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I’m writing a letter to my host family in Australia. They are a family of five and I’d like to write it in a friendly way.

So, does the expression ‘Dear [surname]’s family’ sound friendly? I’d like to write ‘Dear Smith’s family’ for example. I thought that it was too formal to write for a family including a little boy, but I don’t know whether my guess is correct because I’m not a native English speaker.

I would appreciate it if you could tell me its nuance.

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  • ‘Dear one’s family’ sounds very friendly, very affectionate and very nice but maybe not a typical form of salutation to start any letter. English letters are usually addressed to one person, or at most two who are expected to be receiving the letter together, and not usually to a family. One might write 'Dear Olivia', or 'Dear Olivia and Jane' (similar to 'Dear Aunty and Uncle' which I have used many times) or even stretch it to 'Dear Olivia and family' which is non-typical. You can read more about salutation styles here: thebalance.com/letter-salutations-and-greetings-2059709 – English Student Dec 11 '17 at 14:18
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    It depends on how they parse it. “Dear one’s” family sounds nice, but Dear “one’s family” sounds very distant. – Lawrence Dec 11 '17 at 14:25
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    Look I'm sorry to be a naysayer, but Dear One's Family is completely wrong. Dear Host Family is what one might use. When one does not want to use an actual name: Dear School Administrator; Dear [function name]. It is shocking to me to see people suggesting that Dear one's family is OK. – Lambie Dec 11 '17 at 15:02
  • I mean I’d like to replace “one’s” with my host family’s surname, for instance Smith or Williams. I think my expression was wrong. I’ll edit it. Thank you:) – Olivia Dec 11 '17 at 15:34
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    It sounds friendly but it is not correct. We would write "Dear Smith family". "Dear *Smith's family" means "family belonging to somebody named Smith". – stangdon Dec 11 '17 at 18:13
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Here: the best is: Dear Host Family

When you don't know the name, you write to the generic function: Dear Accounts Payable, Dear Accounts Receivable, Dear Operations' Director, Dear Superintendent of Schools

If you know a family's name: Dear Smith Family, Dear Stein Family, Dear Oyaka Family. etc.

Etc. etc. :)

  • Can you add some more explanation? – Nathan Tuggy Dec 11 '17 at 20:09
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Dear Smiths or Dear Smith Family could be used to address all the members of a family named Smith. In my opinion, Dear Smith Family sounds the most friendly. hope this helps.

  • Yes, except she had not said she was using the family name when you posted your answer. So....but it is right. – Lambie Dec 11 '17 at 20:38

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