Recently I was proof reading an email that a coworker was going to send to a superior and I pointed out that the valediction wasn't capitalized. He said it didn't need to be because it was the start of a phrase or clause and not a sentence, and that people only do it because other people do it. But in the back recesses of my mind I'm thinking that there is a rule that says that it should be capitalized.

Is my coworker right and capitalization is unnecessary in this case? If I'm correct, what rule or guide can I point to, to prove my stance?

(T/t)hanks, Jeremy

  • 1
    Look this up in any style guide at all and I am certain that every single one will tell you to capitalize the valediction without exception. That and the fact that "other people do it" are the only "rules" that exist. It's not like someone up on high has made a rule "you don't have to capitalize the beginning of anything that isn't a complete sentence, and this rule supersedes any convention that contradicts it". Besides, nobody has ever looked unprofessional by capitalizing the valediction. Your co-worker is really taking a silly position.
    – Kosmonaut
    Jan 4 '11 at 23:00
  • Then there is the question of capitalizing every word: "Yours Very Truly?"
    – Jay
    Jan 8 '11 at 4:24
  • Whatever else, "because it was the start of a phrase or clause and not a sentence" stretches too many points too far. In that context your valediction is equivalent to a sentence, if only because it's the start of whatever… Feb 24 at 0:50

It ought to be capitalized, although it depends somewhat on what form it takes. The general rationale is that 'Yours' or 'Yours Truly' is a formalized abbreviation of a much longer and more elaborate 'Your true, humble, devoted servant yadda yadda yadda.' Since it's not actually a clause, as he's claiming, but rather a formalized abbreviation, it ought to be capitalized to indicate the use of the convention. However, if he's using something like 'thanks' or another less formal choice, this is somewhat less applicable (and potentially indicative of an unwise lack of formality in a business setting).

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