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What is the proper way to end correspondence these days? An interesting article in the Washington Post recently looked at just that question. And while it’s a good read, I’m not sure it provided any answers.

I was taught in school (yes, yes, ages ago — insert your age joke here) that Thank You was not a proper sign off. Your best option was Sincerely or With Kind Regards. Of course, this was long before email came around, and language (as well as sentiment) has gotten much looser, I think. Everything goes to extremes — we ‘love’ everything, we’re ‘starving’ if we haven’t eaten for ten minutes, we’re ‘dying’ if something makes us laugh.

In today’s world, both ‘Sincerely’ and “With Kind Regards’ feel stuffy to me. I use them for submission letters, or for very formal correspondence. I still don’t like to sign off with ‘Thanks’ (See? Some lessons have stuck with me).

For most emails, I use “Best.” Sometimes, if the topic is serious, I’ll use “All my best.” If I know the person really well, or we’re having a sort of silly conversation, I use “Bestest.” (Yes, I’m aware it’s made up. That’s why I like it). If it’s someone I’m very close to (and who I know won’t be uncomfortable with me saying so), I use “Love.” When a creative mood strikes me, I’ll sign off with something silly and pertinent, like “Love and Fishsticks” or “Joys, Toys and Boys.” I also occasionally do the “update” signature (I seem to do this most when I’m traveling, I’ve noticed). For example: “From the girl who’s currently riding the rocky ferry back home and will probably throw up before this reaches you,” or “From your friend who’s now spent six hours on the tarmac in this little tiny plane and would really like you to come and rescue her now.” On my blogs, I use “Kiss kiss bang bang” and “Far and fast” and a few others.

I really like things like xxx or xoxo or, as my little sister usually signs off with, some sort of letters turned into a shape (usually a heart), but they’re not something I usually do myself.

One funny caveat: Unless the letter is very professional and/or to a stranger (in which case I use my full name, properly punctuated), I always sign my name as just a small s. So it becomes: Best, s. Why? I have no idea. Something about the informality of it, the uniqueness, a high-school crush on lower-case letters.

So, what do you sign off with? Is it different depending on the medium? Or just on the person? Has your sign off changed over the years? Or do you have a signature, well, signature, like a perfume?

From the girl who’s currently in a crowded coffee shop in a rainy isle and wants to pick your brain instead of write a new story, s.


“A woman seldom writes her Mind, but in her Postscript.”  ~Richard Steele, Spectator


PS — Interesting enough (yes, this is almost a forgivable segue), Oh Get a Grip! (a collective author blog) is looking at language this week. I wrote an essay about language — namely bad language — that will appear on Saturday.

PPS — Stockings, shoes, letter picture by this artist.