Closings for E-mails and Letters

Many people visit this site in search of answers to their etiquette questions. One popular query is “How do I end a letter?” Another is “Is ‘best regards’ acceptable?”

Graphic illustrating what complementary closes are. It is appropriate to use these at the end of an email. Some examples include: Sincerely or Best Regards.


The Complimentary Close

It’s the “complimentary close” or “complimentary closing” that business writers are wondering about, those phrases that come before the signature in a letter. The complimentary closes below are listed from (1) very formal to (14) very warm. 

  • Very truly yours,
  • Respectfully,
  • Yours truly,
  • Sincerely yours,
  • Sincerely,
  • Best regards,
  • Kind regards,
  • With thanks,
  • Best wishes,
  • Cordially,
  • Warm wishes,
  • Warm regards,
  • Warmly,
  • Affectionately,

All of the complimentary closes above are acceptable. You can choose among them based on your taste and the type of business letter. A letter informing someone of a job layoff might use “Sincerely yours.” Congratulations on a retirement might end with “Warm wishes.” If you’re not sure which close fits your letter, choose “Sincerely.”

“Best regards” has become more and more common, and it may soon eclipse “Sincerely” in popularity. “Regards” is the minimalist version. I don’t use “Regards” because it seems curt rather than friendly.

“Cordially” means “warmly” and “sincerely,” but the word feels too reserved to me. I prefer “Warm wishes” or “Sincerely,” which both feel warmer. But it’s a question of preference–not appropriateness. I simply don’t prefer “Cordially.”

“With many thanks” has its proper place. However, the words “Thank you” are not a complimentary close–they are part of a sentence. They belong in the body of the letter fleshed out and with a period at the end, like this example: “Again, thank you for helping me with the auction.”

Do not use “Kindly” as a close. If you like the word kind, choose “Kind regards.”

Of course, “Affectionately” would be right only in a very close business relationship. “XOXO”? Only if you dare!


The proper close for a letter of sympathy or condolence is one of these, or something similar:

  • In deepest sympathy,
  • With our condolences,
  • In sympathy,
  • Very sincerely,
  • Wishing you comfort
  • My warmest regards
  • Thinking of you

As you have probably noticed, only the first word of the complimentary close is capitalized, despite the title of this post.

In business writing classes, people have asked, “Do I have to write Sincerely if I can’t stand the person and I don’t feel sincere?” The answer is yes. “Sincerely” is a much more gracious close than “Spitefully” or “With strong malice.”  (Note: I am joking. The two previous closes would never be used in a business letter.) Besides, “Sincerely” communicates positive energy and a knowledge of proper etiquette.

Here are a few other situations and their appropriate proper closing suggestions:

To express gratitude

Wish to express gratitude? Here are a few options for when you would like to say thank you:

  • Much appreciated!
  • Many thanks!
  • Thanks / Thank you for your consideration,
  • Thanks / Thank you for taking the time,
  • Thanks / Thank you very much,
  • Thanks / Thank you for your efforts,
  • Thanks / Thank you for your work on this,
  • Thanks a ton,
  • Thanks a bunch,
  • Thanks for reading,
  • Thanks a million!
  • My sincere appreciation/gratitude/thanks,
  • I appreciate your (help, work, dedication, guidance, advice, etc.)
  • I sincerely appreciate ….,
  • My sincere appreciation/gratitude/thanks,
  • My thanks and appreciation,
  • Please accept my deepest thanks,
  • Thank you for everything you do,
  • Thanks for being awesome!
  • Much obliged,
  • I owe you one,
  • Appreciatively,
  • Your help and support is greatly appreciated,
  • With gratitude,

Casual and Friendly

If you wish to sign off in a causal and friendly way. Note that the last two are really only appropriate amongst close colleagues.

  • Have a great day!
  • Have a good one!
  • Have a good evening,
  • Have a great weekend!
  • Here’s to a great (day of the week)!
  • Enjoy the rest of your day!
  • Hope you have a nice day,
  • Enjoy the rest of your week,
  • Cheers!
  • Be well,
Posted by Avatar photo
By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English.

129 comments on “Closings for E-mails and Letters”

  • Hello lynn,

    This blog of yours is great!
    I am a student from the netherlands, forced to do job-applications in english, beceause the man doing the meetings is italian.
    This was very helpfull!
    Thanks again,


    Daan Beijers

    p.s. I got the Job!

  • Bari, please scroll through this blog under the category “Etiquette.” You will find examples of greetings. They are often called “salutations.”

  • Dear Lynn,
    I have the following question:
    I wrote like this to an employer whose name is Em-LastName Em-FirstName (Em-means Employer’s)

    Dear Sir:

    Yours faithfully,
    my-LastName my-FirstName (i.e I wrote my full name)
    I received a reply from the employer like this:

    Dear Mr. my-LastName

    With Best Wishes


    The question is in my reply, what should I use:

    For example: Should I follow the same way the employer addresses and end the letter?
    Thank you.

  • Steven, you do not need to do exactly what the employer did. In fact, his capitalization and lack of punctuation on the closing are both not standard (that is, considered wrong).

    I do not know which country you live in, but in the U.S. and Canada “Yours faithfully” is old-fashioned. I would suggest “Sincerely” or “With best wishes,” which the employer used.

    I am a bit perplexed about “Your last name, your first name.” You should both type and sign your name with first name first. Maybe I misunderstood what you meant.

    As the employer becomes less formal, you may become less formal–unless you are 21 and the employer is 45+. In general, follow the employer’s lead.

    I hope that helps!


  • I was once told by an Englishman that he was taught never to sign an anonymous Dear Sir or Madam letter “sincerely” but rather “yours faithfully”. So this may be English style.

    Personally, I am a fan of simply signing “best wishes”, but am beginning to doubt my choice as I have a lot of ESL students who tend to copy my signature and this tends to be a bit too greeting card-like for more formal correspondence. So it was with interest that I landed on your comments regarding with best wishes. Maybe I’ll switch to warm or fuzzy wishes to make clear that I’m a bit off…

  • Hello Lynn,

    I was looking for some inspiration, when I came across “Spitefully” or “With strong malice”. I have not laughed for a long time as hard as about this. “Sincerely” is definitely better! Thanks for not only great tips but also to make me laugh!


  • Hello Lynn,

    I have a question in regards to a complimentary close when writing a letter to a customer who has presented a dishonoured cheque to our company.

    It is standard practice to give the customer 2 weeks to rectify the problem before we take the matter further.

    Is it okay, considering the customer is receiving the benefit of the doubt for the 2 weeks that a mistake may have occured, to close the letter with “regards” (even though you don’t like it). A collegue suggested “yours faithfully” but I haven’t heard of that closing in a long time.

    Any suggestions?

  • Katherine, I think “Regards” is fine in your situation. In fact, I am warming to that closing for general use. “Yours faithfully” seems old-fashioned, in part because I have never seen it used in business.


  • Dear Lynn,
    How long has “warm wishes” been around? For me that sounds very personal and I would never feel comfortable ending a business letter with it. How common is that?

  • Hi, Jojo. I don’t know how long “Warm wishes” has been around. It is not for use as a closing to a stranger. It’s for warm relationships. I use it when I close letters or emails to clients I know well, especially when I am saying thank you to them.

    My best,


  • Hello Lynn,

    I have a question about how to end a Birthday Card for my English teacher he is from England.

    As he is my favorite teacher,I would like to use “Your loving student” as a closing.

    Could you give me an advice?
    Thank you.

  • It is very thoughtful of you to send or give a birthday card to your teacher from England. You can close with one of these phrases: “Best wishes,” “Warm wishes,” or “Very best wishes.”

    “Your loving . . . ” is not appropriate to a teacher. It suggests devotion and intimacy that are a step beyond the teacher-student relationship. It would be correct for your husband, husband to be, father, grandfather, uncle, or brother (or for women in similar roles).


  • We learned recently that a neighborhood friend/acquaintance has been diagnoses with a terminal illness. Can you provide an example of an appropriate closings for a handwritten note that I am leaving in a card?

  • The closing of such a delicate, important message should complement what you say in it. Here are some possibilities:

    Warmest wishes,
    Wishing you peace,
    All my best wishes,
    Thinking of you,

    I hope those help.

  • What about when someone ends an e-mail with “thanks”.


    Please check price and availiability of the parts listed.


    I find it a bit presumptuous. However, if it accepted these days, I guess I’ll live with it. What d’ya’ll think?

  • Rick, I think that use of “Thanks” is fine. George starts with “Please” and ends with “Thanks”–very polite.

    If it seems presumptuous to you, think of it as “Thanks for considering my request.” Or if George is your boss, “Thanks for handling this.”


  • George,

    Like you, I find a closing ‘Thanks’ presumptuous at worst and carelessly dismissive at best. I am disappointed that Lynn should find it acceptable, but not surprised as the standard of communication in email is generally appalling, ‘ain’t it?

    However I am surprised that Lynn should think ‘Yours faithfully’ has fallen out of general usage in business correspondence. I see it used daily in letters to this office, and it is certainly the correct ‘complimentary close’ when corresponding with ‘Sir’, ‘Madam’, or even ‘To whom it may concern’.


  • George, I beg your pardon – I meant Rick!

    (Curses, the morale high ground is lost through carelessness once again…)

  • Hi, Chris. Where do you work that such a formal close as “Yours faithfully” is typical?

    Here’s what Peggy Post, the etiquette expert, has to say about the closings in her book “Emily Post’s Etiquette”:
    “‘Faithfully’ and ‘Faithfully yours’ are rarely used but are appropriate on very formal social correspondence–letters to a high member of the clergy, a member of the U.S. Cabinet, an ambassador, or anyone holding an equally important post.”

    I don’t correspond socially with such a lofty group–and I have never seen “Yours faithfully” used in business correspondence.

    On the subject of “Thanks,” when we get irritated because someone closes a message with that word, something else is going on. It’s not about the close–it’s about the relationship.


  • Hi Lynn,

    Here in the UK it is correct to close business letters where the name of the recipient is not known with Yours faithfully. Where the recipients name is known you would end Yours sincerely. The use of punctuation here, eg Dear Mr Smith, and Yours sincerely, seems to be classed now as wrong – although I still use it myself. It seems though, that in electronic communications any ending will do. So…

    All the best,

    Les H.

  • Les, thanks for your input. I always appreciate learning what is correct across the oceans.

    I am looking for a manual to help me with UK writing style and will probably get the “Oxford Style Manual.” However, I do not know whether it includes advice on business letters and email. Can you recommend a guide?


  • Dear Sir or Madam,
    I am writing in the hope that you will able to give me some information about busines letter.
    It would be better if you send me an example for me.
    I have to write a letter to my manager (who is on an extended business trip)
    I would like to inform him that I wish to apply for a post in another department of the company.
    Also, I have to explain the reason why I am applying.
    Also, I have to ask him to recommend me for the post.
    I hope you can help me.
    Yours faithfully,

  • Interesting discussion. I routinely use ‘Yours faithfully,’, but I am an English Doctor. The standard rule here is that if you do not know the recipient or only know them formally (for example, you would not address them in person using their Christian name), ‘Yours faithfully,’ is more suitable than any of the other options. That said, a review of the letters on my desk and they are all signed off with ‘Yours sincerely,’.

  • I am making out Christmas cards and have a question. I would like to say “Merry Christmas and Warmest wishes to all from OUR NAME” Do I capitalize wishes, or even warmest?


  • I need to write a short dedication to a business partner on the event of initiating a new program. The note will be placed on a small gift. Will it be okay to write:
    We value our partnership with you and look forward to a rewarding successful program.

  • Dear Lynn,

    Thank you very much for this concise, but a very practical blog.
    In 4 minutes, which I have spent reading the text above, I have learned something valuable.

    Many thanks and best Christmas Wishes!


  • Hi, Brinda. “Greetings” is more likely to be a message opener than a close. I wouldn’t use it at the end of an email.

    Vaibhav, I am sorry I missed your message. “Thanks and regards” is acceptable. However, I would prefer stating a sincere thank-you in a sentence rather than just tacking one onto a close.

    Note that “regards” is not capitalized. Only capitalize the first word of the close.


  • Dear Lynn,

    If I’m ending an email with: “Have a good day”, what’s the best punctuation?

    Thanks in advance,


  • Mary, your coworker is wrong. Ask him or her to cite a reference book published in the last 25 years to support that semicolon. Your request should end the discussion.


  • Hi,

    A co-worker insists that using a semi-colon is acceptable in a complimentary closing. I disagree and feel that a comma is the appropriate punctuation after Sincerely yours. I’d love to hear your opinion.

    Sincerely yours,


  • What is the write word to start an email, to be sent to more than one recipient.

    “Dear Concerned”
    “Dear Concerns”


  • Omer, I would not use either of your choices.

    The appropriate greeting depends on the audience, your relationship with them, and your reason for writing. Here are three possibilities:

    Dear Team,

    To all program attendees:

    Hello, everyone.


  • Omer, if you mean senior executives, “Dear Executive Team” would probably work.

    If you mean senior citizens, “team” would not work. You would have to think of a category that suits your readers.


  • Omer, you asked whether “Dear Team” would be appropriate, and you added that they are senior executives.

    I suggested “Dear Executive Team.” Is there some other information you are seeking?

    If they regard themselves as an executive team, the greeting is appropriate. If they do not regard themselves as a team, “Dear Executives” may be the better choice.


  • Lynn,

    Can I end up with “Great day(s)” “Good day(s)” or “Blessings”
    in business Emails.


  • Hi, Alexis. In the United States, “Blessings” is not something you will see at the end of business emails–unless you work in a church or a spiritual organization. I do not know whether people in other countries use such a close.

    “Have a great day” and “Have a good day” are acceptable closes on friendly emails. “Great day” and “Good day” do not seem complete.


  • Hi Lynn,

    I want to write a formal Christmas message to some top managers. Can you please give me an example?

  • Onur, think about what you want to say to the top managers. Then look at my posts “Holiday Greetings Made Easy” and “Sending Holiday Greetings” for examples of appropriate language. (Insert those titles or the word “Christmas” in the search box on this site, and you will find the posts.)

    Good luck!


  • Dear Lynn
    Hope things are well, thanks for your kind response you have been indeed very help full.

    At work, sometimes I have to send a single email to more than one reciepant(addressed to venders to my company), can i start my email with “Gentlemen”, if not kindly suggest otherwise.


  • Hi, Omer. The gentlewomen you write to will not appreciate “Gentlemen.” You might try one of these:

    Dear Vendor,
    Dear Business Partner,

    Please search this blog under “email salutations” for more ideas.


  • Birenda, I suggest this version of your message:

    “Hearty congratulations and best wishes to ______ Bank for your 25 years of banking excellence.”

    1. You can use “glorious,” but it is a strong word. “Excellence” may be enough to express the positive feeling.
    2. Note the spelling of “excellence.”
    3. Leave out the quotation marks, of course.

    What a good idea to send a note!


  • Hello Lynn,

    Thanks for your website. There is a lot of very helpful information here.

    I started wondering whether it is acceptable to use ‘Best regards’. To be honest I have never seen an email using ‘Yours sincerely’ – but I still feel slightly unsure when I’m writing to someone I don’t know.

    I think I’ll stick to ‘Best regards’.

    I do have one question: in the UK most people use Ms, Mrs, Mr without the full-stop. Would you consider that acceptable? Mrs. seems old-fashioned to me.

    Thank you very much.

    And now my favourite complementary closing:

    I avail myself of this opportunity to renew to you the assurance of my highest consideration,


    (From Fowler’s excellent guide to Modern English, found at University of Birmingham, Dr(.?) Mark Lee)

  • Hi, Chris. Thanks for stopping by with comments and questions.

    “Best regards” is fine as a complimentary close. The formal “Yours sincerely” is not common these days, even in letters. I would not use it in email.

    I am afraid I am not an expert on communication in the UK, so I cannot comment on the absence of full stops with Mr, Ms, and Mrs.

    The complimentary closing you shared from “Fowler” is wonderful. Thank you!


  • When following up with someone after a networking event, can you please tell me the best way to congratulate someone on the pending birth of a baby girl (the couple’s first child)? Many thanks.


  • Hi

    I would like to know if it is ok to use Yours sincerely and best wishes together at the end of a letter to a client.

    In England we use yours sincerely when we know the name of the person we’re writing to, but my boss would like to use best wishes as well. Is that allowed? I thought

    Yours sincerely,

    and best wishes

    his name

    seemed a little odd. Can you tell me the best way to get both closes together, or should we just use one or the other?

    Thanks in advance


  • Hi I am enrolled at a community college and my teacher said you cannot use sincerely in a conservative business letter. I disagree. Is it okay to use sincerely in a conservative business letter?


  • Hi, Sara. One of the rules of business writing is to write for your audience. That means if your teacher asks you to write a “conservative” business letter with a closing different from “Sincerely,” then that’s what you need to do for the assignment.

    The closings in the January 2006 post (above) are listed from more formal to less formal. It appears that your teacher wants you to use a more formal close.


  • Dear Lynn,

    Thank you for your informative article! I’m also rather impressed that you follow a comment thread on a 6 year old piece – it is truly an enduring topic. After having learned that nobody* uses “respectfully” as a complimentary close, I latched onto various types of Regards. Here are my questions:

    1) Varying internet folks warn that “Warm regards” is not appropriate for someone you have never corresponded with; the suggestion seems to be that “Kind regards” or “Best regards” are better, and that “Warm regards” should be saved for a closer associate. I rather like “Warm regards,” is it ok to use?

    2) Business correspondance increasingly seems to involve rapid back and forth emails. I feel a little silly putting a full closer at the end of every email. What about dropping to “WR, (line break) David Harvey” or just “-David Harvey”. On a related note, is dropping “Dear John” at some point in the email conversation ok?

    3)Titles: I work at a big(ish) company, and certainly not everyone knows who I am. A full version of my close to an outside person might read:

    Warm regards,
    David Harvey
    Junior Systems Administrator
    Shakespeare Theatre Company

    What are your thoughts on titles in signatures? Should I drop the company name when I’m emaling other internal employees? Should I include title the first time I email someone and then drop it from subsequent correspondance?

    Thank you in advance for your consideration.

    Warm regards,
    David Harvey

    *My research suggests that people in the military use Respectfully. Senior officers to lower officers I think? But as neither I nor anyone I write to is in the military I’ve dropped using it.

  • Hi, David. Yes, interest in this topic goes on and on.

    Here are my answers:

    1. I believe “Warm regards” is not appropriate until you know someone, until you have a warm connection. This is my opinion–not a fact.

    2. When you are emailing back and forth, you can drop both the greeting and closing. I normally restart the greeting if I have not communicated with someone for at least a few hours.

    Feel free to use just “David” as a closing signature if you are on a first-name basis with your reader. I normally sign “Lynn” even in back and forth messages.

    3. You can drop the company name when you are emailing people within your company, as long as you are writing from your company email account. In an email thread, you can drop your signature block after your first message. However, I would keep the signature block for all future messages.

    Keep in mind that people will forward your emails to others who do not know you.

    I believe I have answered all your questions. Have fun!


  • Dear Lynn
    I have written a book which is doing well but a correspondent has pointed out a catalogue of errors, most of which concern use of hyphen versus joined word, versus separate words. For example, hand picked or hand-picked, jack knife or jacknife.
    Is there a golden rule for this problem? Please note I am referring to England, not America.

  • Hi, Graham. I would not worry about hyphenated or unhyphenated words if your book has already been published. Hyphenated words change over time, and what is correct today may be outdated tomorrow.

    There is no golden rule that applies in all situations. However, my informal rule is to ask myself if the words work separately, for example, “hand picked successor.” The person is not a “hand successor,” so “hand-picked” must be hyphenated.

    In addition to my informal rule, I use a current dictionary. I would imagine you would use the “Oxford English Dictionary.”

    When you write a new edition, hire an expert copyeditor to check the punctuation and usage.

    In the meantime, ignore people who focus on things like hyphens. No doubt you were writing about important ideas. That’s where the focus should be, unless the errors actually get in the way of your meaning.

    Thanks for your question. Good luck!


  • Dear Lynn,

    Thank you for this article and thanks to the readers for their comments. I just received an email from a potential employer about when they plan to make their hiring decision. I have corresponded with this person via email sever times and was just flown out to their campus for a face-to-face interview. The potential employer signed their email with “best wishes” and their first name. In many previous emails they had just signed their first name, or used “thank you” and their first name. When I saw them use “best wishes” for the first time I panicked. I began to read into those two words (like reading tea leaves) and immediately thought that “best wishes” meant “good luck with your future” or “thanks, but no thanks.” I hope I’m wrong. From the thread above, I think I’m over reacting.

    My best,

  • Lynn,

    Thank you for the tips and humor.

    I was working with someone, who I hated because she was getting my boss to demote me, and I found that not replying to her emails worked very well, instead of faking politeness. But when I did respond, I just put a “-” and my name.

    Now I had a client that annoyed me, and I started writing extra formal and warm emails to her, and it really helped our communications.

    I figure it’s all about picking your battles, and starting off on the right foot with all clients and colleagues. So thanks for giving me more ways to do it, so it never gets stale.

  • Hi, Lynny. Thank you for telling us about the warm emails working well with your annoying client. I am glad you had that positive experience.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment.


  • Would you ever use; Accordingly as a closing in a business letter, I saw it and thought it looked strange….

  • Hi, Lynny. Thank you so muuch for telling us such an information. I have a question; Would you ever use”with best wishes for you and his firend” in letter writting

  • How do you hyphenate three-word phrases? Example – viability dye-negative cells OR viability-dye-negative cells?


  • Hi, Camille. It depends. If the cells are “viability cells” and “dye-negative cells,” you need just one hyphen: “viability dye-negative cells.”

    However, if the word “viability” is part of the adjective “dye-negative,” you need two hyphens.


  • Hello,
    I need to know the difference between Best/Kind regards and Warm regards. Is it a question of “how close” you feel to the person you are writing to? A colleague, who lives in Germany, sent me this in his reply when I wrote “Kind regards”. When I asnwered back, I wrote as he did it, but I really don’t know the difference. Could you let me know, please?
    Thank you in advance.
    All the best,

  • Hello, Cecilia. “Best regards” and “Kind regards” are more neutral than “Warm regards.”

    As you can guess, “Warm regards” communicates more warmth. However, the difference is subtle, and many people may not even think about it.

    I hope my response helps.


  • Hi, Diane. If you are referring to the closing, you might use these:

    Best wishes,
    Best regards,
    Sincerely yours,

    If you are wondering about the final sentence, it depends on what comes earlier. You might use:

    “I look forward to hearing from you.”


  • Hi Lynn,

    i see some emails add a “,” at the end of ‘Regards’ in the compliementary closing, while some others don’t. Can you kindnly advise which is more appropriate or are both acceptable?

    Many thanks.


  • Hi, Matt. In the United States and Canada, we use a comma after the complimentary close. In England, they do not, according to people who have commented on this blog.

    I do not know the norm in other English-speaking countries.

  • Hi Lynn

    i have read all witting which is above it is really helpful for me well done you have done a great job, can you help me on this too, some one send me this (( hope you are doing well and best wishes for your exam )) what should i write respectfully for replaying her


  • Dear Lynn

    I want to ask my teacher to email me how much did i take from the exam he told me i will send u by email but he didn’t and i really need to know how much did i take please help me to send him a polite email to ask him this, thank you
    yours sincerely

  • Khoshi, I don’t know how you address your teacher (Mr.? Ms.? Professor?). You might try the message below.

    Dear Professor,

    I will be very grateful if you will let me know how well I did on the exam.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Sincerely yours,


  • Hello Lynn, Please could you possibly advise how to write to send best wishes for an event when I am attending this (along the lines of ‘very much look forward to meeting you at the event and ….’. This would be very much appreciated. Best regards, Jennifer

  • Dear Lynn,

    Thank you for this resource. I sincerely agree that “warm” or “warmest” does not belong in business correspondence closures, unless/until a close relationship exists; otherwise, it sounds too personal or too shmoozey (if you know what I mean).


  • Hi Lynn,

    Is it grammatically correct to finish a letter with

    Your friends at (business name)?

    I am particularly interested in the positioning of comma after “From”.


  • Hi, Maria. It is not correct to finish a letter with “From” with or without a comma.


  • Dear Lynn,

    Will you kindly tell me what the valediction “N/R” means. I came across it on another site, had never seen it before, and wondered what it meant.

    Thank you in advance.

    Best Regards,

  • Jac, I am glad you found the explanation helpful.

    Khoshi, it depends on the context. If someone is expressing sympathy, you can respond “Thank you for your sympathy” or “Thank you for your kind thoughts.”


  • Recently, I’ve seen new closings that I don’t like at all in emails and letters. I am wondering if they are acceptable and when they started to be used? They are:

    “Best” and “I am”

    The “I am”, actually, isn’t new to me. I had a former boss who used to always put “I am,” “Your friend,” or “I remain,” “Your friend,”

    I always found that to be awkward and presumptuous. Maybe, it made him feel good about himself because he sent a lot of letters!

  • Hi, Kevin. Lately “Best” is being used quite a bit as a closing. Although I resisted it at first, I am warming to it as a quick, polite close.

    “I am” is very old-fashioned. I would not recommend it in business writing today, although some people do use it, as you noted.

    I apologize for the delay in responding to your comment. Somehow I overlooked it.


  • Hi Lynn,
    How about “Cheers”? I’m a chemist who works among oceanographers, who tend to be an informal group, and often receive emails closed this way. I now find myself using this with others who I have met at least once.

  • This has been such fun to read and I was pleasantly surprised to find that when I went to your website you are just across the water in Seattle. (I’m in Port Angeles) Thank you for all the helpful information and for responding to each person.

  • Dear Lynn,

    My out of office message reads as follows:

    Good morning / Good afternoon,
    Thank you for your email.
    I will be back in the office on … and will contact you as soon as possible after that date.
    If you need immediate assistance, then please contact my colleague, Mr …. He will be only too pleased to help you. His email address is: …
    With best wishes

    I have two questions:
    a. Do you feel that the complimentary close ‘With best wishes’ is appropriate?
    b. Can ‘he will be only too pleased to help you’ be misunderstood? Do you feel that it is a bit old-fashioned?

    Best wishes

  • Hello, Christine. Your message is good. It covers the necessary points.

    Here are suggestions:

    1. Eliminate the greeting. Starting with “Thank you for your email” is concise and polite.

    2. Eliminate the “only too pleased” sentence. You have no idea what the writer is seeking. Your colleague may be not at all pleased to help, depending on the writer’s need. “Only too pleased” does not come across as sincere.

    3. “With best wishes” is fine as a close.

    Best wishes,


  • I work in a boys’ grammar school and send emails to parents, teachers and students.

    The boys always address me to my face and through email as Ma’am. The teachers use my first name and the parents sometimes use my first name or those I don’t know often begin Dear Ms Bennett.

    I have a standard signature for my emails which reads
    Kind regards,
    then my full name Sandra Bennett and job title etc.

    Should I ever sign my emails from “Ms Bennett”? I used to think it was incorrect to use one’s title in a complimentary close.

    (I am in Australia if that makes any difference “seeyaround mate”!)

  • Hello, Sandra.

    I don’t know whether things are done differently in beautiful Australia. In the US, emails are not not signed with a courtesy title such as “Ms.”

    You can include “Ms.” in your signature block if you want people to know how to address you in formal situations. Here’s an example:

    Kind regards,


    Ms. Sandra Bennett, Principal


  • Just wanted to say thanks for your site (very nice and informative site)that I came across on the fist page of Google when I was looking to differentiate between using the appropriate “complimentary closing” to end a letter. I always had reservations of ending my closing e-mail letters with just simply “Regards” is seems to impersonal and lonely by itself. You clarified it and it did not occur to me to add Warm after Regards. I hesitated to use “Best Regards” because everyone seems to be using it on my respond e-mails that I receive and did not want to use it without meaning it. I felt it was to redundant to use. You give a practical and easy to understand way of explaining how to use words. Great resource and reviews. Thank you!

  • Dear Lynn,

    I have always capitalized only “Best” when ending my emails with “Best regards.”

    A highly respected colleague at work capitalizes both “Best” and “Regards.”

    I have read in other blogs that it’s generally accepted to just capitalize “Best” but capitalize both if it’s a formal communication.

    Can you please clarify which is grammatically correct and/or provide an explanation if both are acceptable?


  • Lynn,

    Another clarification request:

    I have a colleague that puts an apostrophe after their greeting but before the recipient’s name (i.e. “Hi, Lynn”) and then a coma again after the name.

    I noticed that you do the same when responding to posts but the majority of us writing to you – do not.

    Are we all doing something wrong?


  • Hi, Anne. All of my style guides capitalize only the first word of the complimentary closing.

    “Emily Post’s Etiquette” includes very formal closes such as “Most respectfully” and “Very truly yours,” to be used in messages to the President of the United States and other dignitaries. In all the closes, only the first word is capitalized.

    I would ask your highly respected colleague to cite the style guide he or she follows. It is possible that the individual simply had a misguided instructor.


  • Thanks for the advice.

    On “faithfully” versus “sincerely”, I was also taught that sincerely was inappropriate in certain circumstances. Namely, when you have had no prior contact with the addressee. The rule of thumb is:

    “It is impossible to be sincere to someone who has never encountered you before”

    Initially, you are appealing to them to have “faith” in your honest intentions, and you can subsequently be “sincere” once you have established a relationship.

    This is what I have been taught, anyway.

    Yours faithfully,

  • Hello, Greg. I was never taught the lesson you learned, and it does not appear in any of my current style manuals.

    However, my “Handbook of Business Engish,” copyright 1914-1920, states this:

    “Sometimes in place of ‘truly’ it is permissible to use ‘Cordially’ or ‘Sincerely’–though these should usually be reserved for cases where there is an established acquaintanceship between writer and reader.”


    P.S. I apologize for the delayed response.

  • Dear Lynn,

    Thank you so much for the very detailed information, and thank you all those who commented.
    I have been corresponding with someone (a potential supervisor for a programme I plan to undergo, who I just met )recently via email and I used “Warmest regards” and “-Idara”. Now I see clearly how incorrect they’ve been. Good thing I found this blog! BTW he just used “Best wishes”.

  • Hello Lynn,

    I would like to ask you , when sending a business proposal what kind of Greetings I should write for the day


  • Hello, Palak. You may want to use “Dear” as in:

    Dear Mr. Singh: OR
    Dear Mr. Singh,

    If “Dear” does not seem like the appropriate greeting, please see my blog posts on greetings. Just put “email greetings” in the search box at upper right.


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