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Topic: 4) Hey you! (1 of 9), Read 127 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Barbara Wallraff (msgrammar@theatlantic.com)
Date: Thursday, May 06, 1999 09:08 AM

Chris Fotheringham, of Elko, Nev., writes: "Isn't there some less-stilted way to correspond than being enslaved to the use of the tired and contrived word 'Dear'? I wouldn't suggest 'To Whom It May Concern' or 'In Acknowledgment Of' or even 'Yo'; but surely your worthy info-highway-savvy readers can come up with a modern salutation or phrase that is professional, courteous, non-deprecatory, non-threatening, and non-gender-offensive-specific."

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Topic: 4) Hey you! (2 of 9), Read 121 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Roger Gay (roger.f.gay@telia.se)
Date: Thursday, May 06, 1999 09:31 AM

Much of the written communication that moves around in Sweden begins with the informal, "Hej" (Hi). Formality rests on convention, and I'd have to take it that our greater cultural formality is what keeps us locked into the use of a word like "Dear" to begin a correspondence.

The first thing I can suggest is that you don't have to begin personal letters, most of your e-mail, or post-it note messages with "Dear"; and "Hi" or "Hello" makes perfect sense to me (perhaps even the occasional "Yo!")

If you have occasion to be even more formal, you can begin with a title without "Dear". "Dear Your Royal Highness" is pretty clumsy and doesn't hold to convention. This leads one to believe that you can skip "Dear" on other occasions by using a descriptive pseudo-title such as "Kind Sir", "To the Rotten Bureaucracy", "Randy, my man", or "Baby-Cakes-Honey-Bear". If you don't want to use the word "Dear", then don't. Just start the letter with "Mr. Smith,".

Speaking of "To", it makes sense to begin many inter-office communications that way -- in memo form, which can be used on some other occasions.

If the correspondence is to a group, (such as an advertisement) it looks better to me to leave the greeting off altogether, even though your computer can "personalize" each one. (It's so fake and tacky.) Just deliver the message.

med vänliga hälsningar

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Topic: 4) Hey you! (3 of 9), Read 115 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Michael Fischer (tsuwm@aol.com)
Date: Thursday, May 06, 1999 01:18 PM

I (imagined I) had this problem with a group of engineers who reported to me, so I asked them and got the following reply from a young woman:

>>
greetings,
salutations,

although some seem to believe that no
salutation at all is perfectly fine,
I generally prefer that messages
start out with one....

some sample (maybe not better!) salutations...

(implicit audience, the understood plural "you")
hey,
you know,
guess what,
listen to (read) this,
all,
what do you know,
yo,
top this,


(explicit audience)
[explicit] team (still has a nice ring)
team,
team mates,
mateys (sp?)
folks,
you all,
fellowman,
engrs,
<<

I think the message to be gleaned from this is that it can be fun to just use your imagination; if it's a formal communication, stick to a title or Dear ....


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Topic: 4) Hey you! (4 of 9), Read 73 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Rus Bowden (lowelldude@aol.com)
Date: Sunday, May 16, 1999 02:15 AM

Chris,

How about eliminating the "Dear"? Like that.

Rus
________________________________________

Mr. Chris Fotheringham,

Pursuant to your request for assistance in addressing written correspondence, might I suggest eliminating altogether any use of the word "Dear" before the recipient's name, as I have so done in this letter to you.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
Rus Bowden

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Topic: 4) Hey you! (5 of 9), Read 60 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Daniel Phipps Jr (danphippps@pmsc.com)
Date: Monday, May 17, 1999 12:15 PM

I prefer "Greetings" with or without an exclamation point and with or without a name reference. I feel it is very flexible.

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Topic: 4) Hey you! (6 of 9), Read 62 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Barbara Wallraff (msgrammar@theatlantic.com)
Date: Monday, May 17, 1999 02:50 PM

"Greetings" is certainly apt. Except, back when the military had a draft (during the Vietnam War, and I believe on back at least as far as World War Two) the draft notices men received began with "Greetings." I'm afraid this connotation spoils the word for me.

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Topic: 4) Hey you! (7 of 9), Read 53 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Paul Bickart (pbickart@compuserve.com)
Date: Thursday, May 20, 1999 12:27 PM

I see a lot of good suggestions, but the fact is that "dear" is a convention, and has no real meaning, any more than "goodbye" means "God be with you". Variations seem to me like using purple ink or putting little faces over the i's.

I have a much bigger problem with what comes after the "dear". When you're addressing persons unknown at an organization (company, government, university) "Sirs" seems badly outdated.

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Topic: 4) Hey you! (8 of 9), Read 41 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Aaron Reneker (zanazarius@yahoo.com)
Date: Saturday, May 22, 1999 01:31 PM

I generally use a person's title, followed by their (correctly-spelled!) surname, when addressing someone in a formal letter. I do not use "dear" unless the person to whom I am writing is exactly that--dear. "Greetings" at the beginning of a letter reminds me too much of the computer in the movie "War Games," with Matthew Broderick ("Greetings, Professor...Would you like to play a game?"). Most professionals with whom I correspond rarely notice a "dear" or "greetings" anyway, particularly those who receive over a hundred letters and such every day. A mere "Dr. Spock" will suffice in a formal setting, I feel.

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Topic: 4) Hey you! (9 of 9), Read 41 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Rus Bowden (lowelldude@aol.com)
Date: Saturday, May 22, 1999 07:58 PM

Aaron,

I agree with you, and do close to what you do. To me, the "Dear" opening is for heartfelt occasions, like, "Dear Aaron, I was sorry to hear about your loss." "Greetings Aaron" sounds to me like I am trying to appeal to your earthling side.


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