How Should a Letter End: “Yours Sincerely” Vs “Yours Faithfully?”
How Should a Letter End: “Yours Sincerely” Vs “Yours Faithfully?”Feb 22
Okay today’s topic is about ending letters, and the valediction to use when doing so. Should we say “yours sincerely” or should we say “yours faithfully”?
To be honest, I do not particularly care. I think that this is one of those rules which were made in the era when people liked to make rules. Almost all sites that I have visited on the vast Internet, disagree with me.
So today we’re going to take a look, at the specific rule behind the usage of “yours sincerely” and “yours faithfully.”
Let me just come out and say it in as simple terms as possible. Use “yours faithfully” in more formal settings, and “yours sincerely” in less formal ones.
An example could be, use “yours sincerely” when you began the letter by addressing the recipient by his or her name. Instead, if you began your letter by saying something like “Dear Sir,” then you should say “yours faithfully.”
To make this easy for us, a good mnemonic is, “S and S do not go together.” That is short for, Sir and Sincerely do not go together.
Interesting rule, eh!
Of course, when we are taking a trip down the history of valedictions, it is important to note that both, “yours faithfully” and “yours sincerely,” are contractions of more formal endings. “Yours sincerely”, comes from, “I remain yours sincerely.”
Often, I wonder, about the relevance of such rules beyond the English classroom. Sure Ms. Mavis, assuming that is the name of your English teacher, would be very glad to know that you use the correct valediction at the end of a letter. But beyond that, I am usually glad to see any valediction at all. In the age of tweets and text messages, language has deteriorated to the point that even rather liberal writers like me, feel suffocated.
So if you were a preparing for an exam, you know the difference between “yours faithfully” in “yours sincerely.” But if you were writing a letter, you probably should go with what suits your personality best. It could be “yours sincerely” or it could be “yours faithfully”. But that is not all. It could also be “best regards” or “sincerely yours.” It would also be the American version of “yours sincerely,” that is, “yours truly.” And based on the comment by Rayomand, let us not overlook “Regards” or for that matter, “Cheers.”
See you again tomorrow, with yet another writing tip.
Ajeet Khurana 🙂