The Ultimate Email Sign-Offs Guide
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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 closing line of an email shouldn’t be overlooked. Email sign-offs can set the overall tone of your email, express gratitude to the reader, 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
Sending an email with an inappropriate sign-off can easily lead to trouble. While the closing phrase ‘Have a great day’ seems innocent enough, it can easily be viewed as sarcastic if misplaced. Context is key when it comes to using certain email endings.
Include your contact details
Forgetting your name is guaranteed to leave a bad impression. In your first email correspondence, ensure your chosen sign-off is followed by your contact information (full name, job title, phone number, and email address), and any other essential business information. Setting up automatic email signatures is an easy remedy for this.
Consider the audience
Understanding your relationship with the recipient is essential for choosing the most appropriate email sign-off. Consider carefully – is your chosen email ending suitable for your close 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 unknown. 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’.
Yours sincerely or Yours sincerely?
‘Yours sincerely’ is correct.
Best regards or Kind regards?
These two sign-offs are essentially interchangeable. Both are widely regarded as formal closings, with ‘Kind regards’ being the more formal. Hence, switching to ‘Best regards’ is recommended when a relationship with the recipient has been established.
Kind regards or Yours sincerely?
‘Yours sincerely’ and ‘Yours faithfully’ should be reserved for formal emails and letters, such as job applications and 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 clarify, 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 reasonably 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 selection process a whole lot easier!
Formal email sign-offs
The following sign-offs are generally recognized as formal and are classed as professional email closings. 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 show 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
- 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, arguably the riskiest sign-offs to use in a work environment. For example, if you have a close relationship with a colleague, you may be inclined to use ‘ttyl’ to sign off a work email (an acronym for ‘talk to you later’).
- Peace (Peace out)
- See ya (See you)
- Take it easy
Informal email sign-offs (contextual)
- Stay tuned
Your email sign-offs can establish the tone, nurture a working relationship, and bolster your response rate. In other words, it’s essential to know when to use ‘All the best’ or ‘Have a good one’ in an email ending.
And also remember that your email sign-off will be improved if you use a professional email signature to convey your contact information accurately.
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