A participant in one of my workshops asked me about using “Dear All” in a letter.

The salutation “Dear All” or “Dear Everyone” is informal. I’ve seen it used in e-mails, internal memos and notices. Most people accept this usage when the tone of an email or memo is casual. But it wouldn’t sound appropriate for a letter or for an e-mail sent to readers outside your corporation or organization unless your relationship with your readers allows such informality.

Since All is not a proper noun, there’s no need to capitalize it. Some, however, prefer that whatever follows Dear should be capitalized since it becomes a form of direct address.

Your other options:

1. You can actually skip the salutations in e-mails.

2. If you require a more formal salutation, you can use Dear Sirs and Madams.

3. Find a noun that describes and includes everyone whom you’re addressing, such as Dear team, Dear tenant. Go ahead and capitalize the noun if you want to.

4. Use To Whom It May Concern. Some, however, find this salutation too impersonal.


Photo credit: Dating


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