What should I write at the end of an email?

More From ForbesSep 1, 2022,06:00pm EDTIt Has To Be Easier Than Last Year Teachers School The Rest Of UsSep 1, 2022,04:18pm EDTNational Study Shows Sharp Decline In Math And Readi

What should I write at the end of an email?

More From ForbesSep 1, 2022,06:00pm EDTIt Has To Be Easier Than Last Year  Teachers School The Rest Of UsSep 1, 2022,04:18pm EDTNational Study Shows Sharp Decline In Math And Reading Scores During PandemicSep 1, 2022,09:53am EDTBlack Women College Activists Have Reproductive Rights On Their MindsSep 1, 2022,06:00am EDTWill Syracuse University Rescind Rudy Giulianis Honorary Degree?Aug 31, 2022,01:15pm EDTTechnology World Explores Impact On Student HealthAug 31, 2022,12:00pm EDTAnother Critical Step Land-Grants Can Take To Fight Racial InjusticeAug 31, 2022,11:46am EDTAre There Any National Education Issues Left?Aug 31, 2022,05:50am EDTThirty New Obama Foundation Scholars Announced At Columbia, University Of ChicagoEdit StoryEducation

89 Ways To Sign Off On An EmailSusan AdamsFormer StaffIm a senior editor in charge of Forbes education coverage.New! Follow this author to stay notified about their latest stories. Got it!Oct 8, 2014,10:03am EDT|

  • Share to Facebook
  • Share to Twitter
  • Share to Linkedin

A year ago I wrote a story called 57 Ways To Sign Off On An Email. It surprised me by becoming one of my best-read stories, with more than 750,000 views to date. Since most of us are emailing more than ever and, I believe, still searching for the best ways to conclude our correspondence, Im revisiting the topic, reprising the original 57 options, adding 32 sign-offs suggested by my readers, and incorporating some readers comments on my first list.

First Ill recap the origin of last years story. Credit for the idea goes to my colleague Miguel Morales, who suggested I write it after getting an email with a sign-off that struck him as weird. It came from Melissa Geisler, who works in digital sports programming and production at Yahoo. Below Geislers title and above her cell phone number was this mystifying quote: The Bird is equal to or greater than the Word, attributed to someone named, simply, scientist. I got in touch with Geisler, who told me that the quote came from the animated TV show Family Guy. It referred to a song from the 1960s. That was me trying to have a little fun, she told me, though she has since dropped it from her emails. Much as I respect Geislers attempt at levity, I think its a mistake to leave people guessing about what you are trying to say in your sign-off.

To put together my original story, I polled colleagues, friends and four people Id consider experts: Cynthia Lett, 56, a business etiquette consultant in Silver Spring, MD, Farhad Manjoo, 36, a technology writer for The New York Times, who used to be the voice behind a Slate podcast, Manners for the Digital Age, Mark Hurst, 41, author of Bit Literacy: Productivity in the Age of Information and E-mail Overload, and Richie Frieman, 35, author of Reply AllAnd Other Ways to Tank Your Career.

Before I dive into the list, here are my four general rules for signing off on emails:

1. Dont include quotes. They bog down emails and take up readers precious time.

2. Avoid oversized corporate logos. Sometimes we have no choice about this, because our companies insist we include these things, but if they are too big, they draw the eye away from the message.

3. Include your title and contact info, but keep it short. In most business emails, youre doing the person a favor by sharing your vital information. But make it minimal. Mine just says, Susan Adams, Senior Editor, Forbes 212-206-5571. A short link to your website is fine but avoid a laundry list of links promoting your projects and publications.

4. Do include some kind of sign-off in the first email in a chain (once youve started a thread, you dont need to keep signing off).Win At Work: An eBook From Forbes
Land a great job, handle your boss and get ahead today.

And now, my list of 89 options:

1. Best This is the most ubiquitous. Its widely accepted. I recommend it highly and so do the experts.

2. My Best A little stilted. Etiquette consultant Lett likes it.

3. My best to you Lett also likes this one. I think its old-fashioned.

4. All Best  Harmless.

5. All the best  This works too.

6. Best Wishes Seems too much like a greeting card but its not bad.

7. Bests I know people who like this but I find it fussy. Why do you need the extra s?

8. Best Regards More formal than the ubiquitous Best. I use this occasionally.

9. Regards Fine, anodyne, helpfully brief. I use this too.

10. Rgds  I used to use this but stopped, because its trying too hard to be abbreviated. Why not type three more letters? OK if youre sending it from your phone.

11. Warm Regards  I like this for a personal email to someone you dont know very well, or a business email that is meant as a thank-you.

12. Warmest Regards  As good as Warm Regards, with a touch of added heat.

13. Warmest I use this often for personal emails, especially if Im close to someone but not in regular touch.

14. Warmly  This is a nice riff on the warm theme that can be appropriate for business emails if you know the recipient well.

15. Take care  In the right instances, especially for personal emails, this works.

16. Thanks - Lett says this is a no-no. This is not a closing. Its a thank-you, she insists. I disagree. Forbes Leadership Editor Fred Allen uses it regularly and I think its an appropriate, warm thing to say. I use it too.

17. Thanks so much I also like this and use it, especially when someonea colleague, a source, someone with whom I have a business relationshiphas put time and effort into a task or email.

18. Thanks!  This rubs me the wrong way because I used to have a boss who ended every email this way. She was usually asking me to perform a task and it made her sign-off seem more like a stern order, with a forced note of appreciation, than a genuine expression of gratitude. But in the right context, it can be fine.

19. Thank you  More formal than Thanks. I use this sometimes.

20. Thank you! This doesnt have the same grating quality as Thanks! The added you softens it.

21. Many thanks  I use this a lot, when I genuinely appreciate the effort the recipient has undertaken.

22. Thanks for your consideration  A tad stilted with a note of servility, this can work in the business context, though its almost asking for a rejection. Steer clear of this when writing a note related to seeking employment.

23. Thx  I predict this will gain in popularity as our emails become more like texts. Lett would not approve.

24. Hope this helps I like this in an email where you are trying to say something useful to the recipient.

25. Looking forward  I use this too. I think its gracious and warm, and shows you are eager to meet with the recipient.

26. Rushing This works when you really are rushing and may have made typos or written abbreviated sentences. It expresses humility and regard for the recipient.

27. In haste Also good when you dont have time to proofread.

28. Be well  Some people find this grating. Not appropriate for a business email unless you know the recipient well.

29. Peace  Retro, this sign-off wears its politics on its sleeve. It doesnt bother me but others might recoil.

30. Yours Truly  I dont like this. It makes me feel like Im ten years old and getting a note from a pen pal in Sweden.

31. Yours Same problem as above.

32. Very Truly Yours  Lett likes this for business emails but I find it stilted and it has the pen pal problem.

33. Sincerely  Lett also likes this but to me, it signals that the writer is stuck in the past. Maybe OK for some formal business correspondence, like from the lawyer handling your dead mothers estate.

34. Sincerely Yours  Same problem as Sincerely, but hokier. Lett likes this for business correspondence. I dont.

35. Cheers!  Though I have never liked this because it seems affected when used by Americans and I get annoyed at the idea that anyone is telling me to cheer me up, several British readers commented that its simply a frequently-used informal sign-off in the UK thats equivalent to thanks. On the other hand, one reader wrote, As a British person, it conjures boozy nights in a pub, and bottoms up as a synonym for cheers. Grates with me I am afraid.

36. Ciao  Pretentious for an English-speaker, though I can see using it in a personal, playful email.

37. -Your name  Terse but just fine in many circumstances. Probably not a good idea for an initial email.

38. -Initial  Good if you know the recipient and even fine in a business context if its someone with whom you correspond frequently.

39. Love  This seems too informal, like over-sharing in the business context, but Farhad Manjoo points out that for some people, hugging is common, even in business meetings. For them, this sign-off may work.

40. XOXO  Ive heard of this being used in business emails but I dont think its a good idea.

41. Lots of love  I would only use this in a personal email. The lots of makes it even more inappropriately effusive than the simple, clean Love.

42. Hugs  Its hard to imagine this in a business email but its great when youre writing to your granny.

43. Smiley face - Emoticons are increasingly accepted, though some people find them grating. I wouldnt sign off this way unless I were writing to my kid.

44. ;-)  Ive gotten emails from colleagues with these symbols and I find they brighten my day.

45. [:-)  Im a sucker for variations on the smiley face made with punctuation marks, though I suspect most people dont like them.

46. High five from down low  A colleague shared this awful sign-off which is regularly used by a publicist who handles tech clients. An attempt to sound cool, which fails.

47. Take it easy bro  Author Richie Frieman says he regularly gets this from a web designer in Santa Cruz, CA. Though it might turn some people off, I would be fine receiving an email with this sign-off, knowing the sender lives in an informal milieu.

48. See you around  Lett would cringe but this seems OK to me when used among friends or from a Santa Cruz web designer.

49. Have a wonderful bountiful lustful day Tim Ferguson, editor of Forbes Asia, regularly gets this sign-off from Joan Koh, a travel writer in Southeast Asia. I find it weird and off-putting though one reader claimed he liked it.

50. Sent from my iPhone  This may be the most ubiquitous sign-off. It used to bother me but I realize that it explains brevity and typos. Ive erased it from my iPhone signature because I dont like to freight my emails with extra words, and in many instances I dont want the recipient to know Im not at my desk. But maybe I should restore it. The same goes for automated messages on other devices.

WATCH: How To Email Better

51. Typos courtesy of my iPhone  Slightly clever but its gotten old. Better to use the automated message.

52. Sent from a prehistoric stone tablet  I laughed the first time I read it but then the joke wore thin.

53. Pardon my monkey thumbs  Same problem here.

54. Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.  A preachy relic of the past. Who doesnt know that printing uses paper? Though one reader suggested that environment refers to the people who might have access to the printed document, which could contain sensitive information and thus shouldnt wind up in the wrong hands. I beg to differ since the environment emails I have received include graphics of green trees.

55. vCards  I think these are a great idea. At least they work well on my Dell desktop when I want to load a contact into Outlook and youre doing the recipient a favor if youre initiating a correspondence.

56. This email is off the record unless otherwise indicated  My colleague Jeff Bercovici, who covers media, told me he gets this email from friends who are inviting him to birthday parties or other engagements and he finds it extremely annoying. Im wondering what kind of paranoid people put this in their signatures.

57. Lengthy disclaimers  Weve all seen these and ignored them, though I understand that many companies require them. Forbes former in-house legal counsel, Kai Falkenberg, couldnt recall any cases that have relied on legal disclaimers, though she said that a disclaimer might serve as persuasive evidence in a trade secrets case where a party is attempting to keep information confidential.

58. Much appreciated  From a reader who says he likes expressing gratitude to someone who has gone out of her way to be helpful. I agree this is a warm, appropriate sign-off in the right circumstances.

59. Talk soon  Reader Chris Thomas likes this. So do I, especially if you want to strike an informal tone.

60. TTYS This abbreviation for talk to you soon is frequently used in texts. I havent yet seen it in email but I think its just a matter of time and seems good for informal notes between friends.

61. Thank you for your patronage  This comes from a reader named Thierry Clicot who says it [w]orks well in a formal business relationship with an older or more proper client, though he admits that it sounds stilted. Im afraid I dont like this at all. The word patronage strikes me as patronizing.

63. Youre the best  Reader GabrielH suggests this while acknowledging that it sounds like the final scene from The Karate Kid. I dont disagree but I can also imagine using it when replying to a source or contact who has gone the extra mile.

64. Enthusiastically  I am a very upbeat person and I find it helps my e-mail echo what my intent is, writes Christopher Tong. I find this one heavy-handed and would recommend confining your enthusiasm to your email text.

65. To your success Ive never seen this one. I guess its OK if youre writing an email congratulating someone on a promotion or a new job. Otherwise it sounds an odd note.

66. Until/Till next time/week/tomorrow  Fine in the right circumstances.

67. Have a blessed day  For those who use this regularly in conversation, it can be appropriate.

68. God bless  ditto.

69. Blessings  ditto

70. Your servant in Christ One reader said her pastor uses this as his sign-off. For anyone outside the clergy, this seems too freighted. Obviously not appropriate when writing to someone who isnt Christian.

71. Peace dude  I havent seen this one, but I imagine if I got it, Id smile. Dont use it for most business correspondence unless youre a 20-something communing with others your age in a business like a start-up where the tone is decidedly informal.

72. Peace and love  This strikes me as a throwback akin to the simple peace. Appropriate if youre in your 50s or 60s emailing someone in the same age bracket.

73. At your service  In some contexts this could be fine. If a corporate publicist were responding with this sign-off to a request Id made, Id welcome it.

74. Now go do that voodoo that you do so well!  Reader Shardul Pandya says he occasionally uses this line from the Mel Brooks movie Blazing Saddles when letting his employees know they should proceed with a task. The line actually originated with the George Gershwin song, You Do Something to Me.

75. -Nickname  If youre very familiar with the recipient, you could sign off with a shortened version of your first name. Brian could end with Bri.

76. TTFN  I had no clue what this meant until three readers told me it stands for Tata for now.

77. Waiting to hear your reply, with best regards  This is too pushy and too wordy. Stick with best regards.

78. SMILE!  it exercises the maximum facial muscles This is from the same reader, Rajeev Joshi, who sent No. 77. I recoil when people tell me to smile.

79. A smiling face is miles more attractive than just a pretty one.  Joshi uses this too but it turns me off and seems vaguely sexist. Would he write this to a man?

80. The purpose of education is not knowledge but right action.  Another Joshi sign-off. He claims he is trying to get his recipients to think, but I think they are just annoying. Ill spare you the three others he sent.

81. Snuggles  This is another one thats new to me. Obviously for personal use only.

82. Stay gold  An allusion to the 1967 S.E. Hinton novel The Outsiders. Too obscure!

83. Respectfully  This sounds OK but it only seems appropriate in certain circumstances, like a student writing to a professor.

84. Make it a great day! Again I am repelled by directives that tell me how to live my life.

85. Thanking you in anticipation  I dont like this at all. Its an order wrapped in a nicety.

86. Signed  A reader suggested that this could be a good way to end en email because its generic and it doesnt imply any sort of emotion or promise. But Ive never seen anyone use it in email, and thus it calls needless attention to itself and sounds overly stiff and literal. I would never use this. If you want to sound generic, stick with Best.

87. With appreciation  Though Ive never seen this, it strikes me as warm and appropriate.

88. V/R  Reader Andee Howard Cui explains that this stands for Very respectfully. The phrase has a nice sentiment and its rendered less formal by the abbreviation, but I think its too obscure.

89. Sent from my smartphone  Reader Ieva Screbele believes that those who use the Sent from my iPhone sign-off seem like a they are showing that they can afford an iPhone and/or offering an advertisement for Apple. She suggests the more generic smartphone ending.I welcome more comments. What weird, funny, offensive or elegant sign-offs have I missed? Im prepared to write another version of this version with a longer list .

I welcome more comments. What weird, funny, offensive or elegant sign-offs have I missed? Im prepared to write another version of this version with a longer list .

Susan Adams

Susan Adams

  • Editorial Standards
  • Print
  • Reprints & Permissions

Video liên quan