The Death of “Dear” in Correspondence?

How do you open your letters and emails? “Dear” feels too formal for email, to me, so I usually open with “Hi Joan:” or just dive into the communication. I keep the “dear” in my letters. though.

But step back for a second and think about it — about addressing business associates, or people you’ve never met, as “Dear.” It has worked commendably in letters, but imagine using it with those same people in face-to-face situations.

Read Is ‘Dear’ dead? on CNN.

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  • “Dear” beats “Hello,” doesn’t it?

    • Beats it how?

      • “Dear” is more respectful than “Hello.”

        • I guess. When I think about it, though, the only people who call me “dear” in real life (as opposed to letters and emails) are old Southern ladies, usually at diners.

  • I see what you mean Sam. But dear is so ingrained in my mind, it is hard to not use it in letters. I do admit that in emails I hardly ever use it. Conventions do change over time, so you may be on to something.

  • Calling someone dear is not the same as using dear in a salutation, whether in a letter or an email. I might start a letter with Dear Henry, where I wouldn’t dream of calling Henry dear to his face. Dear Mr. Chief Justice, Dear Mr. President, etc., etc. Southern ladies might call the Chief Justice y’all, but not dear.

    • It doesn’t sound like you read the article I linked to, in which this exact point was discussed. Indeed, the point you have taken three comments to half make was nearly the entire subject of that article.