How to sign an email in English

Writing an emailWhen you finish writing an email in a business setting, it’s considered polite to sign your name at the bottom. True, readers of emails are usually pretty savvy about reading the “From:” field in the emails they receive, and will know it was you who sent them the email even before they start reading it. This shouldn’t stop you from being polite and signing your email anyway.

When you sign an email, you will usually want to leave a space after the last paragraph you have written, add a single line of text called a valediction, and on the next line, write your name. When conducting business in English you will want to make sure that your valediction matches the context of the email you are sending; you wouldn’t want to sign a formal letter (for a potential internship in the United States, for example) with an informal valediction.

The following are a few common English valedictions for you to use in your emails, and when you might (or might not) want to use them.

Sincerely

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Example:

Thank you for considering my job application! I really appreciate it.

Sincerely,
John

Meaning:

Sincerely is considered to be one of the most formal English valedictions. Using Sincerely indicates that you are being sincere about your message and its content. This is a very common way to sign job application letters or messages to people that you don’t know very well. You wouldn’t, however, sign an informal letter to a good friend with Sincerely; it would look very out of place. Another formal valediction you can use is Yours truly.

Thanks

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Example:

I have finished coding the software and will start testing it for bugs tomorrow morning.

Thanks,
Elizabeth

Meaning:

Thanks is a very common English valediction. It does not necessarily mean that you are thanking the person you are writing for anything that he or she did; rather, it is used in a general sense, perhaps thanking the reader for their attention or for making it to the bottom of your email! This is not often used in formal communications, but is very commonly found in emails from one coworker to another, and can also be used when corresponding with your manager. In a similar fashion you can also write Thank you or Much appreciated; these are considered to be more formal than a simple Thanks.

Cheers

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Example:

I’m heading home to feed the dog. I’ll be back after lunch.

Cheers,
Thomas

Meaning:

Cheers is a very British, Scottish or Irish way to sign a letter; many people from the British Isles sign their correspondence this way. It is also somewhat common in other Commonwealth countries such as Canada and Australia. It is considered very casual; you would never sign a job application letter with Cheers. Cheers is a word commonly used to offer a toast (with a drink) in England.

Regards

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Example:

Please remember that all power will be shut off in the building this coming Saturday.

Regards,
Ashley

Meaning:

Regards is short for Best regards or Kindest regards, which in a way is saying “best wishes” or “all the best to you”. In a similar fashion, Best and All the best are becoming popular ways to sign emails in English. Regards is considered a less formal and more friendly way to sign a message.

What do I use?

When I personally sign emails, especially in a business setting, I prefer to be both formal and friendly. That is why my customary email signature at work is Thanks, and all the best. I’m thanking the readers of my emails for reading my messages, and I’m wishing them all the best for the rest of the day.

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About the Author


Website: Brian Crawford
I'm a Canadian and British dual citizen with an internationally-focused American MBA and an MS in International Project Management from a French business school. I am PMP, ScrumMaster, and ITIL Foundation certified. I'm particularly into travel, writing, and learning about different languages and cultures.