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At the end of every email, we use ending expressions like

  • Best regards,
  • Kind regards,
  • Yours sincerely,
  • Yours faithfully,

What other expressions can be added to this list?
Which ones should we use/not use in which cases?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by medica, tchrist, MrHen, phenry, Hellion Jan 17 at 17:54

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

15  
I think the best inspirations in this area are in URGENT MESSAGE FROM UNICEF REFUND DEPARTMENT style scam mails. They tend to use clean, proper, formal English that is almost nowhere to be found elsewhere anymore. –  Pekka 웃 Aug 12 '10 at 23:07
3  
"proper" English? Not sure how many of these you've seen (don't know how good your spam filters are ;-)), but quite a lot of them are horrible. ;D –  Jürgen A. Erhard Feb 7 '11 at 10:45
    
I don’t know about you, but I usually end my email with sᴇɴᴅ myself ☺. –  tchrist Feb 3 '12 at 13:10
    
"l8rs" is my preference –  Brad Oct 10 '13 at 20:17

20 Answers 20

up vote 38 down vote accepted

Putting formal salutations and complimentary closes into an e-mail tends to make them very formal compared to most e-mails.

In my experience working in the software industry, people who always put them into ordinary business e-mails come off as unnecessarily formal. Often foreigners have been taught in English class to do this, and the result is that I have been in meetings where foreign colleagues were ridiculed for e-mails constructed to a ceremonious level of formality.

I've just looked through my most recently sent business e-mails and the only complimentary close I ever use is "thanks", in about a quarter of my e-mails—mostly ones where I've asked the recipient to do something. The rest of them just end with a dash and my name. Looking through my received business e-mails, I see the same. Most e-mails have no complimentary close, and of the ones that do, nearly all of them have "thanks" or similar ("many thanks", "thank you", "thanks all", etc.). I got one "regards" in the last week as well (out of about 250 messages).

Your experience may vary, I suppose, depending on the culture of the company you work for.

A colleague of mine uses an e-mail template that begins every e-mail with "Heyas," and closes with "Humbly". He is a quirky fellow.

My personal recommendation (at least when corresponding via e-mail for business with Americans) is to err on the side of no complimentary close, or a very informal one. Using a formal complimentary close marks an e-mail as extremely serious and if used on an e-mail that is not extremely serious will make it seem out of place or even funny.

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9  
Then again, are those mostly company internal emails? When emailing a customer, or a person you don't know well, it may, depending on circumstances, be better to err on the side of using some complimentary close (e.g. "best regards", nothing more formal than that). –  Jonik Jan 5 '11 at 10:14
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@Jonik: maybe I'm not formal enough, but I'd just end with "Regards" –  Jürgen A. Erhard Feb 7 '11 at 10:47
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@jae: "Regards" indeed sounds fine, and respectful enough, to me. :-) "Best regards" was just an example (one that I've seen used a lot). –  Jonik Feb 7 '11 at 19:41
5  
The software industry is not representative of all industries. Technical professions in general tend to strike a much less formal note (in all ways) than other industries. There is also a lot of variation among technical professions. –  Marcin May 1 '11 at 9:52
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By contrast, other industries will tend to be much more formal than the software industry. I would say the question is pitched at "normal" professions (i.e. the other ones). –  Marcin May 1 '11 at 9:53

It seems to me that emails were originally designed to be written in memo style (hence From, To, Subject, etc.), for which it is standard to have no closing expression.

Of course, many emails are written more to resemble a letter, for which other conventions apply.

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"Yours sincerely" and "Yours faithfully" now sound somewhat formal and I'd advise against them unless your email is otherwise official or formal in nature.

"Best regards" (or just "Br") is, in my experience, extremely common in business emails, and a safe choice for many situations. "Best wishes," is also a common alternative that falls into this category.

For informal situations or when messaging friends, I'd probably go with something lighter, such as:

Cheers,

or

Take care,

:-)

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18  
You ended your answer with a closing you didn't say anything about ;-) –  Brendan Berg Aug 9 '10 at 15:07
9  
BR (for best regards) and KR (for kind regards) are divisive - some people (I include myself) consider not actually writing out the phrase in dull to be a strange combination between formality and shortcut-taking. If you want to be seen as respectful, take two seconds to spell it out; if you want to be seen as part of the in-group and no longer at the highest respect level, use a different closer. –  ijw Jan 31 '11 at 19:44
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@ijw, good point; I tend to agree. I've seen "Br," used quite often though, at least among businessy types here in the Nordics. –  Jonik Jan 31 '11 at 20:38

For our corporate emails, amongst different departments, we use the "neutral":

Regards,

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I usually use Best, for informal messages.

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1  
ok, but best what? –  Ed Guiness Feb 7 '11 at 13:16
    
@Ed Guinness: Just "best" is definitely "on my radar", even if it's not very common. –  Marcin May 1 '11 at 9:56

As a contractor I tend to just use:

Yours,

I like to think it implies their 'ownership' of me for that time.

The longer versions do feel too formal for e-mail, or too loaded with meaning.

Otherwise I use the ever popular:

Regards,

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That's what I use as well. –  MaxVT Jan 29 '11 at 18:21

For informal e-mails:

Best, or
Regards, or
Cheers,

For formal e-mails:

Kind regards, or
Respectfully, or
Sincerely,

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There seems to be a great uncertainty among business people on how to close - and address - emails. Looking at my emails, I have found that a lot of people simply have a template, which either has their name and position/contact details, or that preceded by "Regards"/"Kind Regards".

I personally dislike "regards", because it is obvious that no-one ever means it, and I also find it hilarious when I get a strongly worded email from a superior demanding some sort of action, which then ends in "Best Regards".

I have found that "cheers", is a very neutral ending, that is both informal and polite, and, in my experience, has been used a lot in business and informal contexts. Most of my close friends end their emails to me with "cheers", and at the moment, as I am interviewing for jobs, I have found that most recruiters end their emails to me with "cheers". (I am in New Zealand). One particular recruitment agent has been more creative than the others with her endings, and has used a different one with each correspondence. She has used

  • Cheers,
  • Best wishes,
  • Take care,
  • All the best,
  • Good luck,

I particularly like the last one in that list.

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Ah, NZ. Well, that explains the "Cheers" (and your gravatar, I guess) ;-) –  Jürgen A. Erhard Feb 7 '11 at 10:49
3  
Somehow I am not thrilled with the idea of all emails from my boss ending with "Good luck," :-o –  Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Feb 7 '11 at 11:10

Say nothing at the end. Unlike in Oral speech, the end of text signal can be carried out by the software.

On the other hand, scrolling is tedious on mobile devices, so you may want to save on text lines.

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I just use a dash:

-jeffamaphone

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In emails within the organization I tend to use no salutation and no closes at all.

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I usually end my mails with either "Thanks," or "Bye," depending on the context. For very formal mails I use just "Regards,". Only if you are writing official mails (e.g to customers) you should use a more complimentary form.

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I'll tend to use "Best regards," for anything even semi-formal, including correspondence with people in a business context whom I don't know very well.

When I use to work at NEC, it was considered the way you must sign off your emails when dealing with any of the Tokyo managers or engineers, and so it kind of just stuck.

For less formal, it'll be "Thanks" if appropriate, "Take care," or occasionally "Peace and chocolate."

Never ever put it in your email signature. A colleague of mine has "Regards," in his signature and it grates every time I see it. It may save you some typing, but it comes off as disingenuous. You're better off with nothing if you can't be bothered.

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3  
+1 I always customize my complimentary close every time I write an e-mail –  Kit Dec 1 '10 at 12:38

Business Email/Letter Closings:

  • Best Regards,
  • Cordially,
  • Good Wishes,
  • Many Thanks,
  • Most Sincerely,
  • Regards,
  • Sincerely,
  • Thank You,
  • With Confidence.

Informal Email/Letter Closings:

  • Adios,
  • Blessings,
  • Cheerio,
  • Cheers,
  • God Bless,
  • Gotta Boogie,
  • Grace and Peace,
  • Have Fun,
  • Health and Happiness,
  • Keep the Faith,
  • Later Vader,
  • Later Alligator,
  • Lots of Love,
  • Onward and Upward,
  • Over and Out,
  • Peace, Love & Happiness,
  • Peace & Blessings,
  • Rock On,
  • See ya,
  • Smell ya Later,
  • SMILE,
  • TA TA,
  • Toodles,
  • Your Friend,
  • Dream BIG.
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1  
+1 for answering the first question. –  Wok Nov 21 '10 at 17:15
2  
+1 for volume and variety. –  sarah Jan 1 '12 at 12:42
    
It looks like you are familiar with @speedyGonzales quoted source. But I see no linked references on your post. –  Mari-Lou A Jan 17 at 8:39

I would generally use the suitably neutral and meaningless "Regards," in a business email - sometimes changing to "Thanks," where appropriate (always keeping the comma in a very traditional manner). On a couple of line reply I may drop any salutation. I would keep to the formal "Yours sincerely/faithfully," in a business letter.

On personal emails I would vary widely from nothing to some elaborate blessing and anything inbetween depending on what I was saying. My favourite in Christian/church contexts is "Your brother", either followed by my name or just a full stop.

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'Regards' means nothing. 'Kind regards' at least means something. But regards simply means 'thoughts'. Those thoughts could be as diverse as 'I love you' or 'you smell like sauerkraut'. Cheers also smacks to me of informal pub language. Each to their own I guess. I smiled when I saw 'toodle pip' in the above list. I have resolved to use that more often.

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For formal email, just as in formal letter writing, the standard set of valedictions and advice apply.* Wikipedia and supporting sources cover this in great detail, so I recommend at least having a look: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valediction

For informal email, creative use of the valediction can actually add warmth and intrigue to your original statement.

As general creative advice, abusing the valediction to include additional material or postscript can be greatly entertaining for the reader within the appropriate contexts. But obviously, selection of these scenarios is left to your own judgmental heuristics and creative tastes for writing.


*_In fact, I'm surprised that a backdoor editor improving the OP's question has been the only person to use this term thusfar.

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Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law,

In the US military, we use Respectfully and Very Respectfully or even Hooah!. I use Respectfully when I am closing a formal letter to a peer. I also use Respectfully in any letter which might otherwise be considered informal, but in which I append my rank to my name, because the fact that I'm writing in my military capacity alone makes it formal in a sense, even if I'm just writing to inquire about some triviality.

I use Very Respectfully when closing any letter to a superior; when I need to convey the utmost formality and respect in my closing. These are military writing conventions, so I can not invent some flowery superlative closing to sound poetic and transcendent, because I would only appear unprofessional for not following the convention.

If I am writing an utterly casual letter in some military context, e.g., to inform my mother that I'm returning home in a week's time, I might say something corny like Hooah! Then again, this is really not important to mention; I would probably use Love, in that situation anyway.

In Thelemic correspondence, the convention is to open with 93 and to close with 93 93/93 as in:

93,

I will be attending the whatever-event on xxx date.

93, 93/93

Among my friends, I tend to use whatever closing comes to mind; I just pluck something out of my memory, like Hail Satan! or Praise Jesus! I sometimes open with a good old Latin Ave! or Salve.

There are my two cents. Of course, a long time has passed since that expression was coined (pun intended), so I suppose what I've written here would be closer to "my 50 cents."

Love is the Law, Love under Will

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Formally, in emails, most people find it acceptable to use

"Regards,

XYZ"

However, "Best Regards" would come next in accepatability & suitability for professional purposes.

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Most people? I've rarely seen it in American emails. Is this most people in British English? –  Mitch Feb 27 '12 at 13:47
    
Interesting. Yes, I would agree it's certainly true in Britain. What would Americans write? –  Urbycoz Feb 27 '12 at 14:23
    
I tend to use the exact same closings that I would in a written letter- when it's at all formal. If it's between friends, co-workers, or family a simple -Jim suffices. (An American) –  Jim Feb 27 '12 at 14:26
    
@Urbycoz: 'Regards' is not uncommon but 'thanks' or some variation is much more common (in my experience). Most common of all nowadays is simply ones name: no phaticism, maybe a dash. That's in the business setting. –  Mitch Feb 27 '12 at 14:37
    
I'm in the US, and I've used 'Regards' for years in the business setting. –  cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Feb 27 '12 at 14:57

I have found a very interesting collection of email closing. Hope you will like it. I usually end my emails with Regards or Happy hacking .

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Thank you @Mari-Lou A, fixed. –  speedyGonzales Jan 17 at 8:55

protected by RegDwigнt May 15 '11 at 16:20

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