I was closing out my request to New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg (democrat, I voted for him) for a ticket to Obama’s inauguration when it occured to me how bizarre the sign off “Sincerely yours” is. Does anyone who writes this really mean it? It’s quite a hefty statement: Sincerely. Yours. That’s like giving yourself completely to someone. It sounds like something you’d say to a lover more than what’s become a standard way to close a business or formal letter.
The increasingly popular “best regards” or for email, simply “best,” skirts this issue of promising far more than you can truly deliver (not to mention the irony of signing off something “sincerely” which is anything but). It’ll do for inter-office emails between chums, but the ascending “cheers” is far too informal a sign-off for most correspondence.
What happened to the simple “Sincerely?”
I’d love to hear what others think is the “appropriate” sign off for different situations and types of correspondence. We’ve got “regards,” “best,” and “cheers” for palsy-walsy emails, but how about formal business letters? Do you use “sincerely yours” anymore or does it feel, well, insincere?