The art of writing a letter, though exquisite and full of tradition, seems to be falling out of favor. Chances are you do not know how to properly close a business letter, or perhaps you are unaware of all of the amusing and fun sendoffs that you can include in various types of correspondence, ranging from formal letters to very intimate missives.
Not to worry! I am happy to share with you my personal collection of letter closing salutations, and I shall also show you how to pick the best business letter closing for more formal occasions.
I hope that these letter closing options inspire you to revive the slowly disappearing art of letter writing. Texts are convenient, tweets can be titillating, and Facebook posts can be funny, but letters leave legacies.
Business Letter Closings
If you are writing a business letter, you will need to utilize some of the more traditional (and I use that term loosely, as a business letter closing today is quite informal when compared of valedictions of the past) formatting and salutations.
There are two main types of business letters you will write in your life - those to people you know (or at least whose names you know), and unknown individuals (whose names you do not know). Here are the following correct salutations and letter closings for those formats:
When you do not know the person's name:
To Whom it May Concern,
Blah blah blah, correct English, blah blah, correct punctuation, blah blah blah, please do not use emoticons for the love of god, blah blah, try to use grown up words, blah, do not ask 'where they at' blah blah.
Note that all words in the opening are capitalized, but that "faithfully" in the letter closing is not. Also note that you may use "Dir Sir or Madam" in place of "To Whom it May Concern."
When you do know the person's name
Dear Mr. Smith,
Blah blah blah, if your write this in Comic Sans I will find you and hurt you, blah blah blah, brevity is key, blah blah, try not to misspell anything, blah blah, no acronyms unless you are referring to a corporation or other official organization, blah blah blah.
Note: You may also close such letters with "Sincerely yours," and also keep in mind that the use of this ending instead of "Yours faithfully" is only appropriate in the US. If you live in the UK or are writing to someone in the UK, "Yours faithfully" is a safer bet for business correspondence; "Yours sincerely," is seen as more informal.
Other Formal and Traditional Letter Closings
Beyond business correspondence, there are some letter closings that follow strict protocol.
When writing to one of superior pedigree (e.g. nobility, etc.), finish your letter with "Respectfully yours," instead of "Yours faithfully."
And if you're writing to one of superior pedigree, lucky you!
Semi-Formal Letter Closings
If you are writing to a co-worker or someone else with whom you have less formally-constrained, but still professional correspondence, consider these as potential endings to your business letters:
Some people get more creative, but to be on the safe and super professional side, stick just with these.
If you want to kick up the informality just one notch more, take these for a spin:
- Best regards, (or just Best/Regards for short)
- Best wishes,
- Fondly (unless you live in the UK, in which case this apparently has a bit of a sexual connotation and is OFF the table in this context)
- Warm wishes,
- Thanks again,
- I remain faithfully yours,
What About You?
Modern and Informal - BUT FUN - Letter Closing Salutations
Even today, in our fast-paced, no-time-for-proper-letters, I-will-communicate-everything-via-text times, you can still utilize some very fun and witty letter closings. I love playing around with them. They can add character to any sort of note.
Here are my favorites categorized under fun, goofy, and sexy:
Just for fun:
- Yours aye (Scottish equivalent of "Yours always,")
- As usual,
- As ever,
- Be well,
- Take care,
- Hope all is well,
- Thinking the best of you,
- My pleasure, always,
- Have fun,
- Talk to you later,
- Take it easy,
- Catch ya later,
- Keep smiling,
- Awaiting your response,
What do you think?
If you're feeling goofy:
- Ta da!
- Now go do that vodoo that you do so well,
- Game over, man,
- Until we meet again,
- Forever in your debt, (though I suppose this could be used non-ironically as well)
- Words aren't enough (ditto)
- Happy trails to you,
- Let's roll!
- Until I take an arrow to the knee, I am, as ever,
- Still standing,
- In reason and justice,
- Your days are numbered,
- Tally ho! (this is my personal favorite)
- Pip pip!
- Y U NO WRITE BACK?
- I'll race you (also an excellent ending)
- Onward, soldier,
- Smell ya later, (a classic)
- Until Caturday,
- Live long and prosper, (for geek points)
- I'm watching you, (also a personal favorite)
- Never give up, never surrender! (cool points to you if you get that)
- Only you can prevent forest fires,
- Friendship is magic,
- Later Vader (YES!!!)
- Cry me a river,
On the intimate side:
- Adoringly yours,
- Nibbles, (though I think just reading that made me throw up in my mouth a bit)
- Your loving,
- Love, (SO over-used)
- Blowing kisses your way,
- Love and kisses,
- Thinking only of you,
- Thinking dreadfully naughty things about you,
- Wearing absolutely nothing, I am, as ever,
As the wise Lalulinho pointed out, presenting these closings in various romance languages is also highly advisable.
Now tell me you are not tempted to use at least some of these.
But Wait! There's More!
To finish off this collection, I want to introduce you to the wonderful world of formal valedictions (known in the States as a complimentary close). I had encountered them in old classic books and wish that we could use them more today.
Here are the major versions of the ever-so-perfect (and awesome and fun-sounding, especially when used ironically in modern times and media) formal letter closings:
- I am, Sir, your most humble and obedient servant,
- Your obedient servant,
- Your obt svt,
- I am, etc., (my personal favorite. Sometimes I just walk about my apartment saying this in my fake British accent)
I hope you enjoyed these as much as I did!
I am, ladies and gentlemen, your most humble and obedient servant,
Simone Haruko Smith
P.S. I'm watching you.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Mars on October 04, 2018:
Yours till the chocolate chips,
Foxygen on March 13, 2018:
Somewhere in America,.....
Is fun to use too
Mandy Oldham on January 25, 2017:
Do you have more?
David E Roy from Fresno on August 26, 2015:
Also ... Namaste, Treasuring You, Smoochies, Wasting Away (or, Waisting Away), Don't Fade on Me, You're All FUP*, Let Me FUP You, Don'cha Know. *A non-swearing version of f..ked up (courtesy of yours truly ...)
Justin Knapp from Tempe, AZ on January 04, 2015:
I have been with Hubpages less than a week and have found many videos and articles enjoyable. I love your video and passion in the video, I love all the ideas. I was stuck with best regards and warm regards when I signed off on my business e-mails. Thanks to you I have a few more in my tool box! Thank you for the fun read and video.
Amie Butchko from Warwick, NY on June 30, 2014:
I really enjoyed your article and your delivery! Good for you, girl! I will definitely be using some of these....
Gary Anderson from Las Vegas, Nevada on June 16, 2014:
Simone your video proves to me that you are an astounding actor. Congrats. I have made up my mind but tell me if you think this man is an actor. I would appreciate an honest response: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKr-av9jVx8
Leon Moyer on February 19, 2014:
Dear excellent hub,
Excellent hub, i must say
WHY YOU NO WRITE BACK,
Laura on February 19, 2014:
Wonderful stuff! I, too, find the declining value of writing quite disturbing. My mother worked 30 years at Encyclopedia Britannica in the Editorial Department, my father was a high school speech and theater teacher, and I know full well they'd feel the same but with greater depth.
Extra points if you know the source here:
May the hair on your toes grow long,
Nasagirl on February 02, 2014:
Dang, along with the smileys I should have made the post in Comic Sans!!! Alas, an opportunity I missed, but probably for the better. Here's to hoping you still read the comments here ;-)
Live long and prosper!
nasagirl on February 02, 2014:
ZOMG!! I just got a new job and I have to submit weekly status updates to the true geeky type (female engineer in a male engineering world!) and I am always CLASS CLOWN!!! More than some of these will come in handy to have in my back pocket for my closings of said weekly status updates!!! I LOVE your inclusiveness and silliness where this is concerned (and also the seriousness when required!) and I look forward to implementing many of these into my arsenal =D This should be fun! All I know is that I get pegged class clown upon entry, though I am not sure what gives it away... maybe the fact that I can't have any normal human interaction without some sort of joke or humor involved?!?! But that's a whole other story, teehee. Needless to say, in a world of stiffs (engineers without personalities) I am the life of the company and sooooo looking forward to it!! Most everyone likes it, though I do get one or two old-school detractors who think I do nothing but think of ways to goof off every day. If I actually had to THINK about it, it would be non-stop! But these things just come naturally to me when I have awesome things like your website fueling me. I can't wait!!! Thanks for the excellent advice!
I will return and post in March how each week is taken as I do the voodoo that you do so well XD. Yes, I know, lay off the smilies in my text but I just can't help it here. It is just so expressive and it quickly shows how I am feeling. Sadly, emails, texts, tweets, etc., have no voice, so I try to give them one with my little keyboard doodles =D. Anyhow, after my start date on March 3rd (and mind you this is a VERY important job for me, I am hoping this will be the job I have for the rest of my life! It is only contract for now, but i have no trouble showing my worth and getting hired, so along with keeping my fingers and toes crossed, no reason why you and others on here can't help out!! ty in advance! This is the job I've been looking for =)
Until I take an arrow to the knee, I am, as ever,
Rohan Rinaldo Felix from Chennai, India on December 12, 2013:
Excellent! 'Only you can prevent forest fires!' made me LOL big time! Keep it up! Voted up and awesome!
Hugo Furst from Australia on December 09, 2013:
So glad I clicked on this article and read. Thanks for writing this hub! Voted up :)
mgt28 on November 19, 2013:
Dear Simone ,
This is one the best advice I have come across in a long time searching on the Internet.
Katie on November 03, 2013:
Goodtimes. What a literal breath of fresh air after the stuffiness of formal letter-writing (notwithstanding I actually enjoy it to a degree - as it seems some of y'all do as well...sorry! I have a habit of mixing vernaculars to relieve tension). I feel fortunate to have found your delightful page, and am actively bookmarking as we speak.
IslandBites from Puerto Rico on October 28, 2013:
Nice hub and video.
David Chester on July 17, 2013:
Absolutely fabulous. Hysterically funny. Well done!
Denise Ortell on August 08, 2012:
My the force be with you...
LOL on July 10, 2012:
Did you honestly just rip-off Jenna Marbles and her You-Tube Persona?
LOL @ You
emilybee on June 13, 2012:
Y U No Write Back? Love it!!!!! Oh cry me a river :) Sharing!!
Rob on May 08, 2012:
Too funny and a great list! Truly enjoyed the video!
raingirl on April 26, 2012:
I have used several of these and thank you for compiling such a great list!
Yours from the bottom of the page,
Amanda Hare from England on April 19, 2012:
Most hilarious Simone,
As others have said, I love the video!
For most of my letters with family, friends and co-workers I know well, or for complete strangers sometimes, I tend to sign my letters with what I wish for them and the world (an energetic ending, if you will):
Jo Anne Meekins from Queens, NY on April 19, 2012:
Loved the video Simone! Very funny and informative. Thanks for sharing a great example of a hub to video conversion.
Howard S. from Dallas, Texas, and Asia on April 18, 2012:
'Twas the month before Christmas,
when between college girlfriends,
I bought a dozen cards for 'em as
I listed prospects for good omens.
Signing each with "Love"
and proceeding to the P.O.
through mail slots gave a shove;
only later thinking O-oh!
Some trashed it right off;
others pondered the word.
But did any pay off?
Don't be so absurd!
Howard S. from Dallas, Texas, and Asia on April 18, 2012:
Sometimes "less is more." This is never more true than in business correspondence.
Ausemade from Australia on April 18, 2012:
wow... i never thought about how many different salutations you can have... see ya later alligator... :)
Palomides from Chicago on April 16, 2012:
I loved your enthusiasm in the video!
May the odds be ever in your favor!
Simone Haruko Smith (author) from San Francisco on February 23, 2012:
Most enthusiastically yours,
mfriedstore from 176 Flushing Avenue Brooklyn , New York on February 22, 2012:
wow this is great. I enjoyed reading your hub and voted up. Thank you for sharing this, anyway.
Simone Haruko Smith (author) from San Francisco on December 09, 2011:
moiragallaga, that is a positively brilliant letter closing. LOVE IT!!
Michelle, that's an excellent question. When it comes to corresponding with disagreeable people, I opt for icy formality every time. It both allows one to take the high rode and not pretend to even remotely like the recipient of said correspondence.
Hoping you find that approach as satisfying as I do,
Michelle on November 28, 2011:
I was hoping you could provide some language appropriate closing suggestions for writing to someone that you intensely dislike.
I'm certain that I am not the only one out there who has grown weary of attempting to communicate with a belligerent ex-husband in a civil manner. However, I do want to continue to be the bigger person and do the right thing for the sake of the child involved. I frequently have to forward him emails from my child's school or update him with miscellaneous information and indicate I need some sort of response.
My common salutations are, "Please let me know", "Regards", "Thanks", "Thank you" or just signing my name. Aside from ending the correspondence with "Until I have to talk to you again", "This conversation is over" or typing out what I really think, I'm at a loss for words. I've reached the point of sarcasm and find myself saying, "Thanks so much!", "I really appreciate it!" or "Let me know if you need anything!" even if he responded with a typical snide comment. Please help me!!
Anxiously awaiting your response,
Moira Garcia Gallaga from Lisbon, Portugal on November 14, 2011:
Very useful and interesting hub Ms. Smith. I think proper use of letter closings and salutations should be learned by everyone despite the proliferation of various modern day forms of correspondence. This is a very relevant topic that you have shared with us. Thank you.
As for my closing, may I contribute one that is used until this day in diplomatic correspondence between Ambassadors and Heads of States:
"Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration."
Simone Haruko Smith (author) from San Francisco on November 10, 2011:
How cool, JennySand!!
Boy, do I ever envy your current location. AND THE AMAZING BREAD YOU GET TO EAT!!!! AAARGGGH!!
Great question about no-nos for business emails. The answer (especially for any country that has sexual harassment laws) is that ANYTHING even SLIGHTLY suggestive should not be put as a sendoff (or anywhere else) even if it is a joke. Legal death traps aside, it's generally better to play it safe with business emails, so sticking to formal endings, or informal but polite and curt endings like "thanks" and "Best regards" is the best way to go.
Of course, I love being a hypocrite, so I rarely stick to this rule myself. I, however, fully acknowledge the risks that I'm taking.
Awaiting my imminent firing due to inappropriate email endings,
JennySand on November 09, 2011:
Hi Simone - LOVE your blog. I'm an English teacher in Germany (off aalll pläzec!). I found you because one of my students asked for some correspondence "no-goes" (Germlish version!). I'm getting curious and would like to hear what you sink: Are there some things one should NEVER write at the end of a business e-mail????
Looking forward to your esteemed reply,
Simone Haruko Smith (author) from San Francisco on October 23, 2011:
k...... THAT IS AWESOME!
k on October 21, 2011:
Yours in Arial Bold,
Simone Haruko Smith (author) from San Francisco on September 16, 2011:
Hahaa, I love that!!! I'll be using it as many times I can now. What fun!
Guest on September 13, 2011:
We had a new employee send out emails to "Dear Both" when the To: line had two people on it. It never failed to set off a round of IMs and laughter. "Dear All" is very common at our company, but "Dear Both" never caught on. Pip-pip!
Simone Haruko Smith (author) from San Francisco on June 13, 2011:
Ah, if only all comments on this site could be so helpful. I have amended my Hub to include all of your helpful suggestions, omitting, of course, the warning on German sign offs, seeing as your sample is so exquisitely fabulous. Excellent points about "best" and use of the romance languages.
As for the geeky sign-off, well, THAT is one that I shall be using VERY frequently henceforth!
Lalulinho on May 27, 2011:
I stumbled across this Hub looking for something else and love it! May I be so presumptuous as to make some additional suggestions? Too late, here it goes:
--I would add "Best," to the list of "Semi-Formal Letter Closings." It is an excellent way to remind someone that he or she is a commercial counterparty but not a friend. Especially if that commercial counterparty wants to party.
--To the list of "intimate" sign offs for a letter written in English, it is always nice to use any of the romance language variants of "kiss" or "kisses": bisou, besos, beijo.
--It is best to avoid any German sign-offs, I have found from painful, personal experience. For instance, this one left me X-mas-present-less for many years, and I was told that it was really the sign-off that the recipient of the following letter found alienating, not the text of the letter:
Dear Last Name Claus, First Name Santa:
You fat, cookie-eating, milk-guzzling reindeer-molesting monster. Socks for Christmas? Again? I am going to tell my parents and every kid on the block that you don't exist, and that you actually hate children.
As we say in Germany, ICH WERDE DEIN KOPF MIT EINEM PANZERSCHRANK ZERSTOREN--UND RUDOLPH AUCH, VERPISST DICH,
--Finally, to add to the geeky and lengthy sign-offs, I have always wanted to sign off a business letter thus:
Yours In Sauron's Service But Totally Not In Thrall Of The One Ring, Unless You Happen To Have The One Ring, In Which Case I Hope This Letter Gives You A Lethal Paper Cut, And That My Precious Falls Into The Enclosed Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope To Be Delivered In 3-5 Business Days,
Simone Haruko Smith (author) from San Francisco on March 16, 2011:
I am so pleased to have provided an end to the salutation writers block!! I hope you have fun with these. I sure do!
Carol from Michigan on March 15, 2011:
I am definitely bookmarking this! As a writer, I am never at a loss for words. I never get writer's block EXCEPT with salutations! I can sit there for the longest time stuck on the "Sincerely" word.
This is BRILLIANT! I'm not just saying this, I'm bookmarking this Hub and I'm going to use your suggestions OFTEN!
I am most Thankfully Yours,
Simone Haruko Smith (author) from San Francisco on March 15, 2011:
Esteemed Ms. Paramapoonya,
I am exceedingly pleased to know you found this collection enjoyable. I am carefully researching cake delivery mechanisms. The only ones I know involve human-sized freezers and three separate boxes. There must be something more elegant.
Carefully adapting insider cake delivery secrets,
Om Paramapoonya on March 15, 2011:
Dear Ms. Smith,
I enjoyed reading this very much. I would also like to use this opportunity to remind you that I'm still waiting for your lemon cake to come in the mail.
Simone Haruko Smith (author) from San Francisco on March 15, 2011:
Thanks Sun Pen 50!
Happy trails to you,
Sun Pen 50 from Srilanka on March 15, 2011:
Thanks! enjoyed a lot!
I am, Madam, your most faithful follower,
Sun Pen 50