5 Steps To Finish a Letter (With Examples)
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There are many steps to writing a letter, and one simple yet significant step is writing the closing sentence and sign off at the end. Finishing a letter to a colleague, employer or friend is an important part of any letter, whether it's formal or informal. In this article, we discuss why it's helpful to finish a letter, how to finish a letter in five steps and examples of closing sentences and sign offs for different letter recipients.
Why is it important to finish a letter?
It's important to finish a letter because the closing is your final opportunity to connect with the recipient. The closing sentence and sign-off, or short farewell phrase, help determine the level of formality of the relationship with your reader and let the recipient know you've ended your letter.
Related: The 7 Parts of a Business Letter
How to finish a letter in 5 steps
Having the appropriate closing to a letter is an important step in the letter-writing process because it can give the reader positive feelings about you and the things you've written in the letter. Here's a list of five steps you can follow to finish your letter effectively:
1. Know your audience
Understanding your audience is a key factor in determining how you finish your letter. If you're addressing an employer or someone you've never met before, consider writing a formal closing sentence and sign off. If you're writing to someone you're comfortable with or have an established relationship with, such as a colleague or a friend, you may end with an informal closing and sign off.
2. Choose your closing sentence
The closing sentence is the last sentence in the letter before the sign off. Closing sentences allow you to request a response from the reader and give you an opportunity to thank them for their time. Similar to sign offs, these can be formal or informal, so decide which category your recipient is in before writing a closing sentence.
3. Choose your sign off
Sign offs are the last words the recipient of your letter sees, so choosing the correct sign off for the reader is crucial. Different phrases have undertones that can determine the reader's attitude toward the recipient.
To format the sign off correctly, capitalize the first letter of the first word in the sign off and write the second word in lowercase letters, followed by a comma. Try to leave space for your written or typed signature after the sign off.
Here's a list of sign-off examples:
When finishing a letter to a friend or long-time colleague, a farewell phrase such as "Take care," or "Your friend," may be ideal. In contrast, if you're sending a formal letter to an employer or teacher, consider using a phrase like "Respectfully," or "Regards," to match the formal tone of the letter.
4. Sign your name
After your sign off, your letter officially ends with your signature. If the recipient is receiving a printed hard copy, leave two to three blank lines under the sign off and type your full name. After you print the letter, sign your name in the space between the sign off and your typed name.
If the reader is receiving the letter by email, leave at least one blank line between the sign off and your typed name. You can also include your contact information under your name so the recipient can contact you if needed.
5. Proofread your letter
Before printing or sending the letter, consider proofreading your letter. You may decide to check for correct spelling, capitalization and punctuation. In addition, you might read your letter aloud to help ensure that everything flows naturally and sounds as you intended. Once you've proofread your letter, you can send it by email or by mail to the recipient.
Related: How To Become a Proofreader
Examples of closing sentences
There are various closing sentences you can choose from, depending on your audience. Here are some examples of closing sentences to use in your letter:
Examples that provide a call to action
When you're giving a call to action or sending open-ended instructions, you can use one of the following closing sentences:
We look forward to scheduling a meeting with you in the coming weeks.
I look forward to hearing your input on the matter.
Thank you in advance for sharing your thoughts on the subject.
Examples that express gratitude
To express your gratitude or appreciation to the recipient, consider using one of these closing sentences:
Thanks again for your time and consideration.
Thank you for your attention on this matter.
It's always a pleasure doing business with you.
Examples that include an invitation to continue the discussion
If the end of your letter includes an invitation to continue your discussion at a general or specific date and time in the future, consider using one of the following closing sentences:
We look forward to our meeting on July 16.
I am eager to build a strong relationship in the coming months.
I await your reply with interest.
Examples of informal letters
Informal closing sentences are a great way to end a letter with a casual tone. Using punctuation to convey excitement, such as an exclamation mark, is acceptable for casual letters. You may use one of the following informal closing sentences when finishing a letter to a friend, family member or close colleague:
I hope to hear from you soon.
We hope you're doing well!
I can't wait to hear from you!
Types of sign offs
Some sign offs are more appropriate for employers or educators, while some are more appropriate for friends or family members. Here's a list of different sign offs you can use, depending on your audience:
Formal sign-off examples
Here are examples of formal sign offs and when it's best to use them:
Regards: This sign off shows professionalism and respect for the reader.
Respectfully: This is a good way to end a letter to people you haven't formally met or have had few conversations with. It keeps the letter formal and shows respect to the recipient.
Sincerely: Many people use this sign off in both formal and informal letters. It shows sincerity and can be a good choice if you don't know the recipient and would like to use a common and polite farewell phrase.
Best: This sign off shows the reader that you're wishing them the best. It's typically viewed as polite, and you can use it with both friends and business contacts.
Informal sign-off examples
Here are a few examples of informal, casual sign offs and when to use them:
Yours truly: You can typically send this sign off to a friend or family member.
Take care: This sign off is a semi-formal way to finish your letter. It shows that you wish the best for the reader, and you can use it for recipients you've met at least once before.
Cheers: It's best practice to use this sign off with someone you're very familiar with, such as a colleague you've spent time with outside of work or a friend.
Warmly: This sign off conveys kindness, and you can use it when you've spoken with the recipient at least once or twice prior to sending your letter.
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