How to End an Email

With Examples for Formal and Informal Business Emails

A lady writing a postcard on the stone wall
From traditional letters to email, some closings persisted. StockUnlimited

Should you write "bye", "regards" or "best wishes"? How to end an email well?

The proper way to sign off is often not only the last but also one of the most difficult parts to write in any email. It can be almost as daunting and difficult as the email's greeting!

When in Doubt, End an Email with "Thanks"

When you cannot decide what to write and have no idea what would be most appropriate,​ end your email with a simple "thanks". ”Thanks” is never out of place. You are thanking the sending for nothing more than having looked at your message. This, alas, is not a given, as time is preciously scarce and emails overwhelmingly abundant.

("Thanks" as an email closing may even increase your chances of getting a reply.)

Are there Not More Ways to End an Email? What Are Other Acceptable Closings?

Many words can close out an email, and so can few; any will be better than none.

If the universal "Thanks," is not for you—perhaps because, of course, it shows you had to rely on a stand-by, which you do not—, you have many email sign-off choices more, for both professional emails and more personal messages.

Business - Formal

  • Sincerely - "Sincerely" is a traditional and traditionally formal ending for business emails, especially those to new contacts. You could use it with newly acquired clients, for example, if you want to convey formality and sincerity."Sincerely" can come across as too formal, especially when you have already established a less than a purely formal relationship with somebody.
  • Sincerely yours - Similar to "Sincerely" and essentially used in the same way, "Sincerely yours" runs the risk of coming across as stilted.
  • Regards - "Regards" is a less formal stand-by closing than "Sincerely". It can be used almost universally and especially in established relationships as well. Possibly as a corollary, "regards" is a tad bland and unimaginative, it conveys little about yourself or the kind of relationship you mean to establish.

Business - Informal

  • Yours - Without the weight of "Sincerely yours", a mere "Yours" still can come across as a tad out of place and time in an email. It lacks the charm of the formal closings and does not make up for it in personality or intimacy.
  • Kind Regards and Warm Regards - Considerably less formal again than "Regards", "Kind Regards" serve well in an informal business setting. "Warm Regards" increase the, well, warmth and personal touch while still striking a balance between formality and familiarity that has gone too far for a business setting.
  • Best - Nothing is wrong with fragmentary sentences, and email closings, in general, tend to leave out a sentence's many crucial ingredients (where is the subject, or any verb at all?). "Best", however, leaves to the recipient's guess most everything of what you want to say: best…? Maybe use "All the best" instead.
  • :) - Why not? The simple smiley can be surprisingly effective as an email closing. If you are the type to use emojis and talk with your hands and arms, this might be the appropriate way to end emails for you. Do keep in mind that not all people are expressive in that way, and may interpret your email disparagingly based on that ending, especially if they do not know you. This is your problem to have if you want to communicate meaningfully, not theirs—something to keep in mind with business writing in general.
  •  - Just signing off with your name is often appropriate, especially in an ongoing conversation. Do strive to mix in the occasional closing phrase in the thread, though.

What you pick and what is appropriate can—and should—depend largely not only on who you are but also who the recipient is. You will take into account the circumstances of the recipient and your message as well, of course: does the recipient leave for a three-month vacation, for instance, have you received a favor from them or sent an informative article?