral to me. Kind brutality would be an oxymoron.
    – toandfro
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 3:41
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    It seems your problem stems from the words attention. Although that can be an order (hey! pay attention!), it usually is very neutral: (May I bring to your attention...). You could read consideration in that sentence - would it still feel "wrong" to you?
    – oerkelens
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 8:45
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    I can clearly see the conflict you mention. But I just don't read it that way. Just like "Dear Sir" doesn't really means they hold me "dear" in their hearts. To me (AmE, US, 49yr), For your kind attention seems civil and polite. But I'm familiar with the style. My first job was working for my grandfather, a business attorney, and I saw letters like this all the time, both to him and from him, for all kinds of requests, many of which were just requests for copies or signatures or something. So I learned the protocol-nature of the meaning of this phrase. Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 14:19

2 Answers 2

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This is a derivative (and I think a misunderstanding) of the stock 18th- and 19th-century formal closing: Thank you for your kind attention (i.e., for your kindness in attending to this letter and the matters it addresses).

It is not to the best of my knowledge used in US correspondence, even very stiff commercial correspondence.

It is not rude, but I do not see that it serves any useful purpose. Presumably the recipients of your communications understand that you expect they will attend to it, and that you hope that they will do so kindly. This sort of “pray forgive my intruding my trivial concerns upon your valuable time” has long since passed its vogue; at least in the US, today’s correspondents would rather you came to the point without affecting a probably insincere and certainly annoying humility.

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  • Not used in any US correspondence? I din' know about it. But I edited my post...don't you think it looks ordering someone though politely!
    – Maulik V
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 4:10
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This phrase is not used in modern American English whatsoever. It immediately conjures up foreigner spam email scammers. You can just end the email with "Thank you" or "Thank you for your attention" but the last one sounds rather formal.

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