Monday, January 24, 2011

Salutation/Greeting in German

Herr {m} /Hr./ - Mister; Mr [Br.]; Mr. [Am.]; MR
Herren {pl} - Messieurs; Messrs; Messrs.
Herr Schneider - Mister Schneider
Herrn Meier (in Adresse) - Mr / Mr. Meier
alter Herr - old man

Darf ich Ihnen Herrn Brown vorstellen? May I introduce Mr. Brown to you?
Sehr geehrter Herr ... Dear Mr [Br.] / Mr. [Am.] ...


Herrn - Frau - Fräulein - Mr - Mrs/Ms - Miss
These titles are usually not abbreviated in German. German uses Frau for both Mrs and Ms (any woman 18 or older).
Note the 'n' ending on Herrn, reflecting the understood phrase: an Herrn XYZ (to Mr. XYZ)

German has two types of general salutations that are mutually distinguishable from one another - a formal and an informal form.
The formal form usually begins with Sehr geehrte(r) (lit. very honored) and the formal social title (and, if necessary, professional title) of the recipient together with surname is always used (e.g. Sehr geehrter Herr Schmidt, Sehr geehrte Frau Meier). Sehr geehrte(r) is never used with forenames alone, although, rare as it is, it is possible to include the full name (e.g. Sehr geehrter Herr Johann Schmidt). With an unknown recipient, Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren is used with no variation on this.

Informal salutations in German tend to begin with Liebe(r), "dear", (e.g. Lieber Paul, Liebe Annette)
Specific salutations appear in German very similar to the way they do in English, with the exception that in the address block of a letter German must include all or multiple salutations that can be abbreviated Herr Dr. Schmidt, or Herr Prof. Dr. Lamotke. While in the opening of a letter the direct salutation is reduced to only the most important title and not abbreviated Sehr geehrter Herr Doktor Schmidt, or Sehr geehrter Herr Professor Lamotke. The same applies to female variants Frau Prof. Dr. Lamotke, and Sehr geehrte Frau Professor Lamotke.


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