Writing Style – Closings on Letters

Jean’s question: “Could you please provide some guidance with regard to the closing on a business letter.  My colleagues are no longer comfortable with “Yours sincerely” or “Yours truly” and, to add fat to the fire, they are seeing business letters with no closing at all — just the person’s name, title, and contact information.  Is this the current direction of business correspondence?”

BizWritingTip response: Think of a conversation you have had with a colleague. It usually starts with some sort of a greeting and ends with some sort of closing – good bye, see you later, etc. If you jumped into a conversation without acknowledging the other person or left their presence without some sort of farewell, you would be regarded as arrogant or rude.

The same is true for letters and emails. You need a greeting and a closing. However, these documents are two different forms of communication. Letters are considered more formal and are handled in a traditional manner.

A business letter should be produced on letterhead and contain an inside address, a “dear” line (unless you don’t know who will be reading your document), a complimentary closing line, and a signature box.

The standard way to close letters is “Sincerely” or “Yours sincerely.”

If I received a letter without a closing line, I would assume the sender was either uneducated in business protocol or a careless writer. It would definitely lower my impression of the writer and the organization.