9 Professional Ways to Say “Dear”

Are you looking for a more professional way to write “dear” in your letters or emails?

Perhaps you’re tired of using it all the time. Or maybe you don’t think it’s the most appropriate way to start a message in formal writing.

Fear not! You have other options, and we’re here to help.

This article will teach you how to start a business email.

Is It Professional to Say “Dear”?

It is professional to say “dear.” It’s an appropriate way to start a letter or email when you’d like to get someone’s attention in a formal capacity.

Generally, it’s not outdated. It’s been around for a long time, but it’s still an immensely popular choice that most people are happy to include in their writing.

You can review this example to learn how to say “dear” in a letter:

Dear Customer,

Thank you so much for purchasing our latest product.

We’re so happy to have you on board, and we hope you get plenty of joy out of it.

Best wishes,
The Galaxy Co.


  • It’s one of the most common ways to start an email or letter.
  • It’s polite and professional.


  • It’s overused, meaning some people are bored of including it in their writing.
  • It’s a bit generic and doesn’t have much personality behind it.

So, “dear” is correct to use in your writing. But that doesn’t mean you should limit yourself to using it as your only option! In fact, there are plenty of other synonyms available.

Keep reading to learn how to say “dear” in a professional way. We’ve gathered a list of some of the best alternatives to show you what’s going to work well in your writing.

What to Say Instead of “Dear”

  • Esteemed
  • Hi
  • To
  • [Name]
  • Respected
  • Honored
  • Valued
  • Hello
  • Hi there

1. Esteemed

Another word for “dear” in an email is “esteemed.” Now, you might not have come across this before, but that doesn’t mean it’s incorrect.

As a matter of fact, it’s a unique and exciting twist to include at the start of your email.

So, it’s a great way to be formal and polite when introducing yourself to someone (whether you know them or not).

For the most part, people will use a word like this in a formal letter or email. It works best if you’re inviting guests to an event.

Of course, since it’s quite a formal phrase, it works best when inviting people to a formal gathering. For instance, you can use it to welcome clients who you’d like to attend.

It might be worth reviewing this sample letter to learn more about it:

Esteemed Client,

We would be more than happy to welcome you to our event on Friday.

Please let us know as soon as you’re able to whether you’ll be free.

Carla Rogers

2. Hi

You can also use “hi” to mix things up. Of course, this one comes with a more friendly and conversational tone.

With that said, it’s still suitable to use in formal writing.

Generally, it’s a good term to use as a greeting. As far as email greetings go, “hi” (along with “hey” or “hello”) tends to be a popular choice when you know the recipient well.

Try it when contacting a coworker. It shows that you’re happy to discuss something with them and want to be as friendly as possible.

Also, this email sample will help you to understand it better:

Hi Maxwell,

Do you have any more information for me regarding these changes?

I’d like to make sure we’re all on the same page before continuing.

Best wishes,
Suzanna Bracken

3. To

Next, you can simplify things by using “to.” Generally, this term allows you to start a friendly letter.

It shows you’re happy to talk to someone, even if you don’t know who’s going to read your letter.

For example:

  • To Whom It May Concern
  • To Hiring Manager

As you can see, you can use “to” when you don’t know who might be receiving your letter. It’s a good opportunity to introduce yourself formally when you’re trying to be polite and respectful.

Generally, people avoid using something like this when they know someone well. Therefore, it works best in formal letters or inquiries to unknown parties.

You can also review this letter sample to learn a bit more:

To Whom It May Concern,

I hope this letter finds you well.

I’d like to know more about the opportunity listed on this website.

Best wishes,
Carl Mank

4. [Name]

Did you know you can simply use someone’s name as another way to say “dear”?

Yes, that’s right. You don’t have to write “dear” at all. In fact, if you want to be direct and to the point, this synonym is an excellent one to go for.

Feel free to use this when contacting an employee.

After all, the phrase itself is quite snappy and bossy. Therefore, it’s going to be best utilized when you are in a position of power over someone.

That’s why we recommend using it when you’d like someone to listen to what you have to say. Employees will often pay closer attention if you start an email with something like this.

Check out the following email sample to learn more if you’re still confused:


I need you to get this work completed by the end of the day if possible.

Please let me know if that’s something you’ll be able to do.

Best wishes,
Russell Broad

5. Respected

Next, we recommend using “respected” as another way to say “dear.”

This is a great way to help you mix things up that sounds formal and respectful.

So, most people will really appreciate seeing something like this in a letter or email.

Of course, some would consider this word a bit over the top. After all, it implies that you have a great deal of respect for the recipient, so it won’t work well unless you’re speaking to a client or customer.

Generally, the more you respect someone and the more formal you want to sound, the better this synonym becomes.

Check out the following sample letter to learn a bit more about how it works:

Respected Ms. Jenkins,

I’m glad we could discuss more about these changes during our meeting.

I hope we’ll be able to meet again in a few weeks to see where we’re at.

Kyle Blessing

6. Honored

If you’re still wondering how to start an email politely, perhaps “honored” will work for you.

After all, it’s polite and respectful. It’s also quite unique, meaning not many email recipients will be used to hearing something like this.

Therefore, if you want your emails to stand out, you might benefit from writing this at the start of them.

Of course, it’s still limited as to who you can use it on.

For example, you can use it when writing to a business partner. It shows you want to pay your respects in some way.

So, you can review this example to learn more:

Honored Ben Dickinson,

Please let me know when you’re available to meet with me.

I’ve got a few ideas that I’d like to run by you to see if they work.

All the best,
Zoe Jones

7. Valued

You can also be unique with “valued.” It’s another good word for “dear” that helps you to mix things up in your writing.

Generally, this works well when talking to employees.

After all, using this implies that you value your employees and want them to know how happy you are to be talking to them.

For the most part, it’s positive and encouraging. So, it’s a good way to boost morale when you’d like to.

Also, this sample email will clear some things up:

Valued Jessica,

I’m glad you came to me with this.

I’ll look into it further to see if there’s anything I can do to help.

All the best,
Morris Blank

8. Hello

It’s also smart to write “hello” instead of “dear.” This is a great opportunity to keep things friendly and sincere when introducing yourself in an email.

For the most part, this works best when contacting your boss.

After all, it’s friendly, but it still retains enough of a formal tone to work well when you respect someone.

You can also review this example to learn a bit more about it:

Hello Miss Martha,

As you can see from the attachment, I have completed most of the work for you.

Please let me know if I need to do anything else.

All the best,
Bethany Shaw

9. Hi There

Finally, it’s worth using “hi there” if you’re trying to be a little less intense with your introduction.

However, if you’re going to use this, it’s best to avoid using the recipient’s name.

Therefore, it works quite well when emailing a new client. It shows that you’re trying to kick things off on a more friendly basis, but you still want to appear professional.

Most clients will appreciate this slightly less intense tone. After all, business emails can be overly formal and bland. So, it might be wise to set yourself apart when contacting someone new!

And here’s a helpful email example before you go to show you how it works:

Hi there,

I will be looking after your new account with us.

Please let me know if there’s anything specific you’d like me to go through with you.

Kind regards,
Jessica Thompkins