Years ago in the New York Times, there was an advertisement for Mortimer Adler’s “How to Read a Book.” It pictured a teenager reading his first love letter. The blurb was, “How to read a love letter.”
The copy said this:
“This young man has just received his first love letter. He may have read it three or four times, but he is just beginning. To read it as accurately as he would like, would require several dictionaries and a good deal of close work with a few experts of etymology and philology.
“However, he will do all right without them.
“He will ponder over the exact shade of meaning in every word, every comma. She has headed the letter Dear John. What, he asks himself, is the exact significance of those words? Did she refrain from saying Dearest because she was bashful? Would My dear have sounded too formal?