The Most Common Capitalization Error

Guess which is the error: 

Best Regards,

OR 

Best regards, 

In email after email (including two this morning), I find people incorrectly capitalizing the complimentary close. The rule is to capitalize only the first word of the 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.

Have other capitalization errors caught your attention? Please share them.  

Lynn
Syntax Training

15 COMMENTS

  1. Increasingly, in the headlines of news stories distributed online, every word is capitalized. Correct capitalization in titles requires a costly human editor. For this reason, apparently, many news platforms now simply capitalize every word.

  2. Thank you for this timely reminder. Currently, I am writing letters for admission into Grad School, and I caught this error on the rough draft of one of my own letters. Easy error to make – especially when we think we are trying to be ‘polite’ vs ‘grammatically correct’.

  3. I enjoyed this article and struggle with staff members who do not know basic capitalization rules when writing government documents. The most common capitalization error that I see at my government workplace is capitalizing common nouns to represent a proper noun. For example, staff will write, “The County will be requiring the use of blue ink on documents.”

  4. You can handle the subject line two ways:

    –Weekly Update on the Drake Project

    –Weekly update on the Drake project

    As you can see, the first uses traditional title capitalization.

    The second capitalizes only the first word and proper nouns that are always capitalized. This approach has become more popular as we type on our smartphones.

    I am a traditionalist and prefer the first approach although I appreciate the ease of the second.

    Lynn

  5. I find random capitalisation is a huge problem in business writing.

    Amongst people I train one of the commonest errors is to capitalise generic job titles. So they will write: The Captain stood on the bridge, rather than The captain stood on the bridge.

  6. When I am writing an email to multiple people, is it correct to write “Hi all”, or “Hi All”? I would prefer the first solution, but some of my colleagues disagree. Thanks

  7. Hello,

    Do I capitalize the word Records when I write the following: two people have joined the records team. Also do I say records’ submission and compliance. Not sure.

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