The death of ‘dear,’ birth of ‘hey’ in letter writing

Laura Donovan Contributor
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When was the last time you began a message with “Dear”? Probably in a cover letter to a potential employer you’d never met before, or perhaps even to your great-grandma thanking her for that fruitcake decaying in the re-gift pile.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal Thursday, there’s no question that the use of “Dear” is dwindling and “Hey” is taking over.  As the formal letter dies out, so too has the use of “dear”.  With email, tweets, IMs and texts rapidly exchanged throughout our tech-savvy lives, it’s only natural that our language and way of communicating has become more relaxed and informal. We live in the age of brevity where 140 characters is just enough, so who’s got time for “Dear” or even any salutation at all?

But it’s not only about the essence of time, it’s also semantics.  “Dear” comes across as too formal–or simply plain creepy and overly intimate.  And between men, the use of it can appear a bit too effeminate.

Full story: Why ‘hey’ trumps ‘dear’ in the internet age