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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

Modern versions[change | change source]

Yours sincerely is used when the person sending the letter knows the name of the person receiving the letter.

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]