End a Letter
So you've written your letter, but how do you finish it? There are lots of ways to end a letter, depending on the type of letter you are writing. This article will teach you how to do it.
10 Second Summary
1. Wrap up the letter.
2. Use the proper sign-off for the type of letter you are writing: formal, casual, etc.
3. Consider adding a postscript.
4. Proofread your finished letter.
Wrap Up the Letter
- Review the letter. Before writing a conclusion, reread your letter and decide whether you are satisfied with the message you have written. Did you communicate your message clearly? Will it have the effect you want it to have on the recipient?
- If you're writing a cover letter or a business letter, make sure you've covered all of your bases before getting to the conclusion. The body of the letter should make the case that you're a good candidate for the job; the conclusion serves only to wrap things up, so don't save the most important information for last.
- No matter what kind of letter you're writing, make sure it is written in such a way that the intent is understood. Letters, unlike some other forms of communication, have an element of permanency. Once you write something down it's hard to take it back. Review the body of your letter with this in mind before moving to the ending.
- Write a final paragraph. Write an ending in keeping with the tone of the rest of the letter. Did you write a brief, to-the-point letter, or was it a longer profession of love? Think of the last paragraph of your letter as a conclusion, in which you have the chance to restate the major themes of the message and leave your recipient with just the right feeling. For example:
- "My experience working at the Humane Society and leading the Paws for Peace group at my university will make me an excellent candidate for an internship at Boston Animal Hospital."
- "Celebrating Steve's promotion, welcoming a new grandchild to the family and vacationing in Australia have made 2013 a year to remember for our family. We hope your family's year has been equally well blessed."
- "I know I'll smile every time I think about your visit. Our daytime excursions, long dinners and wild nights won't soon be forgotten. I can't wait until next time!"
- Write a final sentence. The very last sentence in a personal letter is a chance to wish the recipient well or request for him or her to write back. Make sure the last sentence matches your overall tone and hits just the right note.
- If you want to thank the recipient for taking the time to meet with you in a professional setting, consider "Thank you for taking the time to meet with me on Tuesday" or "Thank you for your time and consideration."
- If you'd like the recipient to write a letter back, "Write back soon!" or "I'm looking forward to hearing from you" are both good choices.
- If you're writing a loved one, you might want to tell them "I love you," "I'm thinking about you" or "I miss you."
- If you're writing the letter to suit a particular occasion, like a birthday or holiday, reiterate your well wishing. For example, write "Again, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!"
Decide On a Closing
- Write a formal sign-off. Business letter sign-offs should be formal, familiar, and appropriate for the situation. Unless you are in a field that values creativity and originality above traditional business decorum, it's best to play it on the safe side when your letter is formal in nature. Always follow the sign-off with your signature. Consider the following options:
- Best wishes,
- Warm wishes,
- Thank you,
- Respectfully yours,
- Write a casual sign-off. For letters that are more casual in nature, the closing helps maintain goodwill and keep correspondence flowing smoothly. If you're writing to an acquaintance, casual friend or a classmate, you might close with a friendly goodbye, like these:
- Take care,
- Til next time,
- Write a personal sign-off. If you're writing to a close friend or family member, consider a more personal closing, like:
- Til soon,
- Write soon,
- Write an intimate sign-off. If you're writing to a lover, ending words can be even more intimate. A genuine, personable closing helps the letter sound like it came from you, not a store-bought greeting card. The right phrase might even improve your relationship. Follow the sign-off with your initials or signature. Consider these:
- Love always,
- Yours forever,
- Affectionately yours,
- Longing to see you,
- Patiently yours,
- Your darling,
Consider Adding a Postscript
- Decide not to add one. If you've said all that you need to say, there's no need to add a postscript, or a "PS." In fact, there are certain occasions when you actually shouldn't - namely, when you're writing any type of business letter.
- Add a postscript to include additional information. Postscripts are often added after a letter has been signed as a way to include information that was accidentally left out, or that is not important enough to warrant its own paragraph in the letter. For example,
- "PS. I bought you a souvenir! I'll give it to you when I get back."
- "PS. My aunt says 'hi.'"
- Add a postscript to enhance the letter's meaning. Sometimes postscripts are included as a way to lighten a letter's tone with a joke, or to playfully flirt with the recipient. Since postscripts are usually just a sentence or two, they can be used as a way of including information without the pressure of writing an explanation. Take these, for example:
- "PS. I already finished off the box of chocolates. Please send more supplies."
- "PS. Oh, I forgot to mention one thing: I'm madly in love with you."
- Reread your finished letter. It should flow seamlessly from body to conclusion, with no inconsistencies in tone or message. If it doesn't, erase what you wrote or press "Delete" and keep working on it. People often read letters more than once, and some even save them forever. It's worth taking a few extra minutes to make the letter perfect.
Doc:Letter Closings,Ways to Close a Cover Letter
- Be aware of sensitive topics. For example, if you're writing to your grandmother who recently had heart surgery, say something affectionate but brief, such as, "I'll come visit as soon as you're back on your feet." Do not mention anything about life being short or talk about triple bypass recovery statistics; you want to make her feel better, not worse.
- When writing a thank you letter, make sure to state your gratitude one last time before you seal it.
- The lighter the better. The end of your letter is not the time to start philosophizing about the meaning of life or the metaphorical significance of what you had for lunch today--save the heavy stuff for your next letter.
- Think about what the message of your letter was. What are you trying to convey? That way, you can end it accordingly.