Avoid Inappropriate Email Signoffs

Avoid Inappropriate Email Signoffs

Whether work-related or on personal time, most of us send multiple emails daily, which is why learning how to properly close the correspondence is essential because, as the Washington Post notes, you can pay the price for a “careless closing”.

Peter Post, author of Essential Manners for Men says that “Sincerely” is an all-purpose and safe way to close an e-mail message. “Yours truly” and “Regards” are also safe bets, but according to Peter, using “Best” is less than ideal.

I think it’s more important with ‘Best’ that you know the person,” Post says. “I think it would be very awkward to do that to a person that you only knew very slightly or hadn’t yet met.”

Send: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do It Better authors Will Schwalbe and David Shipley, offer a different perspective, claiming that you can warm up an otherwise “frigid and humourless” closing such as the above-mentioned “Best” by adding an exclamation point. Humour is another option. Georgetown University Professor Rev. James Schall says that he closes all his informal correspondence with “Pray for me”.

As for other potential sign-offs and their related meanings? Apparently, “Sincerely” could signal that “There’s a problem here,” while “Cheers” might be too “mock-Brit” (not so much in Australia, methinks – Oz ed). And according to the article, “Cordially” could signal to the recipient that your “hostility is only thinly veiled”/

Browse the full post for more advice on how to close an email well, then let us know what you use to sign off in the comments.

Saying ‘GoodBye’ Is the Hardest Part of an Email [Washington Post]


  • I use Cheers a lot, even at work but have been thinking recently that its too informal – and yes I’m an Australian. It seems that more conservative types like the “kind regards” approach, but to me this just stinks of a default. And if you don’t write anything it looks worse.

    You bloody beauty!

  • I use ‘cheers’ all the time. If the email is a request then I sometimes use ‘thanks’. I’ve never, ever seen ‘best’ used.

    May you remain disease free,

  • My default professional sign off is “Kind regards”, however if the recipient has annoyed me, I passively aggressively drop the “kind” and just go with “regards”.

    May your camel not devour your tent in the night,
    Purple Wyrm

  • I read somewhere that “cheers” is an absolute no-no, for what reason, I don’t remember (it must have been trivial or stupid).

    The way I see it, it all comes down to personal choice. Just because *I* think your “pray for me” is strange, doesn’t mean it is.

  • If I know the person well I generally don’t bother with any formal ending, if I’m requesting something I’ll end with a ‘thanks’ or a ‘much appreciated’… occasionally an ‘I look forward to hearing from you’.

    If I get a business email with ‘kind regards’, ‘best wishes’ or a similar sign-off more than once I just assume they’re a phoney.

    The whole concept of having a signature that pretends to be social/polite offends me, whether it’s a business email, a forum sig, or an automated thank you script in a video game.

  • I can relate to the ‘cheers’ signoff method (I’m also an Aussie,) but would never use it in an email to a person I hardly know. Usually I do use ‘kind regards’ because it inclines respect for the other person and adds a friendly touch (‘kind’.)

    Regards as it stands to me is a little cold. ‘Yours sincerely’ is also not appropriate unless we apply for a job or deal with a large authoritative body.

    ‘Talk soon’ is another ending I use with people I work with and nobody has ever taken negative to it. In the end it’s not just about the email signature but how we write emails in general that annoys people.

  • I must be Australian. Cheers is quick, informal and says thanks. Regards for more formal replies.

    What the hell is ‘Best”?

    Best you start using full sentences?
    The number of the Best = 6_6?

    WWTS – What Would Tigger Say? = TTFN

  • I have always used ‘Regards’ for informal email and for work or formal email I signoff with ‘Kind Regards’.

    For my riffraff friends its ‘Seeya’ 😀

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