If you want to annoy me, sign off your e-mail with ‘best’. When it happens, I am tempted to respond and ask ‘best what?’ Why have you chosen to add a random adjective that means nothing on a line by itself? The more you think about it, the more ridiculous it becomes, says Amanda Patterson.
Who uses it?
If you throw ‘best’ around as if it were actually a closing, you need to take time to create a genuine signature. ‘Best’ has become ubiquitous in its impersonal insincerity and it has even morphed into the nonsensical ‘very best’ and ‘all best’.
‘Best’ is the worst of a trend started by those who thought it sounded snappy and chic to use it. It is the written equivalent of those unwanted ‘air-kisses‘.
Tip: If you cannot do without ‘best’, please add ‘regards’ or ‘wishes’ after it to make it useful.
If you need a genuine way to sign off on your emails, here are three suggestions:
- Regards. This works for business emails but it can be a bit abrupt.
- Kind regards. This is an excellent closing for personal and business emails. It is polite and friendly.
- Warm regards. This is acceptable for both personal and business emails. You should use it if you have a naturally warm and engaging tone.
Avoid ‘thanks’ unless you are actually thanking the person. Avoid ‘warmly’. It is an untethered adverb that is perhaps even creepier than ‘best’. Avoid spiritual and religious quotes, unless you are a spiritual or religious leader.
Of course, many will disagree with me, but I am hopeful that some of you will not.
If you want to improve your business writing skills, join us for The Plain Language Programme.
Want to continue this conversation on The Media Online platforms? Comment on Twitter @MediaTMO or on our Facebook page. Send us your suggestions, comments, contributions or tip-offs via e-mail to email@example.com.