Have you wondered when to correctly use yours faithfully or yours sincerely?
This page should hopefully help you to understand the difference between yours faithfully and yours sincerely.
If you know the name of the person you are addressing, you should in most circumstances end the letter/email with ‘Yours sincerely‘.
If you do not know the identity of the person you are addressing, usually end with ‘Yours faithfully‘.
Writing Formal Letters and Emails
There is a major difference between both of these statements. When you are writing a letter or email that is to a professional or is part of standard work duties such as marketing to a client, it is important to end the document correctly.
As well as learning to write correctly when ending letters and emails, it is also important to consider the person or audience that is intended to receive the letter or email. Both ‘yours sincerely’ and ‘yours faithfully’ are quite formal (at least they sound formal to many readers) and so if your document is not of a formal nature, other endings may be more suitable.
Other endings to emails and letters may include:
- Kind regards
- Yours truly
- Thank you
- Best wishes
- Bye for now
- Until next time
- and more…
For example, if writing to a close friend about meeting at a party, you may wish to use ‘Bye’ or even a phrase like ‘See you soon’ rather than more formal valedictions like ‘Yours sincerely’. Read more about what a valediction is in the Valedictions Section below.
The Difference Between Yours Faithfully and Yours Sincerely
The main difference is whether you know the actual identity of the person you are writing to.
If you start the letter with ‘Dear Fred‘, you should usually end with ‘Yours sincerely‘ when writing formally. This is because you know the identity of the person you are writing to and that their name is Fred.
If you start your document with ‘Dear Sir/Madam‘ or ‘To whom it may concern’, you (in most cases) would be correct to end with ‘ Yours faithfully‘.
In some circumstances, it may correct to use ‘Yours faithfully’ when you know the person’s name. This may be when you know their name, but do not know them and have never communicated before. Examples may include when you read an advert for a job and the advert states ‘Send an email with your CV and cover letter attached to Mr Jones’. In this case, you may choose to start with ‘Dear Mr Jones’ and end with ‘Yours faithfully’. However, our opinion is it would still be correct to use ‘Yours sincerely’ when you are made aware of the person that you are directly addressing.
Note that regions vary and what is correct in American English may not be correct in English written in the United Kingdom. Always seek appropriate advice before sending any letter, email, or other documents. This is especially important when the document is important, urgent, sensitive, being sent to an authoritative figure or organization, or likely to be viewed in the public domain.
Valedictions are in most cases the terms used at the end of a letter directly preceding your name and/or signature. All the terms in the above list, including Kind regards and Best wishes, are in most circumstances seen when writing letters, are examples of valedictions.
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