Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sincerely, Best

I believe what they say about remembering the last thoughts before you go to bed.

That's because I am now up at 4:30 in the morning and I am finding myself blogging about one of the last things I thought about before sawing some logs.

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I noticed this phenomenon quite by accident probably a year and a half ago. I had received an email from a new friend who signed her name with the closing Best, Suzy. I thought it an unusual way to end a note that had personal intentions, only because Best, Suzy or Best, Johnny or Best, Gertrude was the kind of enclosure I noticed on the litany of press releases landing in my inbox.

And so that's when I began wondering when we dropped the Sincerely from our correspondence.

I ask this because Sincerely is the kind of end to a letter I learned in grade school, I think perhaps even in college (and I graduated in the last year of the last millennium - so not that long ago). I never remember getting any formal email from Grammar Girl (love her podcast) about this official switch to Best, and yet I am now discovering it is everywhere - even in the emails I send to folks.


Best what? Best wishes? Best regards? What about Best day ever? or Best email you're going to receive today? How about the more likely and more sassy Best be hitting reply, fool?

No. I guess maybe only Mr. T means that when he signs Best, Laurence Tureaud (aside: I guess I'd change my name to Mr. T, too).

I spent a few moments (less than normal - c'mon it's 4:3o am and I DO intend on falling back asleep) looking online for some debate on this concept. Unfortunately, I did not find anything specifically addressing the best vs. sincerely smackdown. I found one relevant forum on a website that also featured a personal ad seeking Married American Male Seeks Married American Lady, so I can't be too sure of its validity or appropriate sourcing.

Despite the lack of substantial evidence confirming the official switch, I guess I'll stick with this Best concept. It's the enclosure I find on all business correspondence that makes its way into my work email these days, so I guess I should do the same.



Steve said...

(as callers say on the radio: long-time, first-time...)

This is an interesting thought; I hadn't really noticed the disappearance of Sincerely, but now that you mention it, I can't think of the last time I saw it in correspondence.

Personally, I use cheers, primarily because I like the connotation it brings -- happiness, combined with overtones of a toast, wishing the reader well.

OTOH, I have a lawyer friend who long ago taught me that I don't ever want to see this closing in a letter from one of his type: "Best Personal Regards." Apparently it's lawyer code telling the recipient to go have unnatural carnal relations with yourself, and it generally comes at the end of a excoriating letter.

So, anyway...


WestEnder said...

Also disconcerting is the loss of the phrase "you're welcome." It's been replaced by a second "thank you."

JAB said...

Thank you so much!!!!! I thought I was the only person thinking this is strange.

It seems like it should be My Best to you or Best Wishes or Best Regards....but just Best makes no sense!!!

I get it all the time in emails from prospective students and it makes me crazy - it's like a half ending instead of a complete ending!

Denae said...

Oops. I'm guilty of using Best wishes and sometimes Best. Seems like people in London signed off with Best or Best wishes so I copied them. Maybe it's a cultural thing???

Chris F. said...

I think it is a matter of interpretation. I still use "Sincerely" with formal business correspondence, but lately with friends, MySpace buddies, or what have you, I've used "All The Best". All The Best in pursuing your dreams, All The Best in the future, etc...

Of course, there is still a part of me that doesn't mind whipping out a good ole fashioned pen and paper and writing a long letter to a loved one or someone I've known a long time. But at times, a simple card will suffice.

The Notorious N.A.T said...

I sign my name Best all the time. I actually caught myself doing it again today - well, now I suppose I'll have to go back to something else! LOL It certainly is ambiguous.


Unknown said...

I like to use "Bests" - in case you missed it - it was on a card with flowers to Carrie Bradshaw from Big about 4 years ago. That is when I started using it. It is says so much more than "sincerely" or "regards" - I am merely wishing for you to have only the bests of everything.