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Salutations & Closings


A salutation is the way you greet, or say hello to, the person you are writing to. A closing is the way you say goodbye to the person you are writing to. There are some standard words and phrases used for salutations and closings in formal letters.

Salutations (Greetings)

Dear Mr. Jones,


Dear Mrs. Smith,


Dear Sir or Madam,

Use this when you do not know the name of the person to whom you are writing. For example, you are writing to the manager of a government department, but you do not know who the manager is.

To Whom It May Concern,

Use this when you do not know who will be reading the letter. For example, if you are writing a letter to the government and you do not know which department(s) need to see the letter or how many people will be reading your letter.


These words and phrases can be used for closings.

Best regards,

Use this phrase when you know the receiver well.


This is more casual than the other closings.


This is the most common closing. Use this when you do not know the receiver.

Sincerely yours,

This is very formal.

Thank you,

Use this phrase only when you have made a request.

Yours truly,

This is very formal.