I've tasked myself with writing more letters (of the dead tree variety); because of this, I was intrigued by a certain take on complimentary closes, whilst enjoying a re-read of Dracula:

Your loving



...no more just at present from your loving


Is there a name for this (admittedly subtle) variation on the usual complimentary close, wherein the signature is an extension of the close itself? I don't recall ever having seen this used in modern writing, but I'm curious as to when it fell out of favour. Naturally, it's rather hard to search for this sort of thing.

  • david copperfield also has some great examples of these =)
    – Claudiu
    Commented Oct 21, 2010 at 0:55
  • letter ending? I read it somewhere when I was learning English
    – Deprecated
    Commented Oct 22, 2010 at 16:17

1 Answer 1


Jon, I hope I've understood your question, and that I'm not just rambling :) I don't know the name you were looking for, but perhaps I can say a few words on why the more flourished sign-offs have all but disappeared.

It started to drop away in 1950 (plus or minus a few years).
Many things changed after WWII. There was a major cultural shift away from the strict disciplinarian ways of the authoritarian structures which were seen to have precipitated the terrible world-wars. Egalitarianism was the catch-cry. Telephones were becoming a matter of course, and they were cheap. Television broke parochial boundaries.

Formality started to make way for familiarity.

Prior to 1950, writing a letter was a special moment in which you could reach out to otherwise unreachable friends and relatives.

Every word, every letter, was crafted as well and as thoughtfully as possible. The art of prose existed then; poetry was well appreciated then; oratory existed then.

Even the act of having to handle ink (by dipping or filling a cartridge), and the feeling of the bend and flex of the pen's nib was somehow personal and intimate.
A person's handwriting was a thing of pride and presentation. It was as unique as the person who wrote it.

Today it is all Times New Roman 12pt Regular, on a QWERTY keyboad... all rather mundane and boring and non-descript... and of course you can Tweet or SMS if you prefer.. or IM in "abridged English"... or bypass it all and voice-chat to anyone, anywhere, anytime...

PS: The wind-out you wrote above would more typically be as follows:

Thanking you in advance.

Yours faithfully

  • Thanks very much for your answer. Alas, I don't think I'll be able to find any information on the specific topic, so it'll have to serve. I was referring specifically to the notion of including the signature as though it were the last part of the last sentence in the letter. "Your friendly neighbourhood Spiderman" would be an example of what I meant, if there were a line break just before "Spiderman". It's very subtle, admittedly! I was just curious.
    – Jon Purdy
    Commented Nov 4, 2010 at 17:10

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