Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Useful Links

http://www2.elc.polyu.edu.hk/CILL/eiw/complaint_letter_constructor.htm  View this site as a slide or text, plus exercises.
http://www.samples-help.org.uk/sample-letters/ Very useful.
http://www.businessballs.com/complaintsletters.htm  Different types and templates.
http://www.dailywritingtips.com/dear-sir-and-other-business-conventions/ Good site for writing tips. Rocío, here's someone else wondering the same thing you did in class today: 'Calling someone "Dear" when you're writing a complaint?' :)
http://www.docdownload.com.au/document/content.psp?group=legal,75614&content=44072 Here's to download all sorts of legal templates.



A valediction (derivation from Latin vale dicere, 'to say farewell'), or complimentary close in American English, is an expression used to say farewell, especially a word or phrase used to end a letter or message, or the act of saying parting words- whether brief, or extensive.
For the greetings counterpart to valediction, see 'salutation' below.
Valedictions normally immediately precede the signature in written correspondence. The word or words used express respect, esteem, or regard for the person to whom the correspondence is directed, and the exact form used depends on a number of factors — including:
  • the formality of the correspondence
  • the relationship to the recipient
Conventions also change over time, and of course differ by language.
English valedictions typically contain the possessive pronoun yours. "Yours truly" and "yours sincerely" (or its American English variant, "sincerely yours"). Earlier style closings were usually much longer, and often a complete sentence.


Formal valediction

English language valediction typically contain the word yours, a contraction of your servant; valediction was traditionally voluminous, a complete sentence of the form:
I am, Sir, your most humble and obedient servant,
I beg to remain, Sir, your most humble and obedient servant,

This form is occasionally abbreviated to
Your obt svt,
The phrase et cetera may be used in place of the remainder of the valediction, as in
I am, etc.,
As well as

Yours sincerely or faithfully

In British English, valedictions have largely been replaced by the use of "Yours sincerely" or "Yours faithfully", a shorter form of the archaic "I am yours sincerely". "Yours sincerely" is typically employed in British English when the recipient is addressed by name and is known to the sender to some degree, whereas "Yours faithfully" is used when the recipient is not known by name (i.e. the recipient is addressed by a phrase such as "Dear Sir/Madam"). One way to remember this is the saying "S and S never go together" (for Sir and Sincerely respectively) or remembering "Sir Faithful". When the recipient's name is known, but not previously met or spoken with, some people prefer the use of the more distant Yours faithfully, at the risk of annoying the recipient.
In the American English, "Sincerely yours" or "Sincerely" is commonly used in formal correspondence. "Faithfully yours" is rare. Other formulas such as "Best wishes" and "Best regards" (see below) are also common in formal correspondence. In contrast to British English (see above) there is no special convention for combining these with any particular salutation.

Yours truly,

Yours truly can carry either or both of two connotations: as a valediction, and by implication, as an informal reference by a person to themselves – "the speaker".
"Yours truly" is also used in professional correspondence when writing to a client by his name, but signing the letter in the name of the firm where neither "Yours faithfully" or "Yours sincerely" would be appropriate e.g. Dear Mr. Brown ................Yours truly, Smith & Jones
As valediction
Commonly appearing in the US as "Yours truly," or "Yours very truly," use in the UK was an indication that the signatory was of a higher status than the recipient. Since this could be regarded as offensive, and since most valedictions are designed to show respect to the recipient, or at the very least courtesy, it was rarely used and has now become entirely obsolete.
As self-reference
  • "Yours truly made the cake" – a more prudish way to say "I made the cake".
  • "If yours truly hadn't been sick that day..."
In this manner, one may sarcastically refer to a third person present in the conversation:
  • "Everything was going fine before yours truly, here, showed up..."

Yours aye

"Yours aye" is a Scottish expression  meaning "yours always"

Yours hopefully

"Yours hopefully" is occasionally used in letters of respect or complaint.

Yours, etc.

Used historically for abbreviated endings. Can be found in older newspaper letters to the editor, and often in US legal correspondence. "&c." may be seen instead of "etc." (see et cetera).
In Jane Austen books, some letters are signed Yours, etc. or Yours Sincerely, etc.

Regards, kind regards, best regards

Increasingly common in business usage, "regards," "kind regards" and especially "best regards" are often used as a semi-formal valediction in emails. In informal usage, "best regards" and "kind regards" are often abbreviated to "BR" or "KR". The use of "kind regards" is most likely derived from the more formal, "kindest regards," which is itself a phrase derived from the even more formal combination of "Kindest regards, I remain,""yours" or "truly yours" or any one of a number of valedictions in common usage.


Other less formal expressions exist, often some variant of Best wishes such as All my best or, simply, Best. For family members or intimates, an expression such as Your friend, Your loving son or (in the case of lovers) Your Albert may be used; or the name may simply be preceded with All my love or Love.
Less commonly, other adverbs or adverbial phrases may be used, in keeping with the tone of the letter, such as In solidarity or Fraternally. Christian clergy often use Yours in Christ, Sincerely in Christ, or Yours sincerely in Christ.
Within the United States military services, two complimentary closings are standard. Respectfully is used by a senior addressing a service member of lower rank. Very Respectfully or Respectfully Submitted are used by a junior addressing a service member of higher rank. The closing Very Respectfully may be abbreviated "V/R" in brief emails and short notes (or, similarly, "R/S" for Respectfully Submitted), but these closings are always written out in formal correspondence.


Valedictions in e-mail

Valedictions in formal e-mail are similar to valedictions in letters: on the whole, they are variations of "regards" and "yours". However, a wide range of popular valedictions are used in casual e-mail but very rarely in letters. These include:
  • Cheers
  • Thanks
  • Keep in touch
  • Take care
  • Warmly
  • Love
  • N/R
  • Best
  • All the best
  • GLHF (meaning: good luck, have fun)
E-mail messages, especially those used for very brief communication, are commonly signed off without valedictions, these being replaced by automatically appended signature texts. Some are not signed at all, since a sender's name is usually provided in the message headers.


A salutation is a greeting, in particular a formal greeting used in a letter. Salutations usually take the form "Dear [recipient's given name]". For each style of salutation there is an accompanying style of complimentary close (valediction).

The salutation "Dear" in combination with a name or a title is by far the most commonly used salutation in both British and American English, in both formal and informal correspondence. It is commonly followed by either by an honorific and a surname, such as "Dear Mr. Smith", or by a given name, such as "Dear John". However, it is not common in English to use both a title of address and a person's given name: "Dear Mr. John Smith" would normally not be a correct form. A comma follows the salutation, while a colon is used in place of a comma only in American business correspondence. This rule applies regardless of the level of formality of the correspondence.
If the name of the intended recipient is unknown, the most often acceptable salutations are:
Dear Sir or Madam: (If the reader is most likely a male or the sex of the reader is entirely unknown.)
Dear Madam or Sir: (If the reader is most likely female.)
To Whom It May Concern: (If the writer wishes to exclude the sex of the reader from the salutation and/or to convey that the reader should forward the copy to one more suited to receive or respond appropriately.)
"Gentlemen", commonly used in the past, is today often thought inappropriate unless one is certain one is addressing a group that is entirely male.
In older British usage and current American usage, "Mr.", "Mrs.", and "Dr." are typically followed by a period (full stop), as is "Ms." even though it is not really a contraction, but it is common in recent British usage to drop the period after all such titles. Professional titles such as "Professor" or "Doctor" are frequently used both in business and in social correspondence. Dignitaries and holders of certain public offices are sometimes addressed by their titles, e.g. "Dear Lord Mayor", although in American practice the office is commonly prefixed by "Mr." or "Madam", as in "Dear Mr. President", or "Dear Madam Secretary".
"Miss" is generally reserved for unmarried women. "Ms." is for cases in which the marital status is either unknown to the writer or is irrelevant. For example, if you are writing a business letter to submit a bid to a female purchasing agent, "Ms." is entirely appropriate. "Mrs." is reserved for married women, and usually only those who have taken their husband's last name. In older conventions, "Miss" is always for unmarried women and "Mrs." is for married women. "Ms.", in such cases, is not used.
Messrs. or Messieurs is a term used to address many men rather than "Mr Pink, Mr White, et al." Messrs is the abbreviation (pronounced "messers") for messieurs and is used in English.
Similarly, Mesdames is a term to address many women or a mixture of married and unmarried women. It is pronounced "medam".
On occasion, one may use "Sir" or "Madam" by itself as the salutation. The severe and old-fashioned formality of such a salutation makes it appropriate for very formal correspondence (for example, addressing a head of state, or a letter to the editor), but in the same way the formality and stiffness of such a salutation would make its use in friendly social correspondence inappropriate.

From Wikipedia. The Free Encyclopedia.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this nice post. Before writing letter to any one, you should understand the format of Formal and Informal Letters in English.