Ending your emails properly can make all the difference in how the tone of your email comes off. It can leave a lasting impression on the receiver of the email, meaning It can quite literally make or break a working relationship.
Emails are a main form of communication today, and the sign-off is just as important as the subject line. Some of the most common sign-offs are Yours faithfully, Yours sincerely, Kind regards, and Best regards.
It can be tricky to determine how you should sign the end of your email. Luckily, there is an easy way to remember when you should use which. “Yours Sincerely” should only be used when you know the recipient that you are emailing.” Yours Faithfully” should be used when you do not know the recipient.
“Yours faithfully” is widely used in British English when signing off an email to a recipient that is unknown. In other words, the recipient is not addressed specifically by name, but rather by Sir or Madam.
It is not commonly used in American English, but you might see it every now and then. The American equivalent of this is Yours truly. Yours faithfully and Yours truly are mostly used in business emails.
You will also need to make sure you write out the phrase correctly. It can be tempting to want to write Yours Faithfully with both words capitalized, but you only capitalized the first word, not both.
“Yours sincerely” is also used in British English, but it is used as a sign-off for when the recipient is known. This means that the name of the recipient is in the email opener, and you know their name. “Yours sincerely” should not be used if the recipient is unknown.
In American English, this sign-off is reversed. Instead of being “Yours sincerely, the sign-off is “Sincerely yours”. In some cases, it might even be just Sincerely. This sign-off can be used in business emails or personal emails but is more common in personal emails.
Just like “Yours faithfully”, only the first word of this sign-off gets capitalized. Depending on which comes first, only Yours or only Sincerely will be capitalized (Yours sincerely/Sincerely yours). It can be incredibly tempting to want to capitalize both, but it isn’t considered to be proper grammar.
How to Remember Which is Correct
Remembering which sign-off to use is tricky, but there is one simple way that you can keep them straight.
Consider the word faithfully and how it starts with F. This sign-off is only used in FORMAL conditions such as business emails. You can think of the F in faithfully as standing for the word formal. This will ensure that you always use the best closer for your emails.
Kind Regards or Best Regards?
“Kind regards” and “Best regards” are two more popular sign-off choices for business emails. Both of these seem nice and polite, but there is a certain time to use each to appear as professional as possible. It is really hard to determine which of these phrases should be used as your sign-off.
“Best regards” is less formal than “Kind regards”. It is seen to be a respectful and friendly sign-off, especially to clients that you know, but aren’t close with. This sentiment is neutral and can be used when emailing existing clients, vendors you’ve worked with for a while, emailing colleagues, or any other business casual conversation.
“Kind regards” is the more formal version of the two. You will have the best luck using this sentiment when you are sending an introductory email or reaching out to a client that you haven’t emailed before. This is considered to be an appropriate and professional way to send off an email.
You will want to use “Kind regards” when you are sending an email to a warm outreach, during the early stages of working together, when emailing an executive of the company at any time, introducing yourself to colleagues, or when you aren’t sure what other sign-off would be great for your email.
Choosing the right email sign-off can make or break your email. It is important to make sure that you are using formal sign-offs for formal emails and informal sign-offs for personal emails. When trying to decide whether to use Yours sincerely or Yours faithfully, the most efficient way you can remember the difference is by thinking of the F in faithfully as standing for FORMAL.
“Yours faithfully” is more formal and “Yours sincerely” is more casual, but it goes deeper than that. Yours faithfully is also used for sending an email where you aren’t sure who the recipient is, and they are only referred to as Sir or Madam. Yours sincerely is used when you do know the name of the recipient.