student asking question

I'm not so familiar with how to address people in English. Here she used 'dear', and I wonder when I can use 'dear'.


Native speaker’s answer


Good question! "Dear" has a few uses within different contexts. It's common to use to address people in an email or letter, whether you know them well or not, as it's good writing etiquette. "Dear" is also used between romantic partners. In some cases you can use it between friends, or someone you're close to, to express affection - this is quite British. Some people, like here, use "dear" to address people younger than them, usually children, but this isn't always acceptable; with close relations, it is okay. Previously men would call other women "dear" even if they didn't know them well, but this is not considered acceptable to do anymore as it can be offensive. You can also use "dear" as an exclamation! Ex: Oh, dear! I left my phone at home. Ex: Dear, Henry. I hope you are well... => email or letter Ex: Morning, dear, how are you? => partner Ex: My dear Jane, you make me laugh so much. => friends Ex: Dear, please can you pass me that pen? => younger person or child

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