Use the word "dear" when talking to or about someone who is close to you.

  • My dear wife is making dinner in the kitchen.
  • She is my dear, dear friend.
  • He was the dearest of friends.
  • There is nothing more dear to me than this.
  • This organization is near and dear to my heart.

We use "dear" when addressing a person, formally or informally.

  • Dear Mr. Smith: I am writing this letter in response to your concerns. (This would be a typical greeting in a letter.)
  • Dear Grandma, How are you doing? I hope you are well. (This would be typical of a letter sent to a family member.)
  • Yes, dear. I will help you with the housework this weekend.
  • Thank-you for being such a dear! (To use "dear" as a noun is a manner of speaking more typical of women than men. Coming from a man, this would sound effeminate.)

writing a letter to parents Dear Mom and Dad….

The word "dearly" is an adverb used for formal, solemn occasions such as weddings and funerals:

  • Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to participate in the marriage of two people who…
  • Our dearly departed mother was the person who held our family together.

Note: The word "dear" is a term of endearment, a word used to show affection or care for another person. In some cases, it’s similar to "honey," "sweetie," or "baby."

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May 6, 2019