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In British English, it is common to use "Yours Sincerely", but in American English, "Sincerely".

In valediction, the meaning is not the key, but what is common in a writing style. What about using "Yours", is it odd?

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4 Answers

I don't believe that it's odd, no. It may sound foreign to American ears, but, for the British, this type of succinctness is very common.

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I was taught to use "Sincerely Yours" and "Very Truly Yours", which I always thought was too intimate-sounding for business but it was de rigueur back in the 1960s and 1970s. I have seen "Yours" used more and more in recent times and seems quite ordinary and acceptable to my Midwest US, middle-aged eyes and sensibilities. :-)

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To end a letter with "Yours," is acceptable in some situations, less so in others. Much depends to whom you are writing and the purpose of your writing.

Generally speaking (British use), a letter ends with "Yours sincerely," if the receiver is known, i.e. it is addressed to him or her by name. This is the most common way of closing a letter formally.

If the receiver is unknown; i.e. "To whom it may concern," or "Dear Sir or Madam," then the convention is to end the letter with: "Yours faithfully,"

In less formal letters it is the custom to sign off with: "Best regards" or with the more impersonal, "Regards".

In more informal contexts where both the sender and the receiver have built a working rapport or even a friendship, then "Yours," is perhaps the safest option.

I am unsure if the same conventions applies to the USA, my gut response is to say; very nearly it is. Here is a wikiHow page: How to end a letter, which is definitely aimed at an American audience, and a BBC Writing Emails grammar writing guide which includes both British and American customs.

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You do not have to be a practising christian to use faithfully? –  mplungjan Jun 27 '13 at 17:12
    
@mplungjan I'm not sure if that's a joke or if you're serious. –  Mari-Lou A Jun 27 '13 at 17:20
    
I had a look at the etymology - so ok never mind :) –  mplungjan Jun 27 '13 at 17:27
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@mplungjan Surely, being faithful to (for example) your partner, doesn't require you to be a practising christian? –  TrevorD Jun 27 '13 at 17:36
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Actually, I think that I recall seeing that used as "Your Faithful Servent" which was a flowery way to be gracious and ingratiating in written correspondence. –  Kristina Lopez Jun 27 '13 at 18:09
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"Yours Sincerely" does sound slightly odd to my American ears, but I suppose I would not find it completely off if I saw it in a letter.

On the other hand, I've seen the word "Yours" included in several other forms of valediction:

  • "Yours Truly," amongst beloveds
  • "Yours in Scouting," amongst volunteer Scout leaders
  • "Yours in Brotherhood," amongst members of certain Fraternal organizations

And sometimes, just simply:

  • "Yours,"
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