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.


  1. “Dear” beats “Hello,” doesn’t it?

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

    • Sam Glover Sam Glover says:

      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.

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