Friday, March 20, 2020

When a word insufficiently loses meaning

If you didn’t encounter “dear” enough for its meaning to wash out, and the post-letter-writing generations may not have, it feels oddly like calling your boss or your professor your darling.

Even if individual people adopt “dear” for older correspondents, as I did, it’s doomed in the long run if people aren’t using it among their peers, as I would never, never do.

Reading through the comments on etiquette posts shows a tendency for younger people to resist advice to use “dear,” not through a desire to be rude or informal, but because they simply cannot parse it as anything but intimate.
Source: Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Gretchen McCulloch

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