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How to write “you” or “you” in business correspondence?

Как правильно писать «Вы» или «вы»?

A letter, official or official, is a common type of documentation, one of the means of exchanging information. Official letters refer to the main means of establishing official, official contacts between enterprises, organizations, institutions, firms and institutions.

It all started with the fact that I wrote a letter to one of the clients - a middle-aged woman, to whom we always addressed by name and patronymic. I, without thinking twice, referring to her letter, used the familiar pronoun “You” (with a capital letter). However, my boss, seeing such a letter, immediately protested: “No one writes“ You ”with a capital letter, this is a mistake.” And as evidence, he brought in a chapter from the “Kovodstvo”, Artemy Lebedev, in which the famous designer claims that “you” is always written in small letters.

I was embarrassed and angered by this statement, because since school time I remember that when addressing an elder or a stranger, expressing my respect, one should turn to him to “You” - from a large one. “You” with a small letter for me is the plural of the pronoun “you”. That is, I address the “you” with the little one when I am writing to several people, and not to one.

In order to deal with this issue, I decided to turn to the scientific literature on the Russian language. In reference books "Dictionary of difficulties of the Russian language" D.E. Rosenthal and MA Telenkova and “Upper case or lower case?” V.V. Lopatina says that with a capital (that is, with a large) letter the pronoun “You” (“Your”, “You”, etc.) is written in such cases:

  1. when referring to one specific (natural or legal) person in official messages “Congratulations to you ...”; "We are informing you…"; "I ask you to…"; "Yours sincerely…";
  2. in personal letters to one specific person (optional spelling - the choice is determined by the writer himself, expressing or not expressing a polite or respectful attitude towards the addressee), including by e-mail.

In all other cases, the lower case (with a small letter) spelling of the pronoun “you” is used:

  1. when addressing several individuals in private and business correspondence: “I ask you, dear Sergey Petrovich and Ivan Vasilyevich ...”; "Gentlemen, your letter ...";
  2. in newspaper publications, in advertising;
  3. in literary works (dialogue, direct speech, personal appeal): "... But let her no longer disturb you // I don’t want to sadden you with anything";
  4. when quoting;
  5. when accessing a user on a web page;
  6. if the appeal is hypothetical, then in the letter: “Dear colleague! Regarding your suggestion ... ".

It is interesting that in the chapter on the “Three rules about you” A. Lebedev also refers to D.E. Rosenthal, who says that “the capital letter in the words you, yours, etc. written only when referring to one person (natural or legal), usually in personal correspondence. " It is also noteworthy that DE himself. Rosenthal in his letter refers to the addressee on "You" with a capital letter.

Как правильно писать «Вы» или «вы»?

For me, everything became even more obvious after reading the rules of the Russian language, about which linguists write. In addition, they say that the author of a personal letter himself decides on a capital or a lowercase letter.

In order to finally decide on the spelling of the pronoun "you" I decided to turn to the teachers of the Russian language of Tomsk State University - Galina Nikolaevna Starikova (Ph.D., associate professor of the Russian language department of the TSU Faculty of Philology ) and Inna Vitalyevna Tubalova (Ph.D., associate professor of the Department of General Slavic Russian Linguistics and Classical Philology, Faculty of Philology, TSU). They agreed that the pronoun “You” is used as a form of courteous address to one person in a formal, business letter and in official documentation, where the addressee is one person, as well as in the title vocabulary Your Highness, Your Honor. In all other cases the pronoun "you" is used. Appealing to “You” to several persons or a certain audience is a blunder indicating a complete misunderstanding of the question. In addition, they noted that when referring to one person in business correspondence, the norm is variable, that is, one must choose oneself.

Nevertheless, in the modern business environment, and especially in the field of digital and IT, there is an opinion that addressing you in an ordinary email is a bad form, expressing excessive pathos. So, in the “Textbook for managers in digital” by the famous Russian designer Oleg Chulakov, I again stumbled upon the same statement: “The pronoun“ you ”is spelled with a lowercase in all cases. Excessive pathos is useless. ” The editorial standards of the magazine Tinkoff-Journal also briefly and clearly states: “We write" you "and" your ", that is, with a lowercase.

One possible explanation for the spelling of the pronoun “you” may be that the sphere of design, digital, IT is a sphere that has begun to develop and is greatly influenced by Western countries, the main language of communication is English. In English, there is no division into the polite “You” and “You”; there everyone refers to each other simply “you”. “You” is never written with a capital letter in the middle of a sentence. That is why, perhaps, among the designers and developers, the use of the Russian equivalent of English “you” - “you” or “you” has become common.

Thus, to write "you" with a capital or small letter in a business letter is the choice of the writer. In my opinion, “You” is not excessive pathos and moveton, but a manifestation of respect for the interlocutor and respect for a certain distance, which are necessary in business correspondence.