Writing letters in English, even informal, and especially letters which have an official character, requires strict structure. Its violation shows not in your favor, but nuances between different expressions are so thin that sometimes may be understood practically intuitively. Read on, and you will learn all the features of the clichéd phrases at the end of a formal letter.
So, let us start by defining what official letters are. This is business, official or professional correspondence. Moreover, an addressee can be both a private person and an organization. We may know his/her name and surname or not. It depends on when to use sincerely and faithfully.
«Yours faithfully» is probably the most outdated and official option. This expression is literally translated as «with respect, devoted (a) to you, with the deepest honor». Due to this phrase, a sender expresses deep respect for an interlocutor.
It is used when writing to strangers and is appropriate only in official letters. Therefore, if you start with «Dear Madam / Sir», the end should be «Yours faithfully». It is important that the beginning and the end of the message comply with each other.
In the case of contacting a stranger at the end of а letter, it is enough to write initials. The phrase is quite acceptable in the Near East and Middle East, but in Western culture it is rarely used, only if you started a letter with the words «Dear Sir/Madam».
How to translate this phrase? Literally it means «wholeheartedly yours, respectfully». Thus, «your sincerely» meaning: the right option if you need to be particularly polite, but nothing more. There is no «warmth» or «sincerity» in these words.
«Yours sincerely» is adequate to use if your letter is addressed to a person whose name and position you know. In addition, it is permissible in informal messages. After this expression you specify your full name and surname.
This may be the end of a letter from a lawyer who still puts you in an incredible account, or a person with whom you have differences in business, but there is a sense to continue to cooperate and maintain a professional distance. With these words you can and should finish your CV to a potential employer.
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Other Ways of Signing Off a Letter
In fact, there are a huge number of phrases to end a formal or semi-formal letter. If you think about what to write – «kind regards» or «yours sincerely» – do not strain because these are synonyms. Here is a more complete list of synonymous expressions.
But you can use longer phrases as well as sentences. Below are a few examples.
Grammar requires extra effort and preparation. And even more so, with regard to business correspondence. Although, you can train the necessary skills in a month or two. For example, if you decide to study with a tutor. This is the quickest and most efficient way to acquire the necessary knowledge.