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Thread: What do you call "Sincerely" at the end of a letter?

  1. #1
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    What do you call "Sincerely" at the end of a letter?

    Strange question, I know. But what do you call the sign-off (Sincerely, Best Regards, Cheers, etc) at the end of the letter? I know the greeting at the beginning of the letter is a salutation, but I am at a loss for the word for the ending of the letter, and I have no idea where to look it up.

    Thanks!
    Anne

    When you start to cook, as when you begin to live, you think that the point is to improve the technique until you end up with something perfect, and that the reason you haven’t been able to break the cycle of desire and disillusion is that you haven’t yet mastered the rules. Then you grow up, and you learn that that’s the game.

    Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

  2. #2
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    It's just called the "closing".

    PARTS OF A LETTER

    The HEADING (A) consists of three lines at the top of the letter that contain the sender's complete address and the date. Abbreviations should not be used. Sometimes only the date is used in the heading of a social note.



    The INSIDE ADDRESS (B), used only in a business letter, consists of the name and address of the person and/or organization to which the letter is written. It always begins at the left margin and is four lines below the heading, if typed. If the addressee has a title, this should be placed after his name and separated from it by a comma.



    The SALUTATION (C) of the letter starts on the left margin two lines below the inside address for a business letter or five lines below the heading of a personal letter, if typed. All words in the salutation are capitalized, and the last word is followed by a comma in a personal letter or a colon in a business letter.
    Sample salutations are:


    Personal:
    Greetings Friend, Dear Bob, Hi Bob,

    Business:
    Dear Mr. Jones: Dear Sir:
    Ladies and Gentlemen: Dear Mr./Mrs./Ms. Jones:


    The BODY (D) of the personal letter starts two lines below the salutation. Paragraphs are indented five spaces in the modified block form, which is used for all handwritten letters. In the block form, used only in typed business letters, all parts of the letter begin at the left margin. Single spacing is used within paragraphs, and double spacing is used between paragraphs.



    The first word of the CLOSING (E), which is placed several lines below the body, lines up with the first word in the heading and is the only word capitalized. A comma follows the closing.

    Possible closings include:

    Personal:
    Your friend, Missing you, Sincerely,
    Confused, Affectionately,Cordially,

    Business:
    Sincerely yours, Yours truly,Respectfully yours,

    The SIGNATURE (F) below the closing should always be handwritten, even if the letter is typed. In a business letter, the name of the sender is typed below his signature.

  3. #3
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    And here I was looking for some obscure word! Thanks, Grace! I didn't even think of Googling 'parts of a letter'.
    Anne

    When you start to cook, as when you begin to live, you think that the point is to improve the technique until you end up with something perfect, and that the reason you haven’t been able to break the cycle of desire and disillusion is that you haven’t yet mastered the rules. Then you grow up, and you learn that that’s the game.

    Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

  4. #4
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    I always call it the closing salutation.

  5. #5
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    Yes, it's just "closing." You can't have a "closing salutation" -- that's an oxymoron.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by funniegrrl
    Yes, it's just "closing." You can't have a "closing salutation" -- that's an oxymoron.
    I am not sure where I picked that up, but I just checked on the internet and there are others like me.

  7. #7
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    Not to overwork an answered question, but that's interesting. As an anglophone, I think of "salutations" as "greetings"...but in Italian, "saluti" ("salutations") is a wish of good health. In fact, I think it's used more as a "good-bye" than as a greeting. So a closing wish of good health - or closing salutation - is perfectly appropriate.
    In that context, at least.
    Last edited by Canice; 06-26-2006 at 02:11 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by funniegrrl
    Yes, it's just "closing." You can't have a "closing salutation" -- that's an oxymoron.
    I just looked up "salutation" on Merriam-Webster, and found this definition:

    Main Entry: salutation
    Pronunciation: "sal-y&-'tA-sh&n
    Function: noun
    1 a : an expression of greeting, goodwill, or courtesy by word, gesture, or ceremony b plural : REGARDS
    2 : the word or phrase of greeting (as Gentlemen or Dear Sir or Madam) that conventionally comes immediately before the body of a letter

    I don't see how "closing" and "salutation" are mutually exclusive, since the first definition of "salutation" seems to fit the function of a closing
    The motive power of democracy is love. ~ Henri Bergson

  9. #9
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    The essence of a salutation is greeting. It may mean a polite address, etc., but it is in greeting. If you would like a fancy word for the closing, use "valediction." It means a farewell. Like in graduations: the salutatorian should give a speech of greeting/welcome, the valedictorian should give one of farewell.
    As the arc of history bends towards justice, it's a new, more progressive day. --Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, 11-07-12

  10. #10
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    I hadn't anticipated any controversy on this thread!
    Anne

    When you start to cook, as when you begin to live, you think that the point is to improve the technique until you end up with something perfect, and that the reason you haven’t been able to break the cycle of desire and disillusion is that you haven’t yet mastered the rules. Then you grow up, and you learn that that’s the game.

    Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

  11. #11
    Many, many years ago in my training - it was call a "complimentary close".

    The selection is determined by the salutation and tone of the letter.

    ~~Paula

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by beacooker
    I hadn't anticipated any controversy on this thread!
    Some of us can find controversy darn near anywhere !
    The motive power of democracy is love. ~ Henri Bergson

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