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My company is going into new countries, everybody in the administration is taking an English course. During this course one teacher claimed that you should never, never use the greeting “Best regards”. Instead you should use “Yours sincerely” or “Kind regards”.

Well, when I went to business School in 1979 I only learned that you should only use the phrase "Yours faithfully,".

Reading this very long thread I think that one should conclude that if you know the person, you can use "Yours sincerely", and if you do not know the person, you should use "Yours faithfully".

Is this correct?

Someone wrote that you might capitalize the first letter in both words. What is the significance of that and what would it mean?

Yours faithfully,

Benny Bubel

More: Yours sincerely or Sincerely yours

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Comments  (Page 2) 
Hi guys,

I think we should clarify just what kind of business emails we are talking about here. In his original post, Bubeldk spoke of his company going into a new country. Perhaps he/she might give us a short example of such an email. Failing that, the other posters should do this, to show how they want to end such a thing. Otherwise, I suspect we are all envisaging and discussing different things.

For example, is it an initial approach to initiate a business relationship? Do we know the person we are writing to? Is it a minor administrative matter, like asking if we have received a shipment? Is it 10 paragraphs to discuss the design of a new product, or one line that says something like 'We shipped 10 cases of widgets to you today, invoice no. 123345'.

I would even attempt to argue that there is no such thing as a truly formal email. By definition, it's a less formal medium. If my small company wanted to make an initial approach to IBM to do business, I wouldn't even use email. I'd take the best quality paper I could find and go to a printer and get the most impressive-looking letterhead I could dream up. Then I'd write a letter and mail it. Email is for flunkies and middle-managers, as well as for snake-oil salesmen and spammers.

Yours faithfully, Kind regards, Hasta La Vista baby,

Clive

PS - Sextus, you said All the best, All the best wishes (it's actually just 'Best wishes', I know, that's my tag line on the Forum) , Cheers, which I think are neither formal nor informal. No, these are all informal, particularly 'Cheers'!
Clive

I would even attempt to argue that there is no such thing as a truly formal email. By definition, it's a less formal medium. If my small company wanted to make an initial approach to IBM to do business, I wouldn't even use email. I'd take the best quality paper I could find and go to a printer and get the most impressive-looking letterhead I could dream up. Then I'd write a letter and mail it. Email is for flunkies and middle-managers, as well as for snake-oil salesmen and spammers.

The best approach in this situation is to do as Clive suggests.

Although you are certainly entitled to your opinion you should be careful in your choice of description. E-mail IS now the mode of written communication by all levels of management. However, this is not to say the every individual uses it.

Try out our live chat room.
Clive PS - Sextus, you said All the best, All the best wishes (it's actually just 'Best wishes', I know, that's my tag line on the Forum) , Cheers, which I think are neither formal nor informal. No, these are all informal, particularly 'Cheers'!

Yes, you're right Clive, they're all informal. I think I was half asleep last night. Another mistake was "the" in "all the best wishes", but I can tell you that quite a few native English speakers do employ "all best wishes" or "with all best wishes". Another one is "all best".

Cheers,

Sextus
I don't know what's the right way to end e-mail, but I'm from Finland and I always use "Best regards" when writing to abroad.
What about the beginning of e-mail? how should I start if I want to write to unknown person? If I know the name, then it is easy, but if I do not know the name nor the sex of the person?
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Hi,

What about the beginning of e-mail? how should I start if I want to write to unknown person? If I know the name, then it is easy, but if I do not know the name nor the sex of the person?

As already noted in this thread, email is an informal means of communication. There are not really any firm rules. Even if they know the name of the person they are writing to, a lot of people just put no greeting at all, and simply start right into their message.

In a non-email letter to a person you don't know, you'd start with Dear Sir or Madam, but this would be unusual in an email.

Best wishes, Clive
Thank you Clive, that was my point. I did mean the letters as well, not just e-mails and starting it was always dilemma for me.

thanks
A simple rule to remember: Dear Sir, Yours faithfully. Dear John, Yours sincerely. The two "s"s never go together (i.e. never Sir and Sincerely). I learned this at secretarial college many moons ago along with Envelopes for StaionEry and Articulated lorries for StationAry. And its always compared WITH - never compared to unless you're quoting Shakespeare ("shall I compare thee to a summer's day, thou art more lovely") and you're comparing two similar things. Easy way to remember, you always "compare apples with pears" you can't compare apples TO pears as they are completely different fruits.

Hope all that helps.........
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Hi,

A simple rule to remember: Dear Sir, Yours faithfully. Dear John, Yours sincerely. The two "s"s never go together (i.e. never Sir and Sincerely).

In N. America today, in my experience, I rarely/never see 'Yours faithfully'. Today, to my ear, that sounds very formal to the point of being old-fashioned. Perhaps the situation in Britain is different.

Best wishes, Clive
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