Emails that closed with a variation of thank you got significantly more responses than emails ending with other popular closings.
Whether you're writing a letter to a Spanish-speaking friend or preparing a formal business letter, the greetings and salutations in this lesson can help give your letters credibility.
In English, it is common to begin both personal letters and business correspondence with "Dear ___." In Spanish, however, there is more variation depending on how formal you want to be.
In personal correspondence, the equivalent of "dear" is querido or querida (the past participle of querer), depending on the sex of the person. Querido is used for a male recipient, querida for a female; plural forms queridos and queridas can also be used. In Spanish, it is the rule to follow the greeting with a colon rather than the comma used in English. Use of a comma is seen as an Anglicism.
However, querido is too casual for business correspondence, especially when you aren't a friend of the recipient. Use estimado or estimada instead. The word literally means "esteemed," but it is understood the same way as "dear" would be in English:
Spanish doesn't have a true equivalent of the English courtesy title Ms. (and in Spanish, the distinction between señora and señorita, traditionally translated as "Mrs." and "Miss," respectively, can be one of age rather than marital status). It normally is fine to use the courtesy title of Sra. (the abbreviation for señora) if you don't know whether a female recipient of the letter is married. Good advice is to use Sra. unless you know the woman prefers Srta.
If you don't know the name of the person you're writing to, you can use the following formats:
The Spanish equivalent of "to whom it may concern" is a quien corresponda (literally, to the one responsible).
In English, it is common to end a letter with "Sincerely." Again, Spanish offers a greater variety.
Although the following closings for personal letters may sound overly affectionate to English speakers, they are quite commonly used:
The following are common with close friends or family members, although there are many others that can be used:
In business correspondence, the most common ending, used in much the same way as "sincerely" in English, is atentamente. That can also be expanded to le saluda atentamente or les saluda atentamente, depending on whether you're writing to one or more persons, respectively. A more casual ending that can be used in business letters is Cordialmente. Longer salutations include saludos cordiales and se despide cordialmente. Although this language may sound flowery to English speakers, it is not unusual in Spanish.
If you are expecting a response from a business correspondent, you can close with esperando su respuesta.
As is common in English, the salutation is typically followed by a comma.
If you're adding a postscript (posdata in Spanish), you can use P.D. as the equivalent of "P.S."
¡Mil gracias por el regalo! Es totalmente perfecto. ¡Fue una gran sorpresa!
Eres una buena amiga. Espero que nos veamos pronto.
Thanks a lot for the gift! It's totally perfect. It was quite a surprise!
You're a great friend. I hope we see each other soon.
Lots of hugs,
Estimado Sr. Fernández:
Gracias por la propuesta que usted y sus colegas me presentaron. Creo que es posible que los productos de su compañía sean útiles para minimizar nuestros costos de producción. Vamos a estudiar la propuesta meticulosamente.
Espero poder darle una respuesta en un plazo de dos semanas.
Dear Mr. Fernández,
Thank you for the proposal that you and your colleagues presented to me. I believe it is possible that your company's products could be useful for reducing our production costs. We are going to study the proposal thoroughly.
I hope I can give you a response within two weeks.
When you're writing a business letter or email, it's important to close your letter in a professional manner. Here's how to end a letter, with examples.
The general format for a business letter is an opening salutation followed by the body of the letter and finalized with a closing. However, there are dozens of potential closings that may be used to end a business letter. Before choosing the closing that is right for your particular letter you should consider the tone of the letter as well as your personal history and past interactions with the letter's recipient.
Business letter closings such as “Sincerely,” “Very Truly Yours” and “Respectfully Yours” are considered to be formal, impersonal closings and are commonly used when sending business letters to recipients with whom you do not have established personal relationships. Using one of these formal closings in a letter to a business associate with whom you have a friendly relationship is acceptable; however, it may seem somewhat rigid and impersonal given the history of your relationship.
Semi-formal closings such as "Best regards," or "Cordially" are often used when sending business correspondence to a lateral associate with whom you have an established rapport. A semi-formal closing is not usually appropriate when sending a letter to your boss or a new business contact as it may be viewed as too personal or uprofessional.
If you maintain a friendly, casual or lighthearted relationship with the recipient of your letter it is appropriate to use closings such as “Best Wishes” or “Best of Luck” when concluding your letter. Again, these are relatively casual, nontraditional closings that should be reserved for friendly business associates rather than formal business contacts.
MORE THAN once, I’ve experienced writer’s block at the end of an email. Yes, I have a few fall-back phrases (Love, Hugs, or See you soon) for notes to the family and close friends, but other email recipients leave me stumped.
How should I close a letter to a magazine editor, a volunteer coordinator, or the church secretary? Sometimes, the old stand-by (Sincerely) simply falls too stale and flat.
If you’ve ever shared this dilemma, fear not! Famous writers, entertainers, and politicians offer us a wealth of ideas in their published letters. I present to you (tongue-in-cheek, of course) these nifty phrases in five fabulous categories!
Ask yourself, “Who am I in relation to the reader?” If you’re an adoring fan or a steadfast subscriber, don’t be shy—say so! To get your wheels turning, ponder these samples:
What could leave a better final impression than an active –ing verb? In the following examples, the writer included either a copy of his book or a synopsis of his story (a nail-biting experience for any author!).
If hitting “send” leaves you in agonizing suspense too, consider something like this:
The sign-off options are virtually endless when you choose the prepositional phrase. Are you “in a great hurry” or “on top of the world”? Perhaps you’re feeling “beyond grateful” or “down with the flu.” You might even try one of these on for size:
At last, we have discovered the perfect solution to writer’s block: ask your child to make a list of –ly adverbs. Choose one and insert into your letter. Voilà!
These famous figures found a variety of adverbial solutions to letter closings:
These final selections are tried and true. Note the second-to-last for letters filled with mirth and goodwill, and the last for letters full of annoyance.
I hope you enjoyed learning about different—and often over-the-top—ways notable figures have signed their letters. If you’re on the hunt for more practical, modern-day letter closings, Chloë Ernst offers many creative suggestions for “proper goodbyes.”
What is your favorite way to sign off?
Daniella Dautrich is a WriteShop alumna and a graduate of Hillsdale College. She and her husband fill their home with books on writing, literature, and computer science. Daniella blogs at www.waterlilywriter.wordpress.com.
With all the new technology of today, the golden age of handwritten letters may “As always” or “As ever” is useful in closing a letter to someone with whom you.
When you're writing a business letter or sending an email message, it's important to close your letter in a professional manner. The ideal ending for a business letter conveys your thanks and respect, without eccentricity or an overly familiar tone. Although it may seem old-fashioned, most business professionals expect written correspondence – whether via a letter or an email – to be written and formatted in a conservative manner.
Not only does this mean that you should focus on neutrality in your letter’s appearance (avoiding the use of colorful paper, brash logo designs, and artistic fonts), but it also means that you should employ a very low-key, unnuanced, and professional closing phrase. The best-case scenario is that the hiring manager, colleague, or connection won't even notice the closing.
The following are a list of letter closing examples that are appropriate for business and employment-related correspondence.
Similar to business or employment-related correspondence, military correspondence also has set standards for the closing (also called a “valediction”) which one should present before one’s signature.
If your company conducts business with the military – or if you are applying for a job in the military – you should be aware that “Very Respectfully” (often abbreviated as “V/R”) is used in written and emailed correspondence between military members.
It is established etiquette by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, United States Department of Defense, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Air Force that the closing “Respectfully yours” be reserved for the President of the United States (according to U.S. Army standards, this also extends to the first lady and the President-elect).
Letters to all other dignitaries simply use the valediction, “Sincerely.”
Follow the closing with a comma, space, and then your name.
Anything that you'd use in an informal communication is inappropriate for a business letter. This includes slang, text-speak, emojis, and anything off-color or casual.
If you're used to communicating mostly with friends, family, or even co-workers you've worked with for a long time, an appropriate closing for a business letter will probably feel pretty stilted at first. Don't worry about it – your colleague or business associate won't feel that way when he or she reads your correspondence. What seems unnatural to you will feel respectful and polite to the recipient.
Formal communication is on the wane in modern life, but there are still times when it's the only correct way to reinforce a connection or convey information. If you're applying for a job, looking for a recommendation, or expanding your network, err on the side of formality.
Remember, you're hoping the person who receives your letter has no memory of your closing at all. The last thing you want is a hiring manager going into an HR meeting with your cover letter in hand, asking the team if they want to meet with "Mr. Kindest Personal Regards."
It might be tempting to leave out the closing when you're communicating by email, but don't give in to that temptation. Although no-closing emails are perfectly fine for everyday communication with your friends and teammates, they'll seem brusque – or worse, unprofessional – to people you don't know as well.
You should also use a business letter closing when you're corresponding with someone professionally about an important issue, whether it's a new project or a job opportunity.
How do you know for sure whether or not to use a closing? One good test is to ask yourself whether this email is more akin to an instant message/text or a business letter. If you're giving your teammate a quick update on an ongoing project, a formal closing might not be necessary; if you're throwing your hat in the ring for a promotion, it definitely is required.
Your Email Address
Your Phone Number
Don't let the slightly archaic feel of a formal business letter tempt you into using flowery, outdated language.
When all else fails, and you're still not sure, err on the side of caution and include it. You'll never go wrong by being too polite and respectful.
Are you unsure about the closing salutations that you should use when you are drafting a business or personal letter? Your letter closing needs.