Is Regards a Good Sign-Off?

Use Regards as a polite closing in an email you write to someone you don’t know personally. It carries a degree of impersonal formality that helps you meet the basic requirements of email etiquette. Use Regards when another formal closing (such as Sincerely or Best wishes) does not seem appropriate, but neither does an informal closing (like Best or Cheers).

Historically, the word regards appeared in valedictory phrases in personal letters. Putnam’s Phrase Book from 1919 by Edwin Hamlin Carr lists the phrase “my warmest regards to —,” with variations thereof: kindest regards, affectionate regards, joint regards, best regards, and so on.

From letters, this closing phrase made its way into email, continuing to do its job as a polite sign-off. Modern email writers pared it down to simply Regards. Some writers, finding this too cold, continued to use polite adjectives—warm regards, kind regards, best regards—making it a little more personal.

Regards in formal emails

As a neutral email closing, Regards is useful for writing to someone you don’t know personally. It is sometimes criticized for being too bland and impersonal, but precisely for these reasons, it works in emails that are not personal but not highly formal either, such as a letter to the bank.

  • Hello,

    Attached is my updated information, as requested by your agent.

    Maya Dash
    Account ID: 123456

  • Dear Ms. Dain,

    Please find attached a copy of my ticket.

    Maya Dash

In highly formal emails (such as a job or college application), use Sincerely instead of Regards, and sign off with your full name. When you are asking for someone’s time and consideration, Regards can come off as too generic and slightly insincere.

  • Dear Mr. Tuck,

    I am writing to apply for the job of AI-buster at your content production company. I believe I can . . . blah, blah.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    Sincerely, Regards,
    Maya Dash

    [your signature block]

In formal emails that are not personal but require something warmer than Regards, use Best wishes instead.

  • Dear Minerva Dash,

    Thank you for submitting your short story to Rejections Quarterly. Although this story is not quite what we were looking for, we enjoyed reading it and would like to see more of your work.

    Best wishes, Regards,
    Anita Wren
    Editorial Team
    Rejections Quarterly

Variations: Warm regards, Kind regards, Best regards

For a sign-off that is formal but more personal than Regards, temper it with an adjective: Warm regards, Kind regards, Best regards. For example, if a customer sends you a query, Sincerely and Best wishes might seem too formal and Regards too cold, but Warm/Kind/Best regards would convey the right level of friendliness and warmth, while still being formal.

  • Dear Ms. Dash,

    Attached is our product brochure. If you don’t see something you like, we can always design a custom chair just for you.

    Regards, Warm regards,

    [your signature block]

  • Dear Dr. Baines,

    Thank you for taking the time to send us your feedback. This will help us improve our services.

    Regards, Best regards,
    Poco Sheeran

  • Dear Rita,

    You are right: the comma can be omitted in that sentence.

    Regards, Kind regards,

Regards in informal emails

Don’t use regards in casual emails and messages, where it can sound stuffy and impersonal. When writing to your college friends, for example, you could close with Cheers or a phrase like Looking forward. When writing to a colleague you work with often, prefer Best or As ever over Regards. In a letter to a close friend or family member, sign off with Yours or Love instead of something as formal and distant as Regards.

  • Hi gang,

    Let’s meet tonight at 8 p.m.

    Cheers, Regards,

  • Hi Farley,

    Let’s discuss this in our weekly meeting.

    Best, Regards,

  • Hi Mom,

    Here are some photos from our trip.

    Love, Regards,

Quick Quiz

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