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I'm British and have lived and worked in Spain for several years. I continuously correspond in English with people from many countries. I find that emails written by people from non-English speaking countries commonly end with 'Best regards', while this valediction is uncommon in correspondence with native speakers.

The questions, answers and comments proposing the use of 'best regards' on this forum and other places from my Google search appear to be posted predominantly by people with non-English sounding usernames.

I have nothing against 'best regards', but my recommendation to advanced English users in non-English speaking countries who want their emails to look as 'native' as possible is to substitute 'best regards' with 'kind regards' or 'best wishes'. Is this a valid suggestion?

  • I think it's a great suggestion. But I don't know how to get an objective count as regarding usage in emails and elsewhere. – Arm the good guys in America Sep 6 '17 at 18:45
  • I've just had a look through my most recent correspondence with native UK English speakers. Ignoring the 'cheers', 'best wishes' and 'thanks', then 'best regards' beats 'kind(est) regards' by about 2 to 1 – user255905 Sep 6 '17 at 20:08
  • @dave thanks for this. Do you have more 'regards' than 'best regards'? – grateful Sep 6 '17 at 20:46
  • I live in the US, and most of the "official" mail I get ends in "best regards" or "sincerely". They seem interchangeable to me. Then there's schmaltzy stuff like wedding invitation often have "warm regards" or "warm wishes". On the other hand, I've never seen "kind regards", and it sounds unprofessional and even slightly rude to me. It sounds Victorian, or like the writer is bragging about their own kindness. BTW, those non-English user names could easily be American, non-English names are very common here. – filistinist Sep 6 '17 at 21:53
  • As a non-native speaker and an occasional "best regards"' user I have to say that to me, both "kind regards" and "best wishes" oftentimes sound too fake and insincere, especially if it's just a business e-mail sent to someone you've never spoken to before. Then again, it took me a while to embrace the whole idea of adding filler text that bears no semantic meaning to your correspondence. – undercat applauds Monica Dec 1 '17 at 5:09
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I frequently use 'Best Regards' ...

...and I am a native speaker of American English.
The following is my personal opinion, but I've been told I'm pretty smart. ;-)

Best Regards - I find to be just right for people you like, but don't know that well, as in, most co-workers, salespeople, vendors, etc.
Best Wishes - Too floral for my taste when dealing with business correspondents.
Kind Regards - Same as above.
Kind Wishes - The worst of both!

Another option, that I've started using over the last 5 years or so is Cheers, which strikes me as chiefly British, but I like the sound of it. If I know the person well, I might use that instead.

Additional thought:

When I revisited this answer, it occurred to me that I actually, almost always, end corporate correspondence with:

Thanks,
Jim

This is done just above the rule above my 'Signature' from MS Office, with my full name, title, etc.

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This article from a few years back, "57 Ways to Sign-Off on an Email" has made the rounds in my professional and personal circles a few times. My own opinion differs from it in a few places, but I would agree with it that "Best Regards" is a bit more formal than "Best" as a sign-off.

In general, more slangy and informal speech patterns read as more native. A formally schooled student of English knows not to start sentences with coordinating conjunctions. But! A native speaker has no compunction about defying grammatical norms, especially if it helps make the meaning clear, yeah?

It depends on their needs. In my own work, it's considered acceptable to start emails with "Hi," and end them with "Best," or "Cheers,". But in a lot of jobs, that wouldn't be okay.

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  • I had a friend who would use "Toodles" as a sign-off. Variety is the spice of life. (Oh, by the way, that bit about ungrammatical prepositions? Hogwash.) – J.R. Sep 6 '17 at 21:15
  • @J.R. Right you are. A sloppy choice of example. I swapped in a new one, which is actually incorrect. – sirosen Sep 7 '17 at 21:33
  • Egads! You don't believe that nonsense, do you? A formally schooled student of English knows the difference between grade-school pedantic "rules" and actual grammatical practices. – J.R. Sep 7 '17 at 21:41
  • I would never start a sentence with a coordinating conjunction in a formal text. All grammar is convention, and this is a convention that has taken root quite strongly. I also don't consider this particular rule to be nonsense: in many scenarios, starting sentences with "And" belies a kind of sloppiness -- if your ideas are tightly linked, you shouldn't need that word at all. But, of course, there are cases in which I can be convinced otherwise. Does that make this rule any less of a rule? IMO, no. – sirosen Sep 7 '17 at 21:55
  • There is a very good blog on this very topic. (And, evidently, there's a hundred dollars waiting for you if you can show that it's really a rule, and not a Zombie Rule perpetuated by your grammar school teacher.) – J.R. Sep 7 '17 at 22:03

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