Similar to a handwritten signature, a
describes the work as readily
identifying its creator.
The traditional function of a signature is evidential: it is to give evidence of:
The provenance of the document (identity)
The intention (will) of an individual with regard to that document
For example, the role of a signature in many consumer contracts is not solely to provide
evidence of the identity of the contracting party, but rather to additionally provide
evidence of deliberation and informed consent. This is why the signature often appears
at the bottom or end of a document.
is a greeting, in particular a formal greeting used in a letter. Salutations
usually take the form "Dear [recipient's given name]". For each style of
there is an accompanying style of valediction.
is commonly used in English to refer to a complimentary
closing - a courteous, formulaic phrase preceding the writer's signature that
expresses the writer's good will toward the recipient.
of "Dear" takes precedence in both British and American English,
usually in both formal and informal correspondence, for example "Dear Mr. Smith" or
"Dear John". Whereas a comma follows the salutation in British English, a colon is
used in formal correspondence in American English.
If the name of the intended recipient is unknown, "Dear Sir/Madam", "Dear
Madam/Sir", "Dear Sir or Madam", "Dear Madam or Sir" or "Dear Sirs" is often used,
though the latter is archaic. Forms of address are typically followed by a period (e.g.
Mrs.) and the person's family name (e.g Mrs. Smith, Mr. Smith, Ms. Smith, Miss
Smith). Professional titles such as "Professor" or "Doctor" are often preferred over
social titles. Dignitaries are addressed by their titles, e.g. "Dear Lord Mayor". Judges
are often addressed as "Honorable". "Miss" is generally reserved for unmarried
women. "Ms." is for cases in which the marital status is either unknown to the writer
or is irrelevant. For example, if you are writing a business letter to submit a bid to a
female purchasing agent, "Ms." is entirely appropriate. However, if you are sending
out a dinner invitation, "Ms." is probably inappropriate, unless you happen to know
that is the recipient's preferred method of address. "Mrs." is reserved for married
women, and usually only those who have taken their husbands last name. In older
conventions, "Miss" is always for unmarried women and "Mrs." is for married women.
"Ms.", in such cases, is non used.