Closing a letter with an appropriate expression without relying on the tried-and-true – but somewhat boring – "Sincerely" varies according to the type of letter and its recipient. Whether you're writing a letter to the CEO of a company, the President, the Pope or your grandparents, you are judged on your spelling, grammar and even the words with which you close your correspondence. Closing comments vary widely depending on your familiarity and relationship with the intended recipient.
In business correspondence, the closing is generally a formal statement that is concise and crisp without being unfriendly. Among often-used closings are "Respectfully," "Best regards" and "Best." To some extent, your choice of a closing is a matter of personal preference. Etiquette expert Emily Posts suggests using "Yours Truly" or similar variations as a complimentary closing to business letters, which she describes as warm, but not too informal. However, there are differences of opinion on the appropriateness of "Yours Truly" as the best closing remark. For instance, Susan Adams of Forbes finds it awkward and more like a closing from a pen pal than from a business associate. If you correspond frequently with someone, you might close with, "Warm regards" or "Thanks so much," depending on the content of the letter or email.
Formal letters include those sent to royalty, politicians, military leaders and spiritual leaders. Closings to members of royalty and the Pope are extremely formal, such as, "I have the honor to remain – insert 'Sir' or 'Madam,' 'your' and the person's title – most humble and obedient subject." Below the rank of Prince or Princess, closings may include, "Yours faithfully," "Yours sincerely" or "Respectfully."
Between Family and Friends
Among family and friends, closing a letter becomes less formal and much friendlier. While you may close a letter to your parents or grandparents with, "Love," "Lots of love" or "Hugs," letters to friends may end with "Cheers," "Ciao," "See you soon" or "See you around." All are appropriate in the context of a private, personal letter between family or friends.
Love Letter Closings
Letters between two people in love may close in an extravagant manner. In earlier times, a love letter might close with, "as ever your friend," but as the correspondence progressed, it might become more passionate, or not, depending on the lady's feelings for the gentleman. From a simple "Love" to "All my love" to "Vaya con Dios, mi amor – Go with God, my love," the special closings of love letters are as varied as the lovers' imaginations.