As texting becomes more prevalent, the art of letter writing appears to be disappearing. Fortunately, some people still have opportunities to send letters, even if they do so via email.
When I was teaching a class about writing better business letters, one participant wondered about the best way to end her missives. Is “sincerely” the right choice?
My answer was the one that always draws a groan: it depends. I said the best way to end is to choose a word that matches the situation, formality, and purpose of the letter. For example, I prefer “best wishes,” which is usually too casual for really important letters. If you were writing someone about a legal matter involving the death of a family member, “best wishes” would actually convey a creepy tone.
Writing a friendly letter to a peer or colleague? “Cordially” still has a nice sound. “Very truly yours” is probably a bit too romantic for anything but deeply personal communication. “Yours” is a nice all-around choice. When all else fails, go ahead and trot out “sincerely,” unless your letter is anything but sincere.