Email Sign-Offs: How to Close Formal, Business, and Personal Emails
The closing is where you end an email with a concluding phrase and sign off with your name. A good closing is one that matches the tone of your email: a formal or business email might end with Sincerely, while a letter to a friend could end with Love.
Formal and informal sign-offs
The closing phrase you use depends on whether your email is formal or informal, and whether it is personal. Be mindful of nuances in tone: a formal email may be personal if you know the person you are addressing, and a business email may be semi-formal or even informal if you have a professional but friendly relationship with someone. Here is a list of standard phrases used in email closings.
|Type of email||Closing|
|Highly formal, impersonal||Sincerely,|
Sincerely yours, (American)
Yours faithfully, (British)
|Formal, impersonal||Best wishes,|
|Formal, personal||Warm regards,|
Yours sincerely, (British)
|Informal, personal (acquaintance, colleague)||Best,|
|Highly personal (relative, close friend)||Love,|
You may of course use other closing phrases that better suit the circumstances or tone of your email. But when in doubt, stick to tried and tested (and brief) sign-offs. Err on the side of politeness. A closing such as Thanks in advance can seem pushy, implying that the recipient has no option but to comply with your request, whereas Thanks or Thank you is a simple expression of gratitude. Waiting for your reply can sound passive-aggressive, but a sentence such as Thank you for your consideration or Thank you for your time before the closing phrase is perfectly polite in a job application or query letter.
Sincerely vs. Regards
Regards, the staple of modern online communication, is your fallback when other closings seem unsuitable. If you are writing to customer service or your bank for example, you may want to close with a simple Regards, rather than Sincerely, Best wishes, or Warm regards. You could choose to simply sign your name, but using a closing phrase, even one as impersonal and generic as Regards, is polite.
Attached is my statement.
However, in a business email to a potential client, “Sincerely” conveys greater—well—sincerity than “Regards.”
- Dear Ms. Barnes,
Attached is a quote for our services. We also offer customized packages. Please let me know if you would like to set up a call to discuss this further.
Sincerely is also more formal. Always use Sincerely instead of Regards in highly formal contexts, such as a college or job application.
Personal vs. impersonal sign-offs
To choose the right email closing, let the relationship you already have or wish to cultivate be your guide. While Sincerely is a good way to close a formal email, it can seem impersonal when you’re writing to a client you speak with often. On the flip side, a highly personal closing such as Here forever and a day would sound unprofessional or facetious in an email to a colleague, where a simple, businesslike Best would suffice.
Maya Dash(impersonal letter from a CEO to shareholders)
- Kind regards,
Maya Dash(formal but personal reply to a customer’s query)
- As ever,
Maya(business email to a client you interact with often)
Maya(business email to a client or colleague)
Maya(email to a colleague who has helped on a project)
Maya(personal email to a family member or close friend)
Just like the sign-off at the end, the salutation or greeting at the start should match the tone of your email. While Hi and Hello are great for informal emails, in formal communication, stick to using Dear So-and-So (with the person’s title and last name or their full name). You may also use other greetings, as discussed in our article on how to start a formal or informal email.
Signing off with first vs. full name
You may sign off with just your first name in a business email, but make sure to include your full name, designation, and contact details in the email signature. One of the benefits of signing off with your first (or preferred) name is that the recipient then knows how to address you in their reply. Encouraging them to use your first name can also help build a better professional relationship.
- Kind regards,
3301 Nusquam Ave.
Pouthena, NQ 30711
Phone: (123) 456-7890
Sign off with your full name in formal emails (e.g., a job application).
- Thank you for your consideration.
Also close with your full name if you address someone by their full name at the start of an email (which you may do if you are unsure of their title).
Dear Farley Tuck,
[body of your email]
How to punctuate a sign-off
Place a comma after an email closing, and write your name on the next line.
- Kind regards,
Some styles suggest using a period (or full stop) after an email closing that contains an independent clause, but this can seem abrupt, and using a comma after an email closing, whether a phrase or a clause, is perfectly acceptable. (An independent clause is one that can stand by itself as a sentence.)
- Thanks again for your help,
Of course, if a sentence appears before the closing phrase, use a period as usual.
- Thanks again for your help.
It has also become quite acceptable to omit punctuation altogether from an email sign-off, particularly in British style.
Use of capital letters
Capitalize only the first word of an email closing, even if it is a multi-word phrase.
- Sincerely yours,
- Yours faithfully,
- Kind regards,
- Love always,