Recently we covered some common salutations for letters and emails, as well as which salutations are appropriate for business and which ones are best reserved for personal correspondence. In this English lesson, we’re going to address how to end an email or letter. As with salutations, complimentary closings reinforce the tone of the correspondence that you are sending. A business letter with an overly-familiar closing might come across as rude while a personal email with an overly-formal closing risks appearing cold or distant.
The safest closing to use with any email or letter, whether formal or informal, is Sincerely, [Your Name]. When you don’t know the recipient well, have not spoken to him or her recently, or are writing him or her for the first time, use Sincerely. Submitting a resume, reaching out to a friend who you have lost touch with, or contacting a potential business client are examples of situations where Sincerely, is the best choice.
Formal and Semi-Formal Closings
Emails generally allow for a greater degree of latitude in your choice of closings than letters do. This includes professional emails. While Sincerely, should be your go-to choice for very formal business letters, everyday business emails can generally be concluded in a more relaxed manner. We’ve included a few examples below, but this list is far from exhaustive. The key to a semi-formal yet still professional complimentary closing is to avoid words that have overly-familiar or intimate connotations. Save those for personal letters and emails where you know the recipient well outside of work.
- Best regards,
- Respectfully yours,
- Yours truly,
- Thank you,
Informal and Personal Closings
Closings that imply or presume a close relationship with the recipient should be reserved for personal letters and emails. A few examples of such closings are provided below. As with the formal/semi-formal closings, this list is not comprehensive. When you are not sure if a personal closing is appropriate, either choose a more formal example or go with Sincerely.
- Your friend,
- Warm regards,
- With love,