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"Yours sincerely" vs "Best regards" vs "Regards" vs [...]

Asked by [ Admin ]

How do you close your letters/e-mails? Since it probably depends on the recipient, please state the latter in your answer (co-worker, friend, customer, etc.).

PS: Feel free to edit the tags if you can find better ones!

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3 answers

2

j. d. o'conal [ Editor ]

One's choice of valediction depends entirely on the formality of the correspondence and needs to fit with the salutation.

I use 'Kind regards' for most correspondence.

From formal to informal:

Salutation: Dear Sir (or Madam, or Sir/Madam)
Valediction: Yours faithfully, (new line) K. L. Howard

S: Dear Mr Johnson
V: Yours sincerely, (new line) K. L. Howard

S: Dear Mr Johnson
V: Kind regards, (new line) K. L. Howard

S: Dear Matthew
V: Kind regards, (new line) Kevin Howard (or just Kevin)

S: Matthew (or Hi Matthew, or similar)
V: Cheers (or similar) (new line) Kevin
NN comments
donald remero
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I’m completely uncomfortable with this. Quite frankly, what I use personally, I would not actually recommend for most people in most situations. Formally speaking, the most neutral choice are “Sincerely” and “Regards”. Everything else is rhetoric. You must simply know your audience to know whether you will sound like a ridiculous pansy or an abrasive toad.

j. d. o'conal
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I do not believe that in any but the most staunchly casual environments, ‘Kind regards’ would be inappropriate. Indeed, I would encourage you to find a book which recommends anything less formal for business or professional correspondence. Of course, it depends entirely on your relationship with the person to whom you are writing. Finally, my post was not intended to make you feel comfortable, but to share my educated opinion on this matter.

donald remero
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For the record, I do not object to “kind regards.” I think it is an excellent choice. Please do not mistake my illustration of the general point that your comment inspires as a particular refutation to your own specific circumstances. I do, in fact, appreciate your expanding the question of the formality of the salutation by reference to the formality of the name by which you sign the document —thus illustrating the extremely diverse array of appropriate answers to literally any rhetorical situation.

donald remero
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Realization: the original question (“How do you do it?”) is by definition open. I recognize I am (assertively) interpreting it as a prompt for the development of a general recommendation. I’m not sure that is a bad thing, given that it prompts competitive dialog. Nevertheless, I don’t want to be completely misunderstood either. I find J.D. O'Conal’s practice entirely reasonable and am perfectly willing to vote it up on that alone — no question.

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2

donald remero [ Moderator ]

If there were ever a question of style (qua style), this is surely it.

Or, more precisely, it is a question of pure rhetoric, based on how you perceive your audience.

We may, indeed, postulate different audiences and, thereby, debate the merits and the demerits of the approach, but the bottom line is that there is no correct answer and that the best answer will always be the answer that 'works' the best.

Nevertheless, getting down to bare bones, "Sincerely" and "Regards" are equally the safest salutations for international English. Everything else must be based on the specific situation.

NN comments
j. d. o'conal
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I’d be interested in seeing your sources for this assertion that ‘“Sincerely” and “Regards” are equally the safest salutations for International English’ as I have not found this to be the case.

You are correct when you state that it is a question of style, but a great deal of language is. Perhaps it is an issue of etiquette best dealt with elsewhere.

donald remero
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“my post was not intended to make you feel comfortable, but to share my educated opinion on this matter.” —Agreed. =)

preets
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A lady I knew in HR and a bunch of people at work used to sign off with “Warm Regards”. I never quite felt comfortable with it.

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