"Yours sincerely", "Yours faithfully," and "Yours truly"

When to Use "Yours sincerely", "Yours faithfully," and "Yours truly"

The Quick Answer

  • If you know the recipient or use their name, end your letter with 'Sincerely yours' (US) or 'Yours sincerely' (UK).
  • If you don't know the recipient or don't use their name, end your letter 'Yours truly' (US) or 'Yours faithfully' (UK).
So, if your letter starts "to whom it may concern" or "Dear Sir," end the letter with "Yours faithfully" or "Yours truly" but not "Sincerely yours" or "Yours sincerely."

Starting and Ending Letters

Letters that start "Dear Sir," should end "Yours truly" (US convention) or "Yours faithfully" (UK convention).

Letters that start with a name (e.g., "Dear Mr. Jones"), should end "Sincerely yours" (US convention) or "Yours sincerely" (UK convention).

This infographic summarizes the different scenarios:
yours sincerely faithfully truly

"Yours sincerely" or "Yours faithfully"?

Writers are sometimes confused over whether to end a letter with "Yours sincerely" or "Yours faithfully."

Even though there is a slight variation between British and American conventions, the rules are straightforward.

Use "Yours faithfully" (small British flag) or "Yours truly" (small American flag) for Unknown Recipients

If you do not know the name of the recipient (typically in business correspondence), use "Yours truly" (US) or "Yours faithfully" (UK). (Letters that start with "To whom it may concern" fall into this category.)

small British flag Dear Sir,

[blah, blah]

Yours faithfully,

Charles Windsor-Smyth
(Note: The use of "Yours faithfully" is growing increasingly popular in the US, but "Yours truly" is preferred.)
small American flag Dear Sir,

[blah, blah]

Yours truly,

Matt Brown

Use "Yours sincerely" (small British flag) or "Sincerely yours" (small American flag) for Known Recipients

If you know the name of the recipient (typically a colleague or close business associate), use "Sincerely yours" (or just "Sincerely") (US) or "Yours sincerely" (UK).

small British flag Dear Mr. Jones,

[blah, blah]

Yours sincerely,

Charles Windsor-Smyth
small American flag Dear Mr. Jones,

[blah, blah]

Sincerely yours,

Matt Brown
(Note: The use of "Sincerely" (i.e., without "Yours") is also acceptable in the US.)

With "Yours sincerely" and "Yours faithfully" Give Only the First Word a Capital Letter

Whatever you use, only capitalize the first word. For example:
  • Yours faithfully correct tick
  • Yours sincerely correct tick
  • Sincerely yours correct tick
  • Yours Sincerely wrong cross

Follow "Yours sincerely" and "Yours faithfully" with a Comma

Follow your postamble with a comma, and write your name underneath it.
small American flag Dear Sir,

[blah, blah]

Yours faithfully, correct tick (This comma is correct.)

Matt Brown

Write the Salutation, Postamble, and Your Name by Hand

If you're sending a letter by post, it is a common practice (to add a personal touch) to write the salutation, postamble, and your name by hand. For example (hand-written text shown in yellow):
Dear Sir,

[blah, blah]

Yours faithfully,

Matt Brown

Top Tip: Don't Use "S" Twice

If you start with "Dear Sir," you cannot end with "Yours sincerely."

You cannot use the letter "s" twice.
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This page was written by Craig Shrives.