Email Sign-Offs Guide
The Importance of Email Sign-Offs
The way your email ends is crucial.
While your subject line and opening hold a lot of weight, the way you close an email shouldn’t be overlooked. Email sign-offs have the power to set the overall tone of your email, boost or impair your response rate, establish a working relationship, and leave a long-lasting impression. In other words, they can make or break your emails.
And as emails are one of the primary methods of communication used both inside and outside the workplace, employing them correctly is essential.
In this guide, we will explore some of the most popular email sign-offs and how they’re used, settle the differences between the sign-offs ‘Yours sincerely’ and ‘Yours faithfully’, and throw in some extra tips and tricks for good measure!
Email Sign-Off Rules
Before we look at any examples, here are some rules you should bear in mind when choosing your sign-off:
Keeps things flexible
Don’t be afraid to mix things up. Sticking with ‘Kind regards’ every time, no matter the context, can make your emails lackluster and less impressionable.
Consider the tone and intent of your message
Ending your email with an inappropriate sign-off can easily lead to trouble. While the email ending ‘have a great day’ seems innocent enough, it can easily be viewed as sarcastic if misplaced. Context is key when it comes to email sign-offs.
Include your name
Forgetting your name is guaranteed to leave a bad impression. In your first piece of email correspondence, ensure your chosen sign-off is followed by your name, contact details and all essential business information. Setting up automatic email signatures is an easy remedy for this.
Consider the audience
Understanding the relationship you have with the recipient is essential for choosing the most appropriate email sign-off. Consider carefully – is your chosen email ending suitable for your friend, family member, employee, colleague, customer, boss, etc.?
Ensure proper grammar
Sign-offs should start with a capital letter. In the case of sign-offs composed of two or more words like ‘Kind regards’ or ‘Hope this helps’, only the first word should be capitalized. A comma should be placed directly after the sign-off.
Know the Difference
Whether it’s the difference between yours sincerely, yours faithfully, kind regards or best regards, certain email sign-offs generate a lot of confusion. Let’s put that to rest.
Yours sincerely or Yours faithfully?
The easiest way to clarify the distinction between these two sign-offs is as follows:
‘Yours sincerely’ should be used for emails or letters where the recipient is known (someone you have already spoken to). The complementary email opener is ‘Dear [Name]’.
‘Yours faithfully’ should be used for emails or letters where the recipient is not known. The complementary email opener is ‘Dear Sir/Madam’.
Yours sincerely or Sincerely yours?
These sign-offs are interchangeable in terms of meaning.
The only difference comes from where you live. British usage favors ‘Yours sincerely’ while American usage favors ‘Sincerely yours’.
Your sincerely or Yours sincerely?
‘Yours sincerely’ is correct.
Best regards or Kind regards?
These two sign-offs are largely interchangeable. Both are widely regarded as formal closings, with ‘Kind regards’ being the more formal of the two. Hence, it’s recommended to switch to ‘Best regards’ when a relationship with the recipient has been established.
Kind regards or Yours sincerely?
‘Yours sincerely’ and ‘Yours faithfully’ should be reserved for very formal emails and letters, such as job applications and formal business correspondence. You are unlikely to encounter these in day-to-day email correspondence.
Hence, ‘Kind regards’ and ‘Best regards’ are better options for workplace emails.
Email Sign-Off Examples
It’s time to launch into examples.
To make things clearer, we have separated email sign-offs that can be used in almost any email from those that are context reliant, or ‘contextual’.
For example, while ‘Regards’ is a fairly ubiquitous sign-off, ‘Thanks in advance’ only makes sense if you have asked for something in your email.
As stated, context is a huge factor when choosing email sign-offs, so the following categories are not set in stone. But they should make the selecting process a whole lot easier!
Formal Email Sign-Offs
The following sign-offs are generally recognized as formal. They can be used in nearly any email scenario and shouldn’t cause problems.
This being said, some people argue that ‘Regards’ and ‘Best’ are abrupt and come off as insensitive, while others vouch strongly for these. We’ll leave you to decide!
- Best regards
- Best wishes
- Kind regards
- Warm regards (Warmly, Warm wishes)
- Yours faithfully (Faithfully, Faithfully yours)
- Yours respectfully (Respectfully, Respectfully yours)
- Yours sincerely (Sincerely, Sincerely yours)
- Yours truly (Truly yours)
Formal Email Sign-Offs (contextual)
Sign-offs that express gratitude are widely believed to get the highest response rate in emails.
- Many thanks (All my thanks)
- Speak soon
- Talk soon
- Thank you
- Thanks in advance
- That's all for now
- With appreciation
- With gratitude
Semi-Formal Email Sign-Offs
Semi-formal email sign-offs are acceptable for both formal and informal correspondence, depending on circumstance, and have more casual usage. These are sign-offs you can use in work emails to provide a nice interpersonal touch.
- All the best (All my best, All best, My best)
- Be well
- Take care
Semi-Formal Email Sign-Offs (contextual)
- As ever
- Have a great day (Have a great week, Have a great weekend)
- Hope this helps
- Until next time
Informal Email Sign-Offs
Informal email endings should be used with care. Consider carefully whether they are appropriate for your situation.
This is especially true for text-like acronyms, which are the arguably the riskiest sign-offs to use in a work environment. If you have a close relationship with a colleague, for example, you may be inclined to use ‘ttyl’ to sign off a work email (acronym for ‘talk to you later’). While this sign-off may be appropriate for the colleague in question, consider who that email may be forwarded to. What impression might this sign-off give to a customer or person of seniority within your company?
- Have a good one
- Peace (Peace out)
- See ya (See you)
- Take it easy
Informal Email Sign-Offs (contextual)
The sign-offs you use in your emails can establish the tone, nurture a working relationship and bolster your response rate. In other words, they’re very important!
We hope this guide has armed you with the knowledge to create strong, impressionable emails, whether that be inside the workplace or beyond.
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