Earlier this week I received a fundraising email whose salutation was “Look,” which seemed just a little … testy. But what do I know; I was schooled in the “Dear Sir or Madam” era. It made me wonder which forms of address are acceptable in 2021, which are a little edgy, and which are too quaint to be taken seriously.
“Dear ___,” it goes without saying, now falls into the third category—in correspondence, anyway. When traveling grammar advisor Ellen Jovin conducted a Twitter poll last year, the “Dear ___” salutation received zero votes.
What percentage of your work emails begin with the word "Dear"?— Ellen is at the Grammar Table (@GrammarTable) October 10, 2020
Click through to see additional polls.
In the titles of books, movies, and plays, though, “Dear” practically de rigueur. Maybe it’s ironic. Maybe it’s nostalgic. But there’s no denying it’s popular.