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Capitalizing Complimentary Closes

Guess which is the error:

Best Regards,

OR

Best regards,

Graphic explaining that in a complementary close, only the first word is capitalized. For example, "Best Regards," is incorrect and "Best regards," is correct.

The rule is to capitalize only the first word of a complimentary close. This rule applies wherever you use a complimentary close: emails, letters, notes, and even texts.

These are all correct:

  • Best regards,
  • Best wishes,
  • Warm wishes,
  • Kind regards,
  • With deep sympathy,
  • Sincerely yours,
  • My best,
  • All best,
  • With thanks,

The complimentary close isn’t a title or a heading, so there’s no need to capitalize all the nouns or important words–just the first word, whatever it is.

Note: Sometimes people refer to the complimentary close as the salutation. Don’t let them fool you. The salutation is the greeting.

See this article for tips on capitalizing common message greetings, such as “Good morning“.

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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.

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