How To End a Formal Letter in American English? 15 Business Tips
Which feelings would you have when you opened your email and saw a formal letter from an English-speaking colleague? Many people would panic since not everyone can write a reply well according to all rules and know how to end a formal letter in American English. Of course, you can always ask people you know to write the correct answer or even hire an interpreter. But are you willing to pay others for it? Business English is difficult and requires significant effort to learn all the details, but we are confident that everyone can cope with it.
The first thing to note is that business letters should not contain increased emotionality, familiarity, or unacceptable aggression. All the necessary information should be described briefly and concisely so that the addressee can quickly understand the point and meet your expectations. The question about how to end a formal letter is important, as it sums up and emphasizes the importance of what is written. However, first, let's understand the basic principles of the American business correspondence style.
Always Remember About Etiquette
It doesn't matter who you're formally texting with. There are standard rules that apply in any situation. It is critical to follow them since a letter makes the first impression on a person in the digitized modern world. So, you should consider the following facts:
- clearly indicate the subject that will reveal the essence, as many receive dozens of emails daily, and it’s essential to make the addressee pay attention to your letter;
- use formal greetings and avoid familiarity;
- re-read the letter before sending it since typos and mistakes can negatively affect people’s impression of you;
- introduce yourself and briefly describe the background of the question if you are writing to a new person;
- try to cover only one topic in the letter so that your interlocutor does not get confused;
- be serious and save the humor for correspondence with friends.
If you’ve received a business letter in English, don’t delay your reply and answer as soon as possible. Otherwise, your pen pal might think you're not interested in what's in the email. This applies to interviews, job questions, and even study. You don't want to appear rude, do you? It is often difficult for many to find the words to answer the interlocutor in English correctly, but it is better to avoid this mistake and write a response letter on the same day.
Don’t worry if you still don’t know how to write closing in formal letter. American English formal letters are the kingdom of clichés, so there’s no need to invent something entirely new. Remember that you must explain why you are writing at the beginning of the letter, and only then describe everything in more detail. And you can eventually use one of the widespread business letter closing paragraph examples. Just pick the necessary option.
Common Mistakes in Business Communication
Most formal communications have moved online with the development of social networks and messengers, but the question of how to finish a formal letter is still relevant. Now it is rare to find people who write handwritten memos or print them out on a printer since sending an email is simple and fast. On the one hand, it is much easier, as we can instantly contact anyone anywhere in the world.
On the other hand, people get used to informal communication and stop paying attention to the quality of what is written. So let's look at the top mistakes that users usually make with business correspondence and try to avoid them. And only after that, will we sort out how to close a formal letter.
Using Too Many Exclamation Marks
Of course, in formal letters, we most often raise some important questions that require an immediate response in formal letters. Accordingly, there is a natural desire to add exclamations so that a person pays more attention to what is written. Exclamation marks are not forbidden, but try to minimize their number. If there are too many of them, it will be challenging for the addressee to read the email and understand what you need. In addition, they may simply stop paying attention to them as something important.
Too Short or Too Long Text
Hardly anyone will give you an answer to the question of what should be the ideal letter. Experts believe that the optimal length is five sentences because a person will have time to understand the essence and not get too many irrelevant details. Minimizing the number of articles in a sentence is an interesting trick to reduce the number of words in a letter without losing its meaning.
Grammar and Spelling Mistakes
Every little thing in business correspondence matters, and even a small typo or the wrong letter in a word can give you a reputation as an inattentive and illiterate person. That is why you should always double-check everything written. Consult a dictionary or your English teacher if you need more confidence about spelling, and ensure the text is perfect before sending it.
Using Jargon and Slang
Many people consider such phrases appropriate when communicating with colleagues, which is sometimes true. However, remember that your letter may be forwarded to others who will not necessarily appreciate this communication. Accordingly, leaving jargon and slang for informal correspondence is the best solution.
Ignoring Gender and Title of Your Interlocutor
During business correspondence, you need to show your respect for the recipient of the letter. However, many do not bother and don’t want to spend their time learning more about it. Confusion often arises with names and surnames since it is sometimes unclear whether they belong to a man or a woman.
If you want to pass for a well-mannered person, take the trouble to find out a little about your potential interlocutor in advance. For instance, if their name is Jessy Johnson, you can hardly guess whether you will address a man or a woman. Using “Mr” or “Mrs” in formal American communication is obligatory, so don’t ignore this rule.
Importance of Closing in Formal America Emails
Leaving letters without closing phrases is normal during friendly, informal communication. However, this is inappropriate in business correspondence. Catch several standard letters ending options that will be appropriate in any situation:
- Yours Sincerely.
- Faithfully Yours.
- Thank you for your consideration.
- Best Wishes.
These are only some classic phrases suitable for every email or physical note. It’s worth mentioning that the formal letter ending may vary according to the content and your expectations from the particular correspondence. Below, you will find more specific options that may be helpful when communicating with your business partners or colleagues.
Formal Letter: How to End a Letter
However, the letter's end can be more specific depending on your purpose. Below we give some examples.
- “Thank you for your assistance/support/time” if you want to express your gratitude to a person.
- “Looking forward to your reply/looking forward to hearing from you soon/I would highly appreciate your immediate attention on this point” in cases when you need to highlight how important the feedback is.
- “Please let me know if you need anything else/Don’t hesitate to contact me for further assistance” if you want to suggest help or wait for future details of your cooperation.
- “Please advise as necessary/Let me know your opinion on this matter” if you need to get your interlocutor’s recommendations concerning the discussed issue.
These expressions fit perfectly if you search for how to end a formal letter of request, CV, sales letter, and many others. Overall, most abovementioned phrases can be used in all circumstances since you can transform them according to the subject. Remember the standard templates and modify them depending on the letter's purpose, and you will succeed in this task.
Letter Closings That You Should Better Avoid
Sometimes it seems all boundaries have been erased in the modern world, and any phrase can be appropriate. However, this does not apply to business correspondence. And although there are numerous formal ways to end a letter, there are still those that are not recommended. Here are some examples:
- “God bless you” since English speakers don’t usually mention the religious aspect with unfamiliar people.
- “Take care” sounds like a positive goodbye but makes the person think something bad might happen to them, so it's better to choose a more neutral option.
- “Thnx, rgrds”, and other abbreviations are suitable for informal communication. However, avoid them in business letters since that sounds disrespectful: the addressee might think you didn't have enough time for the email.
There’s one more important thing concerning Americans emails you should note. Nowadays, almost everyone owns a smartphone, and many prefer leading correspondence from their device. Many gadgets automatically add notes such as “Sent from an iPhone,” and it’s important to delete them. Even though Apple products are widespread in our time, the demonstration of their devices is inappropriate in formal correspondence. That is why the rule "recheck the email before sending" should be observed by everyone.
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Highly qualified teachers will create a lesson plan for you according to your request. You will quickly learn how to end a formal business letter and other language subtleties that school teachers forgot to provide you with. Of course, you can always use such dictionaries as Collins, but they can never be as effective as a personalized education plan. We follow all updates and trends, so you can be confident that you will receive the most relevant English knowledge and skills.
What are the best business letter closing examples?
The most common options include “Yours Sincerely,” “Faithfully,” and “Best Wishes.” These are the standard phrases suitable in any situation, no matter who you are texting to. However, you can use many other expressions to show your gratitude or hope for further cooperation. The main thing is not to use jargon and avoid familiarity.
How long should a business email be?
Experts believe five sentences of medium length are the optimal amount of text to convey the essence without overloading the addressee with unnecessary details. However, it all depends on the specific situation. Try to be laconic and briefly provide all important Information. If you have to place a lot of data in one letter, use numbered lists to make it easier for the interlocutor to perceive much text.
Why is it better to avoid abbreviations in letter closings?
According to American writing etiquette, it’s considered disrespectful to the addressee. A person who got your email might think that the discussion point is not so important for you if you haven’t found a few spare seconds to write all the words properly. So, it’s better to spend several more minutes and proceed with an appropriate formal letter.
Is slang suitable in a formal way to end a letter?
No, such expressions should be left for communication with friends and relatives. As a rule, serious aspects are discussed in business circles, and familiarity in such cases is inappropriate. Avoid slang and jargon in work correspondence, even if you are on friendly terms with colleagues, since there is always a chance that your letter will be forwarded to someone else.