The Editor's Manual
Free learning resource on English grammar, punctuation, usage, and style.
Scare quotes indicate that a word or a phrase is being used in some nonstandard way or to indicate irony or disdain.
Don’t capitalize phrases like “happy birthday” when talking about wishing someone. Feel free to capitalize them in personal greetings.
Use “Sincerely,” “Best wishes,” or “Regards” (or “Warm regards,” “Best regards,” “Kind regards”) to close a formal or business email. Don’t use casual sign-offs like “Cheers” or “Best” in formal communication.
Use the right sign-off depending on the tone of your email. Formal closings include “Sincerely,” “Best wishes,” and “Kind regards.” Informal or personal closings include “Cheers” and “Love.”
Use either a comma or a colon after a greeting. The colon is preferred in business or other formal communication in U.S. style.
Contractions are common in speech and informal writing but avoided in formal texts.
Various phrases can begin an email, depending on formality (dear So-and-So, hi, hello, good morning). Using an appropriate salutation can set the right tone for your correspondence.
“One in” followed by a number (e.g., “one in five”) is grammatically singular. However, such phrases refer not to one person or thing but to a proportion, and the use of plural verbs is acceptable, although singular verbs are preferred in formal usage.
Both “who” and “that” can refer to people. “Who” is preferred in formal usage.
Use commas to integrate closely related information into the flow of the sentence. Use parentheses to set off supplementary information or an afterthought from surrounding text. Use dashes to be emphatic or dramatic and make additional information or an aside stand out.