The word valediction is often used loosely in English to refer to a complimentary closing, which is a courteous formula used to end a letter. This is normally a formulaic phrase preceding the writer's signature that expresses the writer's loyalty or best wishes to the recipient.
A valediction is often related to the salutation used in the letter or message.
This form is occasionally abbreviated to
As well as
Yours sincerely is used when the recipient is addressed by name and is known to you to some degree, and 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").
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, but most prefer to use Yours sincerely.
In the US, "Yours sincerely" is properly used in social correspondence. "Yours faithfully" is properly used in business correspondence with someone whose name is unknown to the writer (i.e., in a letter addressed "Dear Sir or Madam" or "To Whom It May Concern").
In the US, the inverted "Sincerely yours" and the simplified "Sincerely" are also common.
In this manner, it is also fairly common to sarcastically refer to a person present in the conversation, when talking to another person:
"Yours aye" is a Scottish expression meaning "yours always"
In Jane Austen books, some letters are signed Yours, etc. or Yours Sincerely, etc.
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. Jews in the United States commonly use "B'shalom" (in peace) within Jewish circles, but this is rarely used by native Hebrew speakers. Israelis are more likely to end a formal letter with "b'chavod" (with honor) or informally, "kol tuv" (all the best).
It may be enhanced with a participial phrase concluding the sense of the letter, though this must be used with a formula beginning with the first person in order to make grammatical sense:
A number of rules concern the use of these formulas. For example, the title used in the salutation of the letter must be reproduced in the valediction; so a letter addressing Madame la députée would conclude, Je vous prie, Madame la députée.
Other rules exist: - the word assurance should be used in a letter from a hierarchical superior to an inferior, whereas the word expression should be used in a letter from a hierarchical inferior to a superior, and not conversely. - in a letter from a man to a woman or from a woman to a man, the writer must not send sentiments if they are not close family relatives.
Such formulas may be used even in more friendly letters, often with the adjective cher or chère for the recipient. Letters to dignitaries may use even more grandiose styles, such as:
According to the French typographic rules, the official title should be spelled "Premier ministre" although people who mimic English titles or fear that they might appear disrespectful often use more capitals than the rules commend.
Another French typographic rule also states that when addressing someone, styles like Monsieur, Madame, Mademoiselle, should never be abbreviated, even if followed by a title (hence, writing M. le Premier Ministre or Mme l'Ambassadeur would be considered rude).
Much shorter styles may be used in brief notes (Sincères salutations), and informal letters (such as between intimates) may use expressions such as (with approximate English equivalents—not literal translations):
Unlike in English, when the letter writer has a title that is unique in his or her organization, it is placed before, not after, the name:
The standard business valediction is Mit freundlichen Grüßen (lit. "with friendly regards") and is equivalent to Yours sincerely or Yours faithfully in English. A more seldom used variant of this is Mit freundlichem Gruß, which is as above but in the singular form. Other semi-formal alternatives include (roughly in order of formality, most to least) Mit besten Grüßen (lit. "with best regards"), Beste Grüße, Mit herzlichen Grüßen (lit. "with sincere regards"), Viele Grüße (lit. "many regards"), Schöne Grüße (lit. "nice regards").
German valedictions also offer the possibility of adding your location, e.g. Mit freundlichen Grüßen aus Berlin to added effect. While this is no less formal, it does have a more "relaxed" feel to it.
These valedictions are also often adapted to specific professions, states or political views. For example, socialist and communist groups often use Mit solidarischen Grüßen ("with regards in solidarity"), Mit sportlichen Grüßen, ("with sporting regards") for sportspersons and Mit gebärdenfreundlichen Grüßen ("with friendly regards in sign language") among persons hard of hearing.
More familiar valedictions in German follow the same formula. "Alles Liebe" or "(Viele) liebe Grüße" are common in German for friends or family. Male friends or close colleagues among each other may use simply "Gruß".
It is possible in informal and rapid e-mail communication to sometimes use abbreviations of the forms, unlike in English. In this way, Mit freundlichen Grüßen may be shortened to mfg and Liebe Grüße may be shortened to lg. A popular form in German in recent years, hdgdl (hab dich ganz doll lieb, lit. "am fond of you", often used for somewhere between "I like you" and "I love you") has found increased usage in SMS text messaging and e-mails in more intimate relationships.
The German Criminal Code forbids the use of "Mit deutschem Gruß", as it has National Socialist overtones.
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:
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 pragmatically not signed off at all, since a sender's name is usually provided in the message headers.