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Syntax Training | Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

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September 16, 2013

Comments

Marlene

Ack! Where were you yesterday morning, Lynn? I ended an email to the newsletter team (of all the groups)at my church with "Remember what we prayed for,".

It was sincere and casual, but incorrect nevertheless. It seems, where good writing is concerned, we always have something to pray about.

Best,

Marlene

Mary

Some of your suggestions are fine, but I disagree with others... Best sounds a lot like Thanks and Best Wishes are generally what you say to the groom at a wedding. Most of my emails are to co-workers when I have to ask them to send me a document or perform a task, so saying Thanks seems appropriate for me. Regards and Warm Regards are rather old fashioned don't you think? Cheers and Ciao sound corny... at least to me. Still looking for a way to sign off on emails, so for now I'll stick with Thanks. Thanks!

Jennifer

I agree with Mary. I normally agree with your posts but not this one. I don't see one thing in it that makes me think Thanks is inappropriate or convinces me something else is better. I use Thanks as a close and like it. I do not like Warm Regards or Regards. Both of them feel like an inapproriate greeting. The one person I know who uses Regards isn't a native English speaker - I always assumed it was some sort of cultural quirk that he used it. And Sincerly? Please, this is business, rarely is someone sincere. And With thanks vs thanks? These are the same to me.

Generally, I do appreciate people giving me their time in reading e-mails and considering whatever my request is, even if the request is just an implied one to read what I've sent for information.

Thanks!

Jennifer

I also see a conflict with your normal guidance to reduce words to the fewest necessary to convey the point and the advice here to switch from the short, sweet and clear "Thanks" to "Thanks and extra words."

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Marlene, thanks for that excellent example of a sentence in a close. Blessings to you!

Lynn

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Mary and Jennifer, thank you for your honest, strong reactions to my suggestions. Reviewing them, I see your points completely, and I will revise the post.

As people inside an organization, you have experiences that are different from mine. Thanks for sharing them!

Lynn

Lisa Marie

"Thanks" itself as a close does not really bother me, but sentences like the one mentioned above do seem silly- I agree that they should just be part of the body of the message.

This is getting slightly off-topic, but I just need to share that I am saddened by Jennifer's comment about "Sincerely."("Please, this is business, rarely is someone sincere.") I actually do use "Sincerely" as a close, and I do so because I mean it! Why do we think that business and sincerity must be mutually exclusive?

Anyway, I think there is room for personal taste in the closes that we all choose. I would not use "Regards", but I feel it fits for those I know who do use it.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lisa Marie, thank you for your comment and for that useful jog off topic. I do not use "Sincerely" as a close in email, but I certainly feel sincere!

Thanks for mentioning personal taste. It's an important factor in choosing a close.

Lynn

Jennifer

I had to laugh when I came back to check comments and the post was extremely different from what I remembered reading. I thought "I must have read very quickly and without comprehending. My comment was completely invalid." Whew. Glad to see you revised it and that I don't need to schedule a doctor appointment for my failing executive function.

Lisa Marie: I was a bit flip with my Sincerely comment. There are many people I work with where Sincerely would be believable but, sadly, there are many others where I would roll my eyes and mutter to myself. I'd like to think if we worked together, we would both be able to use "Sincerely" and believe it.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Jennifer. I am delighted to reassure you that your mental ability is intact! Thanks for commenting and for replying "sincerely" to Lisa Marie.

Lynn

Milissa

I close 90% of my business email with "Sincerely", because I am sincere.

Lisa Marie

Thanks for your reply, Jennifer! I understand where you are coming from- as much as I want to be an eternally optimistic idealist, there are unfortunately some people who are not so sincere. But I trust that you and I could work together and still be sincere!

Adam B.

Hi Lynn,
Great site. I love it. I love it so much that I was inspired to do something I almost never do - post this comment and the following questions:

What do you think of...

... dropping the "With" in "With many thanks," so the close reads: "Many thanks,"? How about the punctuation in the previous sentence?

... my use of the short or "en dash" in the last sentence of the first paragraph?

... these ellipses? Would a colon then bullets, numbers or "em dashes" (i.e. —) be better? How about simply repeating the words[,] "What do you think of" at each bullet? Should the comma in square brackets (above) be included in this introduction of a quotation?

Many thanks,

Adam

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Adam. What a stream of questions! Let's see how well I sort through them.

1. To me, "Many thanks" is a statement. I would follow it with a period, or an exclamation point if I wanted to show great enthusiasm. "Many thanks" does not appear in any of my reference books as a complimentary close.

2. Your "en dash" appears to be a hyphen, which does not suit your sentence. Why not try two hyphens, which would serve as an em dash, or a colon? A colon would work well with your introductory "something I almost never do."

3. I do not recommend the use of ellipses to introduce items in a list. As you suggest, a better choice is a colon followed by bullets, numbers, or dashes.

4. "What do you think of" at the beginning of each point would be clear but repetitive and wordy.

5. You don't need the comma before your words within quotation marks. No one said them. You are merely using the quotation marks to indicate which words you are referring to.

That covers your allotment of questions. Thanks for the challenge!

Lynn

Susan

Thank you for sharing your insights into proper closes for communications. Perhaps as a function of my generation, I have used "Sincerely," for most of my life. I had read that it was becoming an archaic sign-off, and it was important to me not to appear out of touch with modern life and culture. I am encouraged to hear it is still considered polite and not outdated. Suspecting the motives of those in my workplace may be a blind spot for me. When I sign with sincerely, I too mean it. But "Thanks"? Guilty as charged. Maybe even for the horrifying "Thanks with a bit more words". "Warm regards" wasn't mentioned....is this such a pariah that I should completely perish the thought? And finally, congratulations on your treatment of Adam's query. It seemed as though your credibility was justified as you thoughtfully answered what I interpreted as a test of your knowledge. Thank you for the wonderful dialogue and for the tremendously upbeat site. I enjoyed every bit of it!

Sincerely,
Sue

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Susan, thank you for your thoughtful comment. I loved hearing from you.

"Warm regards" is acceptable as a close. It should be reserved for situations in which you have or are building a warm relationship.

You might be interested in my book, "Business Writing With Heart," whose appendices include an extended section on today's greetings and complimentary closes. It is available on my site at http://syntaxtraining.com/heart.html and through other booksellers.

If you don't already receive my free monthly newsletter, "Better Writing at Work," you can subscribe here: http://syntaxtraining.com/signup.html

Best regards,

Lynn

168.192.l.l

I also see a conflict with your normal guidance to reduce words to the fewest necessary to convey the point and the advice here to switch from the short, sweet and clear "Thanks" to "Thanks and extra words."

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Good observation. The point I wanted to make is that sentences such as "Thank you for the opportunity to attend" are not complimentary closes. They are closing sentences.

"Thanks" is fine on its own as a quick close, just the way you might say "Thanks" as you leave someone's office.

Lynn

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