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  • Category: Improve Your English

    How to write the salutation Dear friend - in sentence case or with capitalization?

    How do you write the opening salutation to a friend? Give your views on this interesting quandary!

    I often send my college friends mails beginning with 'Dear friend'. One of them asked an interesting query which I am posting here: Should the word 'friend' begin with a capital letter? Is there any English rule for this?

    Should it be like this: Dear Friend
    It is OK to write it as: Dear friend.

    A simple query, which put my little grey cells in a quandary! Maybe an ISCian can help out?
  • #591595
    So far to my understanding, we can write it as 'Dear friend' without capitalization. A letter to a friend is written in an informal way with a touch of intimacy. So, I think it's okay to write 'Dear friend' and not 'Dear Friend' which appear (to me) too formal without any intimate feeling.

    No idea about grammar rules.

    Thanks & Regards

  • #591596
    The word 'friend' is a common noun. In case of common nouns, we don't use capital letter except when the word is in the beginning of a sentence. So, 'Dear friend' is correct.
    Caution: Explosive. Handle with care.

  • #591603
    Vandana and others,
    I have referred this in Wren & Martin grammar book held by me. What it says is this.

    "Form of address - In friendly letters to relations and intimate friends, the proper form of address is the name (without title) of the person to whom you are writing, prefixed by such qualifying terms as Dear, My dear, Dearest, etc. For example:- Dear Father or Mother, Dear Brother, Dearest Sister, Dear Edward, My dear Abdul, etc. "

    The above is the Quote from Page 328 of High school English Grammar & Composition by Wren& Martin Revised by NDV Prasada Rao,

    Is it enough to prove that 'My Friend' is correct, Vandana..

    No life without Sun ¤

  • #591604

    'Friend' is not a name. It is a word. I would use the first letter in capitals if I were to begin with 'Friend', but I have never put it as 'My Friend' or 'Dear Friend'.

    Keep day life will get tired of upsetting you.

  • #591606
    Friend is not a name but a relationship like Father, Mother, Brother, Uncle and Aunt. The Grammar book clearly gives an example of using 'My dear Uncle' & My dear Sir,

    Sir is not a name. Why then sir is written as Sir? Even sri or shri to be written with capital S as Sri and Shri

    If you can ignore Wren & Martin Grammar book, you are right to write Dear Friend as Dear friend.

    No life without Sun ¤

  • #591607

    'Friend' is not just a word in 'dear friend'. It is a form of address, which has substituted the name of the person.

    @Sun, can you just take a pic of the page & post it as an attachment here, so we can just read what is written in that grammar book?

    When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new!

  • #591608

    You cannot compare the word friend with 'Sir' because the latter is a title. All titles must begin in with a capital letter, such as Mr., Ms., Dr. etc. The word friend is not a title.

    I too have studied Wren & Martin during my school days and still have it. See what you quoted from it (I have not checked it out from my book) - "the proper form of address is the name (without title) of the person ".

    So my simple query is: is friend a name? No, of course not! Is it a title? No, definitely not! So why should it begin with a capital letter?

    As Partha said, friend is a noun. It simply signifies that the person whom I am addressing is one with whom I have an affectionate relationship, one which is different from that for a spouse or any other family member/relative.

    Keep day life will get tired of upsetting you.

  • #591609

    It is a form of address, but not one which addresses the person by name or title. Refer to my response #591608 above.

    Keep day life will get tired of upsetting you.

  • #591610

    As far I know, all forms of addresses have to be capitalized.

    Edit: I think we write 'Dear Mother' or 'Dear Father' and not as 'Dear mother' or 'Dear father'

    When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new!

  • #591611

    I would put the word friend as Friend only if I were to use it in the plural to address a group of several people formally in a business communication, like when we say 'Dear Friends' - here, we are referring to colleagues. However, I would not use it even in this manner if the colleagues were an informal group in a friendly chat like when I interact with more than one editor of ISC and collectively address them as 'Dear friends' rather than putting each of their names in the salutation. I think the formal/informal aspect could also be considered.

    For my current and future friends I would still stick to not putting the capital letter as I am totally informal with all of them and wouldn't bother about English rules (although I did ask if there is such a rule in this thread just for my general knowledge.)

    Keep day life will get tired of upsetting you.

  • #591612
    I have given an example of 'dear father' which should take care of the formal/informal aspect, I believe.

    As far as personal preference goes, it can always overrule any set of rules in any field.

    When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new!

  • #591614

    Yes, I agree about the capitalization when addressing one's parents because one is doing so in the sense of respect. In the case of a friend, though, the respect may be of a different sense, not exactly similar to what one accords to parents or relatives. Even if the friend is much older than me and I do accord respect to her, I would not bother about the capitalization at all because of the totally informal nature of our friendship. I would just write, for example, 'Hello there friend!' or 'Good morning friend' (and here I would not bother about punctuation either.) Only if I were to address her by name, I would put the capital letter for it.

    As you said, my personal preference would overrule formal English rules as far as communicating with friends is concerned - and they, as my friends, would not bother about it too much either I would say!

    Keep day life will get tired of upsetting you.

  • #591620
    I thought the topic of the forum was whether or not to capitalize 'friend' in 'dear friend' and that is why I posted a response or two here. If I had known that the topic was whether a friend should mind or not if the word 'friend' is not capitalized, then, perhaps I would not have posted any response here. My mistake. Your exasperation is justified, Vandana.

    I apologize for misunderstanding the topic & would not like to post further. My responses may please be deleted as irrelevant responses. Thank you.

    When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new!

  • #591634
    What I feel that keeping the English grammar aside for a while addressing a Dear Friend is the right manner because when D can be capital then the F should also be capital.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #591637
    I think addressing a friend should be - 'Dear friend' and not 'Dear Friend'. When the word is written as Friend using 'F' and not 'f', it sounds an authority/anger, whatever it may be. Also the emphasis on the word 'dear' slows down when we write the word friend with a capital letter 'Friend'.

    It is just like Dear Patro vs Dear Mr.Patro . See the difference when we pronounce each. The first one shows intimacy and affection while the latter indicates respect or authority. There won't be any specific rules and I strongly feel some of the rules are derived out of practice in the process of teaching of English language in the modern times.


  • #591642
    Formal or informal. The word friend is a noun and is a relationship between two like our relatives- father, mother, uncle and aunt. When we write a letter to a friend, it should be in the same way we write to our father, mother, uncle and aunt. The word friend is a noun like any uncle who is not from the family. And the example given in the grammar book stands good.

    Kindly read and understand the paragraph once again and get convinced.

    However, I will not write Dear Friend as Dear friend (as salutation) anytime in my written communication to any of my friends. I sincerely follow the good old grammar book.

    No life without Sun ¤

  • #591696
    [Response removed by Admin. Read forum policies.]
    No life without Sun ¤

  • #591702
    Members are requested to confine their response to the main content of the thread. Raising subsidiary questions calling responses from other members is not allowed and treated as violation only. The author of the thread may ask further questions for clarification but not the members responding by leading the the thread off-track. Hence, the response #591696 was deleted.

  • #591705
    Dear Friend,
    My response # 591696 was not aimed to take the thread off the track, but to prove the correctness of the salutation by quoting various salutations. My response could have solved the author's query, but, as usual, you buried the response in a hurry.

    No life without Sun ¤

  • #591707
    Gypsy - There was not need for an apology. You gave your views. I gave mine. Your views were related to the topic and hence not irrelevant.

    Sun - Just now I checked your response. There is really no point in providing a vast list of salutations of different types. I only wish to know it for the word friend. Since I have got varying opinions, we could keep this thread open for another day or so to see if other members would like to give their feedback on this.

    Keep day life will get tired of upsetting you.

  • #591712
    Dear Friend,
    My response with vast list of salutations is only to get the right thought about the right salutation' My friend or My friend', by our friendly members of ISC. Anyway, a good editor is an editor who supports his/her fellow editors.

    No life without Sun ¤

  • #591724
    In any language there are subtle variations which are initially accepted as slang or informal but with time they are accepted in the main stream.

    The development of a language is like that only.

    Academically we can insist for one form better than other or more correct but it is difficult in case of twins.

    I have seen many correspondences and letters either hand written or printed and I have invariably found the both forms there - Dear Friend or Dear friend.

    Another interesting thing is that I have rarely found Dear sir in place of Dear Sir.
    So certain things in practice are adopted in the language in due course and even lexicographers have to accept it.

    Knowledge is power.

  • #591762
    I have been taught to use title case for greetings when writing letters. I think the rule is to capitalize the first and all key words in the salutation of a letter. We do write Dear Mom & Dad, as well as Dear Parent, Dear Students, Dear Members, Dear Teachers, Dear Production Manager and Dear Employees etcetera. It is also correct to address a letter to a large group as Dear All. Note that when the gender or designation is not known we write 'To Whom it May Concern' and not 'To whom it may concern'.
    "A love affair with knowledge will never end in heartbreak" - Michael Garrett Marino

  • #591774
    A relevant query while on the topic of capitalizing a form of address:- should the word 'friend' in the following example be capitalized or not?

    Example: It was so generous of you, friend!

    My viewpoint is that the word 'friend' in the example should also be capitalized.

    When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new!

  • #591794
    From academic point of view, students who are still in learning should write 'Dear Friend' while learning a formal letter to a friend in the answer sheets but not 'Dear friend'. Lest they may lose marks.

    As the thread is being discussed on writing an informal letter, it doesn't matter whether we can write 'Dear friend' or 'Dear Friend' as there is no fear of losing marks.

    Somehow, I personally don't like writing 'Dear Friend' as I feel it lacks intimacy.

    Thanks & Regards

  • #591826

    Thank you for agreeing to the point that 'Dear Friend' would be grammatically correct. I disagree with you on the point that 'Dear Friend" lacks intimacy. I think we write 'Dear Mom' and needless to say it does not lack closeness.

    Importantly, when we want to lay stress on any single word, then we do capitalize it out of turn too (in the middle of a sentence).

    Like I said it earlier in this thread, as far as personal preferences go, they can always overrule any set of rules in any field.

    When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new!

  • #591882
    In English Proper noun is written in the capital letter.Dear Friend addresses a special friend ,so it should be in the capital letter.
    Service to mankind is service to God.

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