The Delavigne Corporation

Demand for payment to Cosmex Inc.

1. The "demand for payment"-letter is addressed to Cosmex, a Company known to the Delavigne Corp. That is why I would not write "To whom it may concern", as the writer - Philip Cheeter - knows pretty well who is the addressee. I would write: "Dear Sirs" instead. "To whom it may concern" is in my opinion only to be used if a wider public is the addressee or if the addressee is not known.
2. In the same story the question was how to conclude the letter. Gymglish recommendation: "I hope we can resolve this issue in a civilized manner". NO ! This wording contains a threat, at least under Swiss and German law. Because it implies that if it can't be resolved in a civilized manner, the Delavigne Corp. might apply uncivilized methods. If "with friendly recommendations" is inappropriate, why not omit any such wording and stick to the "Yours faithfully" ?


  • Hi Sigi,
    You seem to know Cosmex Inc better than Philippe Cheeter then.  As for me I don't remember the details of that lesson, could it be that Philippe doesn't  know who in the company is liable to respond to his payment claim ?
    For your second point, "I hope we can resolve the issue in a civilized manner " is a bit cowboy manners I agree, but the code of good manners is part of culture, and no doubt there is all of an ocean between Switzerland and the US.  And besides, this scene involves Ph. Cheeter, who isn't the most refined gentleman ever... 
    Let's see what a native English will say about that.
    Have a nice weekend.
  • Hi Sigi,

    Sorry for the belated reply!

    1. Philip knows what company he is writing to, but not the name or gender of the person concerned. Therefore, "Dear Sirs" (which presumes that men are concerned) is inappropriate, and "To whom it may concern" is the best choice. The important distinction is whether the name and gender of the relevant PERSON are known.

    2. I don't think the expression "I hope we can resolve this issue in a civilized manner" carries the same implications in English. It is still polite, although we know from the letter that Delavigne will take the company to court if they do not comply, so implications of less "civilized" alternative actions are relevant anyway!

    I hope this helps.

Please sign in to leave a comment.