It is very common in my country for people to start their emails with the salutation "Dear Concern". Should not it be "Dear Concerned" ?

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    It sounds like a confused recollection of having seen To whom it may concern used as a salutation in business letters when the recipient is unknown. Commented Feb 24, 2022 at 16:53

3 Answers 3


It is uncommon for anybody in my country to begin emails with "Dear anything", but "Dear concern" or "Dear concerned" would be extremely odd.

I agree that "Dear concern" makes no sense at all - it appears to be addressed to a concern (i.e. a worry).

But the rules of etiquette often make no sense: traditionally business letters started "Dear sir", but if you met somebody for the first time and called them "dear" to their face, they'd probably try to escape from your company as soon as possible.

If the custom has arisen in your country of starting an email with "Dear concern", then that is the custom, irrespective of whether it makes sense or not.

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    There is a popular tradition of some letter writers signing themselves with anonymous adjectives like "Concerned" or "Angry" or the cliched "Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells". It happens a lot in Letters to the Editor, or Agony Aunt letters. In those cases it's normal to respond with "Dear Concerned". But it's a very specialized usage. Commented Feb 24, 2022 at 17:15
  • @DJClayworth: indeed. But while I have never heard of the usage the OP refers to, I suspect that it is derived from To whom it may concern, and so is "concerned" in the sense of "have an interest in" rather than "be worried about". Actually, now think of it, that phrase may be precisely why people are saying "dear concern".
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Feb 24, 2022 at 17:27
  • I'm sure you are right. I just wanted to add a possible alternative situation. Commented Feb 24, 2022 at 17:28
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    It is not odd; it's downright wrong. Why not just say it?
    – Lambie
    Commented Feb 24, 2022 at 18:58
  • @Lambie: because I don't know what the customs are in Pakistan, and I therefore do not presume to assert that something is "wrong" there.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Feb 24, 2022 at 19:23

It is not common to start emails or letters with "Dear concern". If this is a common dialect variant in your part of the world, then you can follow local practice.

If you are asking about what is "correct" in the English in use in the UK, America or Australia, then you should not start "Dear concern".

There is a formal letter opening, when writing a letter to an unknown person. You may start "To whom it may concern," (No "Dear") This is a rare situation.

In emails, it is usually acceptable to start without a salutation.


"Dear Concern" and "Dear Concerned" are both far from idiomatic. I believe the phrase you are looking for is "To whom in may concern" which is a common email salutation when sending an email (but especially when writing a letter) to someone of whom you do know know the name.

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