10 Gender-Neutral Alternatives to “Sir” or “Madam”

“Sir” and “madam” are usually great ways to formally address people. However, what happens if you do not know the gender of the person receiving your formal message? That’s where gender-neutral alternatives are better suited, and this article will explore some of the best ones.

Which Gender-Neutral Alternatives Can I Use Instead Of “Sir” Or “Madam”?

There are many different alternatives we can use for this very problem. This article will highlight the following:

  • Friend
  • Name
  • Title
  • Folks
  • Hey there
  • Whom it may concern
  • Comrade
  • Patron
  • Colleague
  • Mx.
Gender-Neutral Alternatives to Sir Or Madam

The preferred version is “friend” or using someone’s name. These are the most suitable ways not to have to worry about using the wrong gender for whoever you are writing to. You will never insult anyone if you write in this way.


“Friend” is a great gender-neutral option we have in many cases. It works well because it shows that we value someone enough to call them a “friend.” It’s great for both professional and private emails, which is why we recommend it in many cases.

Here are some great ways you can make it work:

  • Dear friend,
  • I was hoping that I’d hear back from you sooner.
  • Thank you for your message,
  • Jonathan
  • Dear friend,
  • I really appreciate the words you delivered in your speech today.
  • All the best,
  • Mr. Horason


“Name” is one of the most effective ways to remain gender-neutral. If you know the name of the person you’re sending a message to, there is no reason why you shouldn’t use it. It helps to stay both personal and professional, which is ideal in many cases.

If you know the name of someone and avoid using it, it can seem a bit robotic and strange. There’s no point in using someone’s title if you can simply use a name. It’s much less offensive, and there’s no way you can get it wrong.

Here are a few examples:

  • Dear Mary,
  • I like what you did with this project, and I’m keen to see more of your work.
  • Thank you,
  • George
  • Dear Frieda,
  • I appreciate all your hard work.
  • Kind regards,
  • Martin


“Title” is something we can use when we already know the title of the person we are speaking to. This could be something like “Dr.” or “boss.” We are mostly looking at gender-neutral titles in this way, so we’ll stick to those ones.

When we say gender-neutral titles, we mean to avoid using “Mr.” or “Mrs.” Unless you’re absolutely certain that the recipient identifies as one of those titles, it’s best not to insult them should you get it wrong.

Instead, you might benefit from trying a gender-neutral title like the following:

  • Dr.
  • Boss
  • Senior
  • Assistant
  • Ind
  • Pr

If you know that someone has one of these titles, you can use it.

Incidentally, “Ind” means “individual,” and “Pr” means “person.” Everyone can be identified by these titles without any credentials needed.

Check out these examples for more:

  • Dear Pr,
  • I appreciate what you did for me the other day.
  • Kind regards,
  • Mr. Walking


“Folks” is a good choice to use when you’re addressing multiple people. This works well because it’s a gender-neutral term that can include a group of mixed genders rather than singling out only men and women.

It’s important not to assume that your audience is made up of only men and women these days. It’s common for some people to identify as non-binary, which means they do not identify as either of the two genders and are their own gender.

Here are a few ways we can get it to work:

  • Hey folks,
  • I’m glad you could write to me about this, and I’m eager to talk more about the topic.
  • Thank you for the email,
  • Gary
  • Hi folks,
  • I appreciate the lengths you have gone to in order to get this to me.
  • Kind regards,
  • Fred Watson

Hey There

“Hey there” is a more informal option. However, it’s still a great way to address someone without using gender pronouns in an email. You can use “there” to identify them rather than worrying about any “sirs” or “madams” that might cause insult.

As we said, though, this phrase is strictly for more informal uses. If you know your boss or colleague well, “hey there” might work well in the workplace. However, if you’re unsure of it, you should avoid it in most formal circumstances.

Here are a few email examples of how it can look:

  • Hey there,
  • I’m glad you got in contact with me about this issue, as I’m working hard to resolve it ASAP.
  • Kind regards,
  • Mrs. Wilson
  • Hey there,
  • Thank you for the feedback about our product.
  • Best wishes your way,
  • The Sand Company

Whom It May Concern

“Whom it may concern” is a classic way of addressing someone without using their exact title or gender-based pronouns. We can use this to great success when we aren’t sure who the recipient of the email might be.

While it started to lose popularity in recent times over the standard “sir” or “madam,” it’s coming back into action now.

Many people value its use because it takes away from gender-based pronouns. It’s a gender-neutral phrase that helps you to stay as inclusive as possible, and we don’t single out men or women for anyone who identifies as non-binary.

These examples should help you to work it:

  • To whom it may concern,
  • I thank you for the letter you sent me in the mail earlier this week.
  • Kind regards,
  • Tommy Tomkins
  • To whom it may concern,
  • I have a few things that I would like to clear up with you if you’re willing to read this email.
  • Thank you for your time,
  • Josephine Grift


“Comrade” is a good way of addressing your peers without being upfront about their gender. Whether you might not know how they identify or you’re just trying to be respectful, this word works well in many cases.

However, because of the deep-rooted connections to communist countries, “comrade” isn’t always the best choice. If you can ignore that fact, it works well in many cases.

You should be careful using it toward people you’re not familiar with. They might think that you sympathize with certain communist countries and beliefs, which isn’t ideal for giving out as a first impression.

Still, here are some examples to help you work it out:

  • Dear Comrade Louisa,
  • I appreciate you telling me all of this.
  • Kind regards,
  • Mr. Jettson
  • Dear Comrades,
  • I am happy to hear that you are all keen to start working closely with us again.
  • All the best,
  • Mrs. Walters


“Patron” is a strange one, and it’s not entirely common. However, it’s still a suitable way to address an email to someone to whom you might not want to assume the gender. It’s a good way of staying as professional and inclusive as possible.

These examples should help you to understand more about it:

  • Dear patron,
  • Thank you for taking the time to write back to me. I’m glad you feel the way you do.
  • Kind regards,
  • John
  • Dear Patron Lewis,
  • Thank you for the information. I will action it accordingly.
  • All the best,
  • Mrs. Marx


“Colleague” is a simple way to address anybody without assuming genders. It’s most effective when you’re writing to a colleague, which means you are emailing someone you work with. It sounds very professional to use this one, which is why it works well.

However, some people might think you’re taking away from the personal touch of the email by using “colleague” over other options. Most people would rather see their name or title start the email, but it’s up to you which is better.

Here are a few email examples to help you with it:

  • Hello colleague,
  • I’m pleased that you decided to take the time to get back to me about this.
  • Kind regards,
  • John Haggerty
  • Dear colleague,
  • I appreciate you bringing this to my attention.
  • See you soon,
  • Mr. Paulson


“Mx.” is the last one we want to go through. It’s not very common, but it’s growing in popularity in recent times. Many non-binary people (who do not identify as either male or female) will sign their emails with this “Mx.” prefix for their name.

The idea is to treat it the same as any other title like “Mr.” or “Mrs.” However, “Mx.” stands for “mix,” which shows that there is a mix of genders (or that neither gender is appropriate for the person writing the email).

If you see someone sign their email with this, it’s appropriate to use that same title to address them.

Here are some examples of how it might work in an email:

  • Dear Mx. Tanner,
  • I’m happy to hear from you again.
  • Kind regards,
  • Mr. Lewis
  • Dear Mr. and Mrs. Chalmers,
  • Thank you for the update, and I look forward to hearing more from you.
  • All the best,
  • Mx. Lennox

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