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It seems as if ending a letter should be the easiest part. After all, the content has already been planned and written; only a handful of words need to be added.
However, if you've ever written a letter or an email, you know that deciding how to end a letter is sometimes harder than writing the letter itself. The different sign-off choices available may be confusing; what's the difference, for instance, between sincerely and yours truly? Is there any difference?
Although you probably know that you shouldn't end a letter to your mom the same way you'd end one to your boss, it might still be unclear what the best word choice is for each situation.
Each different phrase has subtle connotations attached to it that can shape your recipient's reaction. To understand how to end a letter, look at the following 12 farewell phrases and the situations in which they should be used.
Sincerely (or sincerely yours) is often the go-to sign off for formal letters, and with good reason. This ending restates the sincerity of your letter's intent; it is a safe choice if you are not overly familiar with the letter's recipient, as it's preferable to use a sign-off that is both common and formal in such a situation.
Ending your letter with best, all the best, all best, or best wishes indicates that you hope the recipient experiences only good things in the future. Although it is not quite as formal as sincerely, it is still acceptable as a polite, formal/semi-formal letter ending, proper for business contacts as well as friends.
Quite like the previous sign-off, best regards expresses that you are thinking of the recipient with the best of feelings and intentions. Despite its similarity to best, this sign-off is a little more formal, meant for business letters and unfamiliar contacts. A semi-formal variation is warm regards, and an even more formal variation is simply regards.
Variations to this farewell phrase include see you soon, talk to you later, and looking forward to speaking with you soon. These sign-offs indicate that you are expecting to continue the conversation with your contact. It can be an effective ending to a letter or email when confirming or planning a specific date for a face-to-face meeting.
Although these endings can be used in either formal or casual settings, they typically carry a more formal tone. The exception here is talk to you later, which errs on the more casual side.
This is an effective ending to a letter when you are sincerely expressing gratitude. If you are using it as your standard letter ending, however, it can fall flat; the reader will be confused if there is no reason for you to be thanking them. Try to use thanks (or variations such as thanks so much, thank you, or thanks!) and its variations only when you think you haven't expressed your gratitude enough; otherwise, it can come across as excessive.
Furthermore, when you're issuing an order, thanks might not be the best sign-off because it can seem presumptuous to offer thanks before the task has even been accepted or begun.
Having no sign-off for your letter is a little unusual, but it is acceptable in some cases. Omitting the sign-off is most appropriately used in cases where you are replying to an email chain. However, in a first email, including neither a sign-off nor your name will make your letter seem to end abruptly. It should be avoided in those situations or when you are not very familiar with the receiver.
This is where the line between formal and informal begins to blur. Yours truly implies the integrity of the message that precedes your name, but it also implies that you are devoted to the recipient in some way (e.g., your friend or, as a more antiquated example, your servant).
This ending can be used in various situations, when writing letters to people both familiar and unfamiliar to you; however, yours truly carries a more casual and familiar tone, making it most appropriate for your friends and family. It's best used when you want to emphasize that you mean the contents of your letter.
Take care is also a semi-formal way to end your letter. Like the sign-off all the best, this ending wishes that no harm come to the reader; however, like ending your letter with yours truly, the word choice is less formal and implies that the writer is at least somewhat familiar with the reader.
Though it may seem obvious, ending a letter in this way is informal, and, as the sign-off itself states, is to be used only when writing to your friend.
Cheers is a lighthearted ending that expresses your best wishes for the reader. Due to its association with drinking alcohol, it's best to save this sign-off for cases where you are familiar with the reader and when the tone is optimistic and casual. Also note that because cheers is associated with British English, it may seem odd to readers who speak other styles of English and are not very familiar with the term.
This ending (or the even simpler variation, love) signals a familiar and intimate relationship with the reader. In other words, this sign-off should be used only in letters and emails to people with whom you are very familiar.
Because this sign-off signifies "hugs and kisses," it's probably best that you reserve it for letters addressed to those closest to you. It's definitely not meant for the bottom of your cover letter!
Of course, there is more to understanding how to end a letter than just the sign-offs. You might be wondering how to punctuate your sign-off, what to include in your signature, or what P.S. stands for at the end of a letter or email.
When writing your sign-off, it's important to remember to use proper capitalization and punctuation.
Only the first word should be capitalized (e.g., Yours truly), and the sign-off should be followed by a comma (or an exclamation mark in some informal settings), never a period. Here are a few examples:
To ensure that these aspects are correct and that your sign-off is appropriate, consider asking for a second opinion from a friend or submitting your writing to an editor.
With emails, you have the option of creating a standard signature. Your signature will appear at the bottom of each of your emails. Ideally, it will make clear who you are and what your contact information is. For example, you may want to include the title of your position, or your degree(s), after a comma in the same line as your name:
Leslie Knope, Deputy Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation
In addition to including your phone number(s) and email address, consider adding the street address of your office. Reflect on the value of linking to your social media profiles (provided they are maintained with your professional life in mind).
If you are considering adding a signature to your personal email, which might be used for both business and personal communications, deciding what needs to be added is a little more complicated. Once again, include your necessary contact information, but only include information you think your recipient will need. After all, you don't want to overwhelm your reader with information.
A P.S. (or postscript) comes after your sign-off and name. It is meant to include material that is supplementary, subordinated, or not vital to your letter. It is best to avoid postscripts in formal writing, as the information may go unnoticed or ignored; in those cases, try to include all information in the body text of the letter.
In casual and personal correspondences, a postscript is generally acceptable. However, try to limit it to include only humorous or unnecessary material.
So with these letter-ending techniques explained and your letter-ending vocabulary boosted, finishing your next letter or email should be no problem!
All the best,
The Scribendi Team
Image source: Freddy Castro/Unsplash.com
Writing a cover letter is a challenging task; one that can mean the difference between landing your dream job or receiving a candidate rejection letter. By following our cover letter example, you are well on your way to writing a proper cover letter and landing that dream job.
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How to Write an Awesome Cover Letter Closing Politely request an interview; don't demand one or say you'll call the office in the coming.
Business letters are used to prospect for new clients, outline terms for contract negotiations, and follow up on meetings. Many modern business letters are sent digitally. Regardless of whether a business letter is sent by email or postal mail, close the letter using accepted business practices.
Business letters should always be professional and polite. Ending a letter by thanking the person for her time or stating that you look forward to discussing things further is acceptable. At times, a more friendly remark such as saying, "I look forward to meeting you at the conference" is appropriate. Even though the tone is friendly, the remark is brief and thus meets acceptable business standards.
Other ways to end a letter include offering to answer questions or provide more information based on the contents of the letter. When it comes to sales letters, try to avoid a hard close. You want to intrigue a prospective client to call or meet with you. For example, closing with "I'm happy to give you a demonstration of the software and a free trial. Let me know if you are interested" accomplishes this goal.
A complimentary close is a word or short phrase typed immediately before your name at the end of the letter. Several phrases are commonly used for the complimentary close in business. "Sincerely" and "Regards" are common. If you already have a business relationship with the other party, "Best wishes" and "Kindest regards" are appropriate. If the letter is going to someone you respect or is a high-level executive above your own company stature, "Respectfully yours" demonstrates that respect.
Never get too personal with business letters. These become part of a company archive and might be passed on to other people in the company. Even if they remain between the sender and recipient, you don't want to risk offending someone by overstepping boundaries. For example, using "Fondly" can be misinterpreted as a desire for a relationship outside the business.
Don't end letters with language that is overly assertive. A letter should continue the dialogue with the recipient. Ask for the next meeting but don't say, "I'll stop by your office on Tuesday," if you haven't been invited. Instead, ask when would be a good time to meet again.
Other notations at the end of a letter can include enclosures, courtesy copies or postscripts to other people. These notations are located under the signature block. Enclosures, often abbreviated as "Encl.," state there are relevant attachments to the email or items included in the envelope for review. Courtesy copies, abbreviated as "CC," list the names of other recipients in alphabetical order. A postscript, commonly indicated as "PS," is the last idea often seen in sales letters as the most compelling reason to buy now.
With more than 15 years of small business ownership including owning a State Farm agency in Southern California, Kimberlee understands the needs of business owners first hand. When not writing, Kimberlee enjoys chasing waterfalls with her son in Hawaii.
You’ve written an amazing intro and compelling body copy that perfectly highlights your achievements, but you’re having a hard time making it through the final stretch — “How in the world do I end this cover letter?” you might be thinking to yourself. The truth is, closing a cover letter is a difficult task for many job seekers. There’s a lot of pressure because, sometimes, the cover letter is the only piece the recruiter will read.
If you want to land an interview with your cover letter, you don’t want to sound vague or wishy-washy. Your cover letter should illustrate why you are the best fit and how you will help the company or organization reach success. However, when writing the closing paragraph of your cover letter, it’s easy to have a passive voice, because you don’t want to appear overconfident. For example, if you say, “I look forward to hearing from you,” that’s great — but that alone doesn’t seal the deal. The closing paragraph of your cover letter must be one of the strongest elements because it is the last impression you leave in the reader’s mind.
Here are five phrases to include in the final paragraph of your cover letter that will help you seal the deal for your next interview.
Strong cover letter closings are enthusiastic and confident. You want the reader to have the impression you are truly passionate about the position and working for their company. This statement will also illustrate your ability to fit into the company culture and how your personality and work ethic is exactly what they’re looking for.
How to Write a Cover Letter
It’s always a good idea to explain what you find attractive about working for the company and how you want to bring your passions to the table. By doing this, you can illustrate how much thought you dedicated to applying for the position and how much you care about becoming a part of the company.
By adding this piece to your conclusion, you will be able to add some flare and excitement to your cover letter. The reader will become intrigued by your enthusiasm to “hit the ground running.” Employers look for candidates who are prepared for the position and are easy to train. Therefore, this phrase will definitely raise some curiosity and the reader will want to discover what you have to offer for their company.
Remember, you want to make it clear in your cover letter how the employer will benefit from your experience and qualifications. You want to also express how your goal is to help the organization succeed, not how the position will contribute to your personal success.
How to Master the Art of Bragging Like a Pro
The most essential part of your closing is your “call to action” statement. Remember, the purpose of your cover letter is to land an interview. Don’t end your cover letter saying you’ll hope to get in touch. Explain to the reader the exact day and how you will be contacting them. When you state you will be following up with the employer, make sure you do it!
Remember, the closing of your cover letter is the most important element that will help you land your next interview. By crafting a strong, confident and enthusiastic closing paragraph, you will leave the reader feeling like you would be the best candidate for the position.
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It's the "complimentary close" or "complimentary closing" that business writers are wondering about, A letter informing someone of a job layoff might use " Sincerely yours. . George starts with "Please" and ends with "Thanks"--very polite.
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.
Explore this Article Finish the Letter Decide On a Closing Consider Adding a Postscript Article Summary Questions & Answers Related Articles References.