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A valediction (or complimentary close)[1] is a phrase used to say goodbye at the end of a letter.[2][3] It also refers to the act of saying goodbye to someone. It comes from the Latin vale dicere, which means "to say farewell".[4] Valedictions are normally written before the signature in a written message. The words used usually express respect or regard for the person to whom the message is written.

English valedictions often contain the possessive pronoun "yours"; for example, Yours truly. In the United Kingdom, Yours sincerely or Yours faithfully are most common.

Versions[change | change source]

Old versions[change | change source]

In old letters, Yours truly was often replaced with a longer sentence, for example:

I beg to remain, Sir, your most humble and obedient servant,
A. Name

Yours sincerely[change | change source]

Yours sincerely is used when the person who is receiving the letter knows the author well and they can call each other by their first names.

Yours faithfully[change | change source]

Yours faithfully is used when the person who is receiving the letter is not known by name (i.e. the recipient is addressed by a phrase such as "Dear Sir/Madam").

References[change | change source]

  1. Complimentary close on The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition.
  2. Valediction – Definition from The Free Dictionary.
  3. Valediction
  4. Oxford Concise Dictionary of English Etymology. Great Britain: Oxford University Press. 1996. pp. 519.

Other websites[change | change source]