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When writing letters, there are closings that people usually use like "sincerely" or "best" or "thanks", etc. I have sometimes heard people (when reading letters) say "signed, John Smith". Can you use the word "signed" as a closing before a name like that?

4 Answers 4

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It's used by the person reading the letter out loud in order to make it clear that the name is formatted on the letter as a signature.

And, as jsw29 states,'No, signed is not normally used in writing one's own letters in the way proposed by the OP'

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  • 1
    This answer already implies that, but perhaps it would be helpful to those who come to this page in the future to make it explicit that the answer to the question is 'No, signed is not normally used in writing one's own letters in the way proposed by the OP'. It may be added that the word may be used, not only in reading aloud, but also in copying letters, when the copy does not contain the actual signature, to indicate that the original was signed.
    – jsw29
    Oct 10, 2021 at 16:48
  • And btw, if you signed a letter "Signed, R. Modi," it would signal (to me) a lot of displeasure with the recipient. Oct 11, 2021 at 14:29
  • @AzorAhai-him- a well-known example (within certain circles) was Brian Westley's entry to the 1990 International Obfuscated C Code Contest also known as "signed char lotte", which can be read in English as a series of letters between former lovers - the extreme displeasure in the first "letter" being emphasised by this form! In effect, the form explicitly disowns the sentiments conveyed by normal letter endings, and more emphatically than simply missing off "yours faithfully" or "yours sincerely" or similar.
    – Steve
    Oct 12, 2021 at 8:36
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It is not listed here as a common "complimentary close" . I suspect it is only used if you are reading someone else's letter out loud.

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  • Yes It IS only used if you are reading someone's letter - as an indication of who wrote it. One could equally say the words written e.g. "Yours sincerely". If it is not exactly a letter, but some sort of statement e.g. a petition - one might actually write or type the word "signed".
    – WS2
    Oct 10, 2021 at 1:48
  • Thanks. So if you are making a statement, but in the form of a letter (like a letter to the editor in a newspaper), would it then be appropriate to write/type the word "signed"?
    – R. Modi
    Oct 10, 2021 at 3:13
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    "Signed" is commonly used on forms and documents to indicate where they should be signed, with space for a signature included (and possibly space for a date), but not in a letter that you are writing and signing yourself. Instead, just write your name at the bottom after whatever other sign-off you use (Yours faithfully, etc). A letter to a newspaper editor is just a letter, and should be formatted like any other letter. (If you are writing an affidavit, will, or other legal document, there may be a required format that you should look up or ask a lawyer about.)
    – Stuart F
    Oct 10, 2021 at 16:25
  • @StuartF That comment should be an answer IMO.
    – alephzero
    Oct 10, 2021 at 16:40
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As Hot Licks's answer states, what you have observed is just something done when reading aloud to indicate a signature.

However, you may sometimes encounter text like '[signed on original]' in a written document being distributed electronically, to indicate that the document has been signed on some original or official copy but that the electronic copy does not have a signature. I have encountered this frequently in British military documents, for example daily orders which would normally have been signed and then photocopied but are now more likely to be emailed.

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While other answers address your question, there is a curious and somewhat related fact: sometimes in medical letters you may find the closing words "not signed". An example I saw only yesterday closes with:

Best wishes,
Dr Surname GP
Electronically checked but not signed

This indicates that the message was dictated to a secretary, or otherwise was not written personally by the doctor, and it has not been read by the doctor (otherwise they would have signed it).

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  • Actually, I'd take it to mean it has been read, but from a computer screen, and so no document was available for signing. And, if it's from Dr. Surname [I love that!], he may even have written it on the computer.
    – Auspex
    Oct 13, 2021 at 12:38

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