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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

4 Answers 4

up vote 10 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: Some ways you can close a letter:… – Armstrongest Feb 2 '11 at 21:00
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

I would describe it as a "valedictory"..."farewell words".

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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

Valediction would be correct although it is neither used as frequently nor as familiarly as the term, "salutation" (which describes the beginning greeting). I suppose we have E.B. White's "Charlotte" to thank for that.

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protected by tchrist Mar 1 at 19:10

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