I'm always wondering about this when writing e-mails in English. I have received "with best regards" from a sender in the UK. American e-mails seem to use "cheers". So what's the norm for formal e-mails? A formal e-mail is on par with a letter.
Le Baron wrote:
I don't think I have ever written or received 'best regards' at the end of an email or a real letter. Who actually says 'best regards' and why? It was never standard English in the UK.
'Kind regards' (which I've actually received a few times) is another which seems to have a vague meaning to me. Do they mean 'best wishes'? Even that I reserve that for actual best wishes like a birthday or at a push to someone I know more informally. 'Regards' seemed to turn up when I was first using e-mail in the late 1990s and (in the UK at least) it collapsed into 'cheers' on the informality scale.
I get the feeling people don't really know how to sign off in an email because it's in a no man's land between a letter and 'chat'.
This whole series is interesting to me.
In the military, I had always signed off my emails with "Sincerely."
Then in 1999, I went to Officer Training School, after 13 years already in the service. 100+ days away from connected computers and official email.
Then I arrived at my first job. One of my additional duties was to organize graduations for officers in technical training. Part of my duty was to send out an email to all the senior officers (colonels) on base inviting them to the graduations (every three weeks or so).
A few months into this additional duty I was called into my captain's office and counseled on how to sign off an email. Apparently, during my OTS time, the entire air force changed how emails should be signed off. I was told I had to sign off emails with "v/r, Mike". Even worse, apparently I was only supposed to email officers one rank above me. (He was wrong on this, as my email to these colonels was "in the name of" my squadron commander, who was a lieutenant colonel.) Oh, and "v/r" means "very respectfully." A$$hole that I am, I asked my captain: Wouldn't it be more respectful to spell out very respectfully
? He told me to get out of his office.
Oh, and guess what? The Navy has their own rules; if you, a sailor, are emailing someone your same rank or lower, you sign off with simply "r," Yep, the minute someone I'd been calling Joe for years got promoted above me, all of a sudden I would be expected to change my email to him to "v/r" Also, the minute a Navy junior to me would be promoted to my same rank, s/he would start signing off their emails with "r," whereas just a day earlier s/he would use "v/r,"