Has 'Dear' Disappeared as a Salutation?

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Hey, Wall Street Journal's Dionne Searcey,

Thanks for noting that the once-common salutation, "Dear," is rapidly disappearing from common usage in emails. The Wire understands that etiquette experts cited in your article are fretting about this development. One of them, a Lydia Ramsey, bemoaned the vanishing of the word, saying that its usage at the beginning of a correspondence "sets the tone for that business relationship, and it shows respect...email is so impersonal it needs all the help it can get."

Proper emailers, as you say, are now much more likely to be using "Hey folks," "Hi", "Good Morning/Afternoon" or just simply use the name of the person they they are writing to (i.e. Mr. Smith:). Some emailers, as one mentioned in your article, feel that the word "Dear" is "too girly," or conveys a sense of intimacy that doesn't seem to work for communicating with other businesspeople. Others only see "Dear" appear on impersonal eBay correspondence--so why would they use the word "Dear" to convey a sense of intimacy to to family or friends? It seems old-fashioned.

Still, you do mention that a few hold-outs are stubbornly using the "flowery" salutation at the beginning of emails or letters. One Lynn Ducommun of Manhattan admitted that she typed the word "probably because I'm a dinosaur, my emailing to me is equivalent to writing a letter or a note."

[H/T: The Smart Set]

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.