How to End Letters

A teen sitting on a log and writing a letter by the lake in summertime.
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Whether to a family member or a business colleague, properly ending your letter brings your message to a close with one word or a short phrase before you sign your name. The nature of your letter's closing depends not only on whether the letter is personal or for business but also how close you are with the recipient. Likewise, the manner in which you sign your name can range from letter to letter.

1 Personal Letters

Several general phrases are suitable when you close a personal letter. Choices such as "Love," "With affection" and "Best" are ways to end a letter with a positive feeling before you sign your name. You also may tailor the closing phrase to the nature of your letter. For example, use "As ever" when you write to someone you haven't seen for a long time, or "With thanks" when you write to someone to express your gratitude.

2 Business Letters

Ending a business letter is more formal than with personal letters. "Sincerely" is a safe approach for business correspondence as are "Regards" and "Cordially." The specific language you use depends on your relationship with the letter's recipient. For example, if you have a close relationship with the recipient, you might end the letter with "Kindest personal regards" or "Please give my best to your family."

3 The Right Closing

Think about the overall message and tone of your letter before you choose the word or phrase to end the correspondence. Selecting an inappropriate ending may seem awkward. Using an overly formal ending is unnecessary with a personal letter to a family member, just as writing something informal isn't appropriate for a letter to a business client. Avoid a jovial ending for a letter of complaint and be wary of using a phrase such as "Thanks in advance for your help," as doing so may appear presumptuous.

4 Signing Your Name

It's standard practice to sign your name in pen at the bottom of a handwritten or typed letter. The exact way you write your name, however, depends on the nature of the letter. For personal letters, your given name on its own is adequate. For business letters, write your first and last name between the closing of the letter and your typed name. If the letterhead includes your business' name and your job title, don't duplicate this information in your signature. For email letters, simply type the version of your name you wish to use.

Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.