The Best Email Sign-Off, and 15 to Avoid
Sending an email can be a complicated process. If you’re sending a business-related message, you will need to be as respectful as possible; sending one to your child’s teacher requires sincerity, and one to a family member can be as laid back as you’d like in many cases.
The perfect email means your content is short and to the point, making it easier to read. Your sign-off needs to reflect that but also relay your point. Whether you’re expressing gratitude or expecting a response, we’ll first cover the perfect professional email sign-offs.
Professional Email Sign-Offs
As stated previously, the type of sign-offs you include in your email will vary depending on who you’re sending it to. It’s important to keep your audience in mind when sending any form of written communication. So without further ado, here are some sign-offs to include in your professional emails.
“I look forward to hearing from you soon!”
This email sign-off lets the recipient know that you are expecting a response. Whether it be a resume or a sales pitch, it is only polite for the other person to respond, and including this in your email states that you are expecting a reply. You can change it up to say, “I look forward to the opportunity to speak with you further,” as well.
“Your valuable time is greatly appreciated”
If your recipient is at work, chances are they don’t have a lot of time, and they receive a lot of emails. Including this sign-off is one way to express genuine gratitude that warrants a polite response.
Warm regards is a great way to end an email because it is polite and professional. Some may think it is slightly old-fashioned, but it is simple and to the point, which is perfect for emails.
Email Sign-Offs to Avoid
Some of these are acceptable under certain circumstances, but most are not recommended for formal or professional emails.
“Thanks” and variants along that tangent (“thanks again,” “thanks!” “thanks so much,” and so on) all come across as a little disingenuous. Not only do we all read emails with a bit of a sarcastic tone in our head, but if you’re emailing to ask someone for something – rather than to genuinely express thanks – it’s a tad obnoxious. It’s better to express genuine gratitude.
While you may have been taught to end a letter – and thus an email – with ‘sincerely,’ just don’t. If you’re starting your email with “Dear,” you can get away with finishing with “sincerely,” but otherwise, avoid – even in some formal applications.
If you like ‘Sincerely’ for its classic professionalism, try ‘Warmly’ instead. The latter is a little less formal and feels like you put a little more effort into your correspondence.
3. … soon
“Talk soon,” “speak to you soon,” or even “more soon” – lending with anything “soon” generally commits you to talk to that person again. This sign-off is fine if you intend to send a follow-up email or meet someone in person; less fine if you have zero intention of taking the time to speak with them again. While a casual reply, it can come across as insincere.
Instead, you can try “Thank you for your valuable time” if you do not want to set a commitment to respond. If you will communicate with the recipient again, try something more genuine such as “I look forward to speaking with you further.”
4. Your name
Ending an email by just signing off is seen as pretty cold and abrupt. Unless it is a final reply to an email where you’ve answered a question and received a response, this one wouldn’t convey any message other than “I’m done talking to you.” So, it’s best to avoid leaving only your signature.
If you’re looking for a simple yet straightforward and respectful way to let someone know you’d like to discontinue the conversation, try “It’s been a pleasure.”
5. Your initial(s)
Signing off with your initials or first initial is a tad friendlier than writing out your full name, but it’s still just as abrupt. It also leaves people relatively in the dark as to who you are, so really only best used if you’re talking to someone you already know reasonably well.
Surprisingly, ending an email with nothing at all is absolutely fine, but you can’t do this in your first email. Always put an end to your email first, and as more emails are sent in quick succession, you can drop the formalities.
Stiff and outdated. Only bring this one out if you’re emailing a government official or someone from the clergy, as “respectfully yours” is the standard closer in that situation.
8. XX [Kisses]
Unless it’s a family member or close friend, you shouldn’t be doing this. Some casual work relationships find this acceptable, but it’s really only something you do with someone you already know. Don’t spring it on someone out of the blue; it’s creepy.
This reply is, along with “all the best” and “best wishes,” a relatively safe ending to go with if you’re being polite but informal. The more words you add, “best wishes” or “all the best,” for example, the more formal the sentiment becomes. Some feel that “best” and its variants can be too effusive, but it should serve you fine for the most part.
“Yours” and variants thereof (“yours truly,” “yours faithfully,” and so on) sit on the more formal end of the spectrum. As with “best,” the more words you add, the more formal it becomes. “Yours” does have another complication, though: many wonder exactly what you’re offering when you say “yours,” and “yours faithfully” indicates something incredibly formal like a forthcoming marriage proposal. Avoid.
11. “Your Friend”
This one can split many people. It’s just a bit too formal and sits a tad close to “sincerely” for some. However, some see it as passable, generally the younger generations as we make friends with most of our colleagues. We don’t recommend sending “Your Friend” to an older co-worker or one in a position of authority.
12. Thanks so much!
It’s not only unprofessional, but it’s also lacking in grammar. Depending on your recipient, this could be perfectly fine (if it’s the final email to your IT support team after they’ve fixed your issue, for example). But, it isn’t exactly professional or genuine.
13. Your response is greatly appreciated.
Although this might initially come across as a sincere email sign-off, it can also be perceived as presumptuous. While you may want to convey gratitude and the expectation of a response, “I look forward to hearing from you soon” is slightly less passive-aggressive.
Only really acceptable if you’re British; otherwise, it seems a little condescending. The same can also be said with “ta,” but “cheers” is generally a favored response that’s also pleasingly casual and – to us Brits – perfectly acceptable instead of “thanks” and more formal email sign-offs.
15. As ever
The generally favored way to end an email is “as ever.” It may not be an ideal finisher for initial contact, but it’s great for replying to someone you speak to often over email. It carries no expectancies or connotations. It’s simply you signing off as you.
However, some younger audiences may not understand that ‘As ever’ typically means “always yours.” Therefore, this sign-off can come across as outdated and provoke misunderstandings.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are times when the perfect email can significantly impact your next step in life. Here are some more questions about email sign-offs to help you send perfect emails.
Is an email sign-off really a big deal?
The importance of a sign-off depends on the context in which you’re sending an email. If you’re sending a memo via email to a co-worker or some class notes to a classmate, it probably isn’t such a big deal. However, the wrong email sign-off could send the wrong message. For example, if you send ‘Yeah, thanks’ to someone trying to help you, it could come across as snide or sarcastic.
Unfortunately, text-based communications lack context, which means it’s easy for your recipient to get the wrong idea. So, beware of how your reader will take the message you are sending because, yes, your reader will likely see your sign-off.
Should I add a signature?
Absolutely! Listing your name, contact information, and the company makes it much easier for your recipient to respond to you in the future. Not to mention, a signature is widely accepted as a symbol of someone who understands how email communications work.
Which sign-off should I use?
When you understand that your sign-off is simply wrapping up the message, it’s a little easier to choose which one is appropriate.
For example, a sales pitch and an email about an interview both demand a reply. But, you want to be friendly and professional. A sign-off like TTYL just won’t do because it’s unprofessional, while ‘Always yours’ can be creepy and overly friendly. This type of communication is where expressing gratitude for the recipient’s time and letting them know you look forward to hearing from them comes in handy.
If you are sending an email to someone of high authority (with whom you would not have water cooler conversations), professionalism is key. ‘Respectfully yours’ is appropriate here, as is ‘Warm Regards’ or ‘Sincerely.’
Emails to your bosses and co-workers can be a tad tricky. First, you don’t want to send any written communications that can lead to a call to HR. Second, you don’t want to be overly formal or too relaxed. The safest option for these relationships is “thank you for your time” or “please reach out to me for further questions.”
What is the purpose of an email sign-off?
Text-based communication is tricky. Without gestures, tone, and inflection, messages can come across as too harsh or unclear. An email sign-off wraps up your message and ensure your message is conveyed properly. Your sign-off should reflect the tone of your message.
The only time you should refrain from adding a sign-off is in a string of emails. For example, if you’ve been sending emails to the same recipient in an on-going conversation, adding “Sincerely” or “Regards” every time may come across as annoying or even condescending.
Don’t Overthink It
If you’ve ever read and re-read an important email before sending it, this section applies to you.
Of course, it’s natural to consider who you’re sending the email to and why. If it’s a sales email, it’s best to leave a positive sign-off that also encourages a response. Something like “I look forward to speaking with you further” is ideal here. But, that phrase wouldn’t work well in a condolences email, for example.
While it can be intimidating to send an important email, most people generally skim their emails and won’t judge you too much on your sign-off.