Learn English – Appropriate to start business email or letter with just “Dear,”


Is it appropriate to start a business letter or email with just "Dear,"?
I specifically refer to the case where there is no noun following "Dear,", so no "Dear All,", or "Dear Mr.,", or "Dear Colleagues,", … (which is covered in other english.stackexchange.com questions)

Or would "Dear," only be appropriate between lovers?

(I am unsure about this because in Dutch, it is common to start an email or letter with 'Beste,' or 'Geachte,', which could be (and is often) very loosely translated to something like 'Dear,')

Best Answer

Dear is a perfectly appropriate letter greeting in all circumstances. However you do need a noun to follow. "Dear, " on its own doesn't work.

The standard opening if you don't know enough about the reader is "Dear Sir/Madam,"

Note that when used to open a letter, dear is an adjective:

Dear Mr Smith,

Dear Susan,

Dear Sir/Madam,

Dear is also used as a noun, typically in conversational speech:

Yes, dear.

Calm down, dear.

This usage is usually reserved for loved ones -- but this is a completely different usage from the letter opening greeting.