What is the Dear Part of a Letter Called? Understanding the Opening Salutation

Have you ever received a letter or an email that caught your attention right from the start? There’s something about the way it’s written that makes it almost impossible to ignore. Well, it might interest you to know that the secret to such attention-grabbing correspondence lies in a very specific part of the message – the opening sentence. Yes, the dear part of a letter!

The dear part of a letter is one of the most crucial elements in crafting a communication that will get results. Whether you’re writing a business proposal, an email to a potential client, or simply a letter to your loved one, the opening sentence sets the tone and creates the first impression. It’s like the hook of a catchy song that draws you in and makes you want to hear more.

So, what exactly is the dear part of a letter? It refers to the salutation or the greeting at the beginning of a letter or email. While some people might see it as a formality, it’s actually an opportunity to establish a connection with your reader. Knowing the right way to greet your recipient can make all the difference in the world and help you achieve your desired outcome. Whether it’s addressing them by their first name or a more formal title, the dear part of a letter can make the difference between receiving a response or being ignored.

Parts of a letter

A letter consists of several parts, each serving a specific purpose. These parts include:

  • Heading: This includes the sender’s address and the date the letter was written.
  • Inside address: This includes the recipient’s name and address, typically located below the heading.
  • Salutation: This is the greeting at the beginning of the letter, such as “Dear John.”
  • Body: This is the main content of the letter.
  • Closing: This is the phrase that signifies the end of the letter, such as “Sincerely.”
  • Signature: This is the sender’s signature and name.
  • Postscript: This is an optional addition to the letter, often added after the signature, to provide additional information or emphasize a point.

The “Dear” Part of a Letter

The “dear” part of a letter is part of the salutation and serves as the greeting to the recipient. It is typically followed by the recipient’s name and a comma. The salutation is an important part of the letter, as it sets the tone for the rest of the message.

When addressing the recipient, it is important to use the appropriate title and name. For example, if the recipient is a professor, you would address them as “Dr. Smith,” rather than simply “Mr. Smith.” Using the correct salutation shows respect and professionalism.

Formatting a Letter

When formatting a letter, it is important to follow a standard format to ensure clarity and readability. This includes using a clear and legible font, such as Times New Roman or Arial, and keeping the font size between 10 and 12 points.

Additionally, the letter should be single-spaced with double spaces between paragraphs. The margins should be set to one inch on all sides, and the letter should be left-justified.

Parts Formatting
Heading Left-justified
Inside Address Left-justified
Salutation Left-justified
Body Left-justified
Closing Left-justified
Signature Left-justified
Postscript Left-justified

By following these formatting guidelines, the letter will be professional and easy to read, ensuring that the recipient receives and understands the intended message.


When writing a letter, the salutation is the part where you greet the reader or recipient of the letter, and it is usually the first thing they will read. A proper salutation is important as it sets the tone for the rest of the letter.

The dear part of the salutation is called the vocative case, and it is where you address the person you are writing to by their name or title. Knowing the proper way to address the recipient of your letter is important as it can convey respect or familiarity, depending on the context of your communication.

Common Salutations

  • Dear [Name or Title]
  • To whom it may concern
  • Hello/Hi [Name]

Tips for Choosing the Right Salutation

When deciding on the right salutation for your letter, consider the context of your communication.

Is the tone of your letter formal or informal? Is the addressee someone you know personally or a business associate? These factors can influence the choice of salutation.

It’s also a good idea to research and confirm the correct form of address and title for the addressee, especially if you are writing to someone for the first time.

Salutation Examples

Here are some examples of salutations that you can use for various types of letters:

Purpose Salutation
Formal letter to an unknown recipient To whom it may concern
Formal letter to a known recipient Dear Mr./Ms./Dr. [Last Name]
Informal letter to a friend Dear [First Name]
Email to a colleague Hello/Hi [First Name]

Remember, the salutation is an important part of a letter and can set the tone for the entire communication. Take the time to choose the right salutation for each letter you write, and always be respectful and courteous in your communication.

Complimentary close

The complimentary close is the part of a letter that comes after the body and before the signature. It is the closing phrase that appears at the end of the letter and is used to convey the writer’s regards or sentiments to the recipient. A complimentary close is an essential part of a letter, and it can set the tone for the entire letter. A well-chosen closing phrase can leave a lasting impression on the reader.

  • The most commonly used complimentary closes are “Sincerely,” “Yours truly,” “Best regards,” and “Regards.”
  • The closing phrase should match the tone of the letter and the relationship between the writer and the recipient. For example, a formal letter should have a more formal close, while a personal letter can have a more casual close.
  • It’s essential to use the correct punctuation mark after the complimentary close. The most commonly used punctuation is a comma.

The complimentary close should be followed by a comma and then the writer’s signature and printed name. The signature should be preceded by the word “Sincerely,” “Yours truly,” or whichever closing phrase was used.

In conclusion, the complimentary close is an essential part of a letter. It can convey the writer’s regards or sentiments and leave a lasting impression on the reader. When choosing a closing phrase, it’s important to match the tone of the letter and the relationship between the writer and the recipient. Remember to use the correct punctuation mark and follow the complimentary close with the writer’s signature and printed name.


The envelope is the outermost covering of a letter that provides protection to its content while it is in transit. It is the first thing that the recipient sees and it also sets the tone for the correspondence. Therefore, it is essential to choose the appropriate size, color, and type of envelope that suits the type of letter and its recipient.

  • Size of the envelope: The size of the envelope depends on the size of the paper used for the letter. An A4-sized paper requires a C4-sized envelope. The common sizes of envelopes are C4, C5, C6, DL, and square.
  • Color of the envelope: The color of the envelope should be chosen based on the occasion or the recipient. A white or cream-colored envelope is suitable for formal letters, while a colored envelope adds a personal touch to informal letters.
  • Type of the envelope: There are different types of envelopes such as window envelopes, which have a transparent window on the front to display the recipient’s address, and self-sealing envelopes, which do not require glue or moisture to seal.

The envelope should also include the sender’s return address and the recipient’s address, which should be accurate and complete to ensure that the letter reaches its intended recipient.

Additionally, it is important to affix sufficient postage on the envelope before mailing to avoid delays or return of the letter. The postage rate depends on the weight of the letter and the destination, and can be affixed using stamps or printed labels.

Envelope Size Dimensions in mm (W x H) Common Usage
C4 229 x 324 For A4-sized documents, brochures, or presentations
C5 162 x 229 For A5-sized documents or folded A4-sized documents
C6 114 x 162 For A6-sized documents or folded A5-sized documents
DL 110 x 220 For letters or documents that can be folded into three parts
Square Various sizes For special occasions or invitations

In conclusion, the envelope is an essential part of a letter that serves as its protective cover and creates a positive impression on its recipient. Choosing the appropriate size, color, and type of envelope, providing accurate and complete addresses, and affixing sufficient postage are crucial in ensuring that the letter reaches its intended recipient in a timely manner.


The letterhead is the section of a letter where the sender’s information and logo are located. It sets the tone for the rest of the correspondence, and it provides the recipient with a way to identify the sender. In short, the letterhead is one of the most crucial parts of a letter, and it deserves careful consideration.

Here are some essential things to keep in mind when designing your letterhead:

  • Keep it simple – A letterhead should be elegant and straightforward. Don’t try to cram too much information or graphics into the space. A simple logo and an address or website URL often suffice.
  • Use high-quality materials – If you’re printing your letterhead, make sure to use high-quality paper. The weight and texture of the paper you use can have a significant impact on how your letter is perceived.
  • Pay attention to typography – The typography you use for your letterhead should be easy to read and professional. Don’t use overly fancy or elaborate script fonts that are difficult to decipher.
Element Function
Logo Branding and identification
Company name and address Identification and contact information
Website URL and email address Contact information and marketing

In conclusion, the letterhead is the face of your correspondence. It should be simple, elegant, and leave a lasting impression on the recipient. By following these guidelines and considering the elements of a great letterhead, you can ensure that your correspondence stands out and invites a positive response.

Date line

The date line is an essential part of any letter or document as it helps to establish a timeline and provides context for the information presented. It is typically located at the top of the page and includes the month, day, and year that the letter was written. The format of the date line varies according to the region and culture, so it is crucial to know the conventions of the recipient’s location.

For example, in the United States, the date line is written using the month, day, and year format, such as “January 1, 2022.” In contrast, in many European countries, the day, month, and year format is used, such as “1 January 2022.” It is essential to note the difference between the two formats to avoid any confusion or misunderstandings.

When writing a date line, it is essential to be accurate, consistent, and complete. Always double-check the date, and ensure that it matches the date that the letter is being sent. Also, avoid using abbreviations as they can be misinterpreted or misunderstood. In addition, consistency is key, so ensure that your date line follows the same format throughout the entire document.

Elements in a Date Line

  • Month: Shortened or written in full (January or Jan).
  • Day: Always listed before year, normally given in figures (1 or 01).
  • Year: 4 figures, usually presented after the month and day.

Using Date Line in Business Letters

Date lines are an important component of business letters as they provide context for your message and help establish a timeline. When writing business letters, it is crucial to include a date line to make it clear when the letter was sent. This is especially important when dealing with contracts, legal documents, or other time-sensitive material. It adds formality to the letter and shows that the letter was written recently.

Many companies use a standard format for their business letters, which includes the date line. When communicating with a new partner or customer, ensure that you follow their conventions to avoid any misunderstandings. The date line shows that the sender is organized, punctual, and professional, which is essential when creating a positive business relationship.

Date Line Formatting

Formatting a date line is relatively straightforward, but it is essential to follow the conventions of the recipient’s location and culture. In general, it is best to write out the month in full, followed by the day and year, and to avoid using abbreviations. Use a comma to separate the day and year and ensure that the year is presented in full. For example, “January 1, 2022.”

Location Date Line Format
United States Month Day, Year (January 1, 2022)
United Kingdom Day Month Year (1 January 2022)
Japan Year Month Day (2022年 1月 1日)

By following the conventions of the recipient’s location, you can ensure that your date line is clear, professional, and easily understood. It may seem like a small detail, but it can make a big difference in how your letter or document is received.

Body of the Letter

The body of the letter is the main part where you convey your message to the recipient. It comprises the core content of the letter and requires careful consideration to achieve its purpose. Your message must be clear, concise, and organized in a logical sequence to avoid misinterpretation by the reader. The writing style should be formal, professional, and engaging to capture the reader’s attention and prompt them to read on. The following tips can help you write an effective body for your letter.

  • Start with a clear and concise opening sentence that summarizes the purpose of your letter.
  • Organize your points in a logical sequence to make the letter easy to read and understand.
  • Use paragraphs to break down your content into smaller chunks that are easier to read.
  • Avoid using technical jargon and complex language that may confuse the reader.
  • Use bullet points or numbered lists to highlight important information.
  • Include specific details or examples to add credibility to your message.
  • Close the letter with a clear call to action or a summary of the key points you wish to convey.

Sample Body of the Letter

To illustrate how to write an effective body of a letter, consider the following sample letter.

Dear Mr. Smith,
Thank you for considering my application for the marketing manager position at XYZ Corporation. I am confident my skills and experience align with your requirements and can make a significant contribution to your organization’s growth.
In my current role as a marketing specialist at ABC Inc., I have developed a track record of driving revenue growth through the creation and implementation of innovative marketing strategies. As the attached resume highlights, I have experience in SEO, PPC, and content marketing that have resulted in a 20% increase in sales year over year. Furthermore, I have worked with cross-functional teams to launch new products and enhance the visibility of existing products, resulting in increased market share and brand recognition.
I am confident that I can bring the same level of success to XYZ Corporation and am excited about the opportunity to join a dynamic team that values innovation and creativity. Please let me know if you require any further information or would like to schedule an interview. Thank you for your time and consideration.
John Doe

In this example, the body of the letter follows a logical sequence that highlights the applicant’s skills and experience, which align with the employer’s requirements. The language is clear, concise, and free of jargon, making it easy to read and understand. Additionally, the letter concludes with a clear call to action that invites further communication and emphasizes the applicant’s interest in the position.

FAQs about What is the Dear Part of a Letter Called

Q: What is the proper greeting for a letter?
A: The proper greeting for a letter is “Dear” followed by the person’s name or title.

Q: What is the dear part of a letter called?
A: The dear part of a letter is called the salutation.

Q: Can I use other greetings besides “Dear” in a letter?
A: Yes, you can use other greetings such as “Hello” or “Hi” for less formal letters. However, make sure to choose a greeting that is appropriate for the tone and context of your letter.

Q: Do I need to use a salutation in an email?
A: While it is not strictly necessary to use a salutation in an email, it is still a good idea to do so, especially if you are emailing someone for the first time. It shows respect and can help you establish a professional tone for your message.

Q: Do I need to use a title in the salutation?
A: It depends on the context of your letter. If you are writing to someone who holds a title, such as “Dr.” or “Prof.,” it is a good idea to use that title in the salutation. However, if you are writing to someone in a more casual context, you can simply use their name.

Q: Is it okay to use a first name in the salutation?
A: Using a first name in the salutation is appropriate for more casual letters or for people you are friendly with. However, if you are writing to someone you don’t know well or in a professional context, it is better to use their full name or title.

Q: How should I end my letter?
A: Common endings for letters include “Sincerely,” “Best regards,” or “Yours truly.” Choose an ending that is appropriate for the tone and context of your letter.

Closing Thoughts

Now that you know what the dear part of a letter is called (the salutation), you can confidently begin your letters with the proper greeting. Remember to choose a greeting that is appropriate for the tone and context of your letter, and consider the use of titles and first names. Thanks for reading, and visit again for more tips on writing!