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When writing a letter it typically starts out "Dear..." and then has the content, then before you sign it you might have a formal or informal (depending on who you're writing to) sign off, for example:

blah blah blah letter content blah blah.

Kind regards/Many thanks/Best wishes/Cheers!/etc

Does this final closing portion of your letter have a name?

For comparison, the middle portion of the letter is the body and the opener could be described as a greeting or, more accurately, the salutation. but I don't think this last bit could be called a farewell as such.

So what should it be called?

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As an aside, the middle portion of a letter is usually called the "body" of the letter. The opening is commonly called the "Salutation" though "Greeting" is also acceptable. –  Armstrongest Feb 2 '11 at 21:03
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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I have always heard the "Sincerely, Joe Smith" part of a letter called the closing.

(And the part you describe as the greeting ("Dear Mr. Blahblah") I'm used to calling the salutation.)

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Yep, in fact, when searching Google, you would search for "How can I best 'close a letter'" Described as a closing here: wisegeek.com/what-should-i-include-in-a-personal-letter.htm Some ways you can close a letter: 5steps2english.com/forums/… –  Armstrongest Feb 2 '11 at 21:00
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As one example of the usage in practice of those terms, Microsoft Word has had built-in styles with those names for years. –  Brian Nixon Feb 2 '11 at 21:06
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It's called a valediction or a complimentary close. The opening phrase is called a salutation.

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This. +1. –  RegDwigнt Feb 3 '11 at 9:09
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I would describe it as a "valedictory"..."farewell words".

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