Friday 22 August 2014

Usage & Writing: What On Earth Is "(In) Care Of"?

How to use "c/o"?
Image from WikiHow

Was suddenly asked about "care of", a term which I myself have never used, and so the best way to find out is to Google it.

First link popped out was one from Wiktionary, an example goes,

"(mail) For distribution by (the named intermediary).
Could you please send this package to Mr. John Smith, care of the Northwest Shelter?"

The question is, who is the distributor and who is the intermediary?

Its description was written in a highly professional way,

"Care of, usually abbreviated as c/o on envelopes, signifies an intermediary who is responsible for transferring a piece of mail between the postal system and the final addressee. For example, when the addressee has no standard address, is under a corporate mail system, or is being manually forwarded mail sent to a more accessible location. In Australia and New Zealand c/- is often used in place of ℅."

Definitely not an easy paragraph to read.

As a result, let's return to the dictionaries.

Cambridge Online Dictionaries shows,
Image from Cambridge Dictionaries Online
Clear as days!!! So we have our answer!

The forumla goes,

<recipient> in care of <address of sb else where you can receive>

Oxford Dictionaries Online, despite showing the same explanation, requires careful scrolling and manual searching before you can find what you want.
Image from Oxford Dictionaries Online 
Cambridge wins again!

Care of @ Wiktionary

How to Address an Envelope in Care of Someone Else