I am a native English speaker from England, but I've noticed that "Dear" has died out from emails and then letters. I am trying to write a semi-formal thank-you card, but I don't know whether to put "Dear" or "Hi". (Probably doesn't matter, but don't want to start by sounding weird!) In an email or a letter I'd put "Hi" to the recipient, but a card somehow seems more formal.

As far as I can tell from Google, it is only in America or in emails that people are getting in tizwoz about the connotations of "Dear"; discussions of any sort of letter on UK websites all have "Dear" as standard without questioning it. Is that correct?

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    Dear user42439, I think it is the cards and letters themselves, and not their salutations, that are rarae aves. You should be as demonstrative as you wish in your salutations and devil take the hindmost! Sep 28, 2016 at 19:31
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    No one in America ever gets in a tizwoz, trust me.
    – stangdon
    Sep 28, 2016 at 21:25
  • I just start all my e-mail with HEY - **Hey Bob - ** yada yada yada... [Murica] Sep 28, 2016 at 23:58
  • Canadian here. "Dear" always seems appropriate to me. You can get more intimate (e.g. "Dearest") or more distant "Hello,", but "Dear" seems polite without ever being offensive. I think it is always safe to use it, and I continue to use it in my written personal and business correspondence. (I don't use it in emails, which tend to be much less formal.) Jun 15, 2017 at 18:48

1 Answer 1


If you are sending a thank-you card, then it is perfectly OK to be informal and you can say pretty much whatever you like so long as it is polite.

If you know the person only by their surname, then maybe you should be a little more formal. Start with "Dear Mr. Jones," and end with "Yours sincerely, your name".

  • I doubt many people bother about it these days, but years ago the rule used to be that you were supposed to end with Yours sincerely if you'd started with Dear [name], but to end with Yours faithfully if you'd started with Dear Sir, Dear Madam, or similar. I never cared for any of that nonsense, so I usually just finished with Yours etc. Sep 28, 2016 at 19:57

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