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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Dear in spoken language, can be used?

    Once somebody told me that in spoken language you cannot use the word "dear", only when you write a letter or an email, is it correct?
    What would be the equivalent of "dear" in spoken language?

    Written: Dear colleagues
    Spoken: XXXX colleagues

    Thanks, regards
    spamme

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    #2

    Re: Dear in spoken language, can be used?

    It's not that you can't use the word "dear" in speech; it's just that there aren't many contexts in which one would use it. The only spoken analog for the salutation at the beginning of a letter is the opening of a formal speech, and in that context, "dear" would not be appropriate. Instead, a formal speech might begin with something flowery like Esteemed colleagues. This sort of speech is very rare, though. It's much more common to begin a speech with a short anecdote. For example: When I told my Uber driver I was coming to this conference, she expressed sympathy for the long, dull speeches I was going to endure. Little did she know that I was about to deliver the first of them!
    I am not a teacher.

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Dear in spoken language, can be used?

    Your title should have been "Can 'Dear' be used in spoken English?"
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  4. Skrej's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Dear in spoken language, can be used?

    'Dear' is used quite frequently in spoken English, but more as a term of endearment rather than a formal salutation.

    You can call somebody you're fond of 'dear', but you'll also hear it used as a general way to address somebody.

    For example, I might respond to something my wife says with "Yes, dear". There's also the interjection of 'Dear me!'

    My grandmother always called almost everybody 'dear', especially if they were younger than she was. With the exception of a couple of her closest friends whom she did address by name, it generally meant that either she didn't like the person, or was about to chastise them for something if she used any other term besides 'dear'. I also think she maybe used it when she didn't know or couldn't remember a person's name.
    Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!

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    #5

    Re: Dear in spoken language, can be used?

    A woman at my office calls everyone "dear".
    I am not a teacher.

  6. probus's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Dear in spoken language, can be used?

    It can certainly be used. For example:

    1) Tax breaks for the rich are very dear to Republicans.

    2) My memories of my mother are very dear to me.

    In BrE it is even more common because in that dialect it is also a synonym for expensive. E.g.:

    3) We could rent a cottage in the Isle of Wight if it's not too dear.

    Pretty famous, that last one.
    Last edited by probus; 19-Mar-2017 at 03:58.

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    #7

    Re: Dear in spoken language, can be used?

    The word dear exists in spoken English. I think the OP was asking whether it can be used as the first word of a salutation in the spoken language. The answer to that is "no."
    I am not a teacher.

  8. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Dear in spoken language, can be used?

    We use it as a term of affection. Lovers and spouses call each other "dear." It's also used casually. For example, we sometimes hear waitresses call their customers "dear" (though not all customers like it!).

    We also use it to express other kinds of affection: Chuck Berry was very dear to my heart.

    In the state of Maine, USA, where I live, men often call other men "dear" (Careful with that chain saw, dear!), but I've never heard it anywhere else.

    It can also mean "expensive."
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  9. Newbie
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    #9

    Re: Dear in spoken language, can be used?

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    It's not that you can't use the word "dear" in speech; it's just that there aren't many contexts in which one would use it. The only spoken analog for the salutation at the beginning of a letter is the opening of a formal speech, and in that context, "dear" would not be appropriate. Instead, a formal speech might begin with something flowery like Esteemed colleagues. This sort of speech is very rare, though. It's much more common to begin a speech with a short anecdote. For example: When I told my Uber driver I was coming to this conference, she expressed sympathy for the long, dull speeches I was going to endure. Little did she know that I was about to deliver the first of them!
    Thanks a lot for the reply, I find the "Esteemed colleagues" a very good solution, but in case that the audience aren't colleagues, for example if you have to talk in a conference, how you would address the audience? "Esteemed participants"? I find in this case "esteemed" quite weird. And if you give a speech in a club? "Esteemed club members"? It sounds very formal, something less formal?

  10. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #10

    Re: Dear in spoken language, can be used?

    I would use Colleagues or Ladies and Gentlemen, or simply start talking without a salutation. Esteemed sounds odd to me.

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