Sincerely, Regards, or Best Wishes? Formal Email Closings

Use a closing such as Sincerely, Best wishes, or Regards (and variations—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.

Sincerely, Regards, or Best wishes?

Use Sincerely or Sincerely yours to close a highly formal email written to someone you don’t know personally. Sincerely is more appropriate than Regards or Best wishes when you are asking for someone’s time and consideration (e.g., in a college or job application). Address the person by their title and last name (or their professional name if you don’t know their title). Sign off with your own professional or full name.

  • Dear Ms. Green:

    I am writing to apply for the position of . . .

    Thank you for your consideration.

    Maya Dash

In British style, Yours faithfully is used instead of Sincerely in highly formal emails in which you don’t address the person by name (e.g., Dear Sir or Madam, Dear Authors), while Sincerely or Yours sincerely is used in a formal email to someone you address by name (e.g., Dear Ms. Green). Such niceties are ignored in U.S. style, where Sincerely is used in all highly formal emails.

Best wishes is also appropriate as a formal closing, but use it instead of Sincerely only when it makes sense to do so. Use Sincerely in a job application, but Best wishes when you are writing to someone with helpful information or feedback.

  • Dear Maya Dash:

    Attached is a list of scholarships available at Nusquam University. Feel free to write back if you have questions.

    Best wishes,
    Rita Green

    Rita Green, PhD
    Dean of Admissions
    Nusquam University
    Pouthena, NQ 10211
    Phone: (212) 123 4567

Regards is a neutral but formal sign-off you can use as a fallback when neither Sincerely nor Best wishes seems appropriate, such as a letter to the bank or to a faceless department or team.

  • Dear Accounts Department,

    Attached are my expense statements.

    Maya Dash

Avoid using Regards in personal emails, even formal ones. Regards can sound too cold in an email to someone you know. Temper it with an adjective: Kind regards, Best regards, Warm regards.

Variations: Warm/Kind/Best regards

In a formal or professional email to someone you know or are addressing personally, Sincerely and Best wishes can sound too formal, and Regards too cold and neutral. For a friendly but professional sign-off, use Warm regards, Kind regards, or Best regards instead—for example, if you are writing to a client you know or replying to a customer’s query.

  • Dear Ms. Green,

    Thank you for your query. Attached are the holiday packages we offer. We can also create a custom package just for you and your family.

    Warm regards,
    Maya Dash
    Tour adviser
    Nusquam Travels

  • Dear Dr. Baines,

    Thank you for such wonderful feedback. We look forward to serving you again in the future.

    Regards, Best regards,
    Maya Dash

  • Dear Aisha,

    Thank you for shopping with us. You can use your email ID as your login.

    Regards, Kind regards,

    Lucia Martinez
    Technical support officer
    Nusquam Corp.
    Phone: (212) 123 4567

Sign-offs to avoid in formal emails

Avoid using informal closings like Cheers and Thanks in formal emails. Close a cover letter, for instance, Sincerely (or Yours faithfully in a British context) rather than Thanks. Never use just the word Yours by itself, which can sound too personal and intimate for a professional or formal email. Also, As ever and Best work well as sign-offs in semi-formal or informal emails to someone you write to or work with often, but not in formal letters or emails.

Finally, the salutation at the start of a formal email is just as important as the closing. Now that you know about formal sign-offs, also read this article on how to start a formal email, in which we discuss Dear So-and-So versus Hello and other greetings.

Quick Quiz

Which is better in a business email?
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Which is a better closing for a job application?
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Which is preferred in British style in a formal email starting with Dear Sir or Madam?
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Which is a more polite closing when you address someone by name?
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