'Dear' Has Gone the Way of the Dinosaur

In our Internet age, it's too intimate for some, too formal for others
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2011 2:29 PM CST

(Newser) – Dear reader: If starting your correspondence with the word “dear” seems just a bit too familiar to use, you’re not alone. The long-penned salutation appears to be headed for extinction, thanks in part to the proliferation of informal communication like email, the Wall Street Journal reports. Even one spokesperson for a member of Congress, who tries to keep her communications with the press at “the utmost and highest level of professionalism,” won’t use “dear” because it’s “too intimate,” she says. What does she use instead? “Hey, folks.”

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Others, like the former trucker who calls “dear” too girlie for male-to-male use, use “good morning,” “hi,” “hey,” or “to whom it may concern,” depending upon whom they’re addressing. Some etiquette experts, however, insist that such salutations “lack polish.” And business experts recommend keeping “dear” for formal communications. Says one, “we don't use dear because someone is dear to us, but because we understand the standards of business writing and recognize the standards of intelligent business people.”
(Read more correspondence stories.)

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