Post by Tony Cooper Post by the Omrud Post by firstname.lastname@example.org Post by occam Post by Peter Moylan Post by email@example.com
Veuillez agreer, cher monsieur, l'expression de mes sentiments les
The French know how to lay it on with a trowel :-)
I notice that a difference between UK and North American
Yours sincerely (N.America)
Yours faithfully (UK)
North Americans are sincere, but not faithful. Britons are faithful,
but not sincere.
(a) For a business letter, you're expected to be faithful but not
sincere, so you close with "Yours faithfully".
(b) For a personal letter, e.g. to a lover, you're expected to be
sincere but not necessarily faithful, so you close with "Yours sincerely".
That was some years ago. These days we drop both the fidelity and the
sincerity from personal letters, but we're still expected to be faithful
to our business correspondents.
I also was taught to distinguish between the two, however it had nothing
to do with faithfulness or sincerity. If the person being addressed was
someone you know personally e.g. a colleague, boss, 'yours sincerely'
was in order. If the person was a faceless bureaucrat e.g. a civil
servant, a banker manager (never met) etc, 'yours faithfully' was
required. For a lover, a wife or a dear friend, 'with love' or 'warm
regards' was more appropriate.
That was the rule I was taught too. 'Your faithfully' was supposed to imply
Dear Mr Smith or Dear Freda then you finished Yours Sincerely. If you
wrote Dear Sir or Dear Madam, then you finished Yours Faithfully.
I do wonder how many people here have written a letter - an actual
letter not to a family member - in the last year. I can't think of
doing so myself. A letter, that is, written on paper and mailed.
I suspect that the people here most likely to have written a letter
did so writing a letter to a newspaper...what we in the US would call
a "letter to the editor".
I wrote one over the weekend. It was to a business that wanted me to
submit some information the old-fashioned way - their website (they did
have one) claimed that they'd accept things by fax, but cleverly avoided
putting their fax number anywhere I could find it. Their online account
system only worked if you were in the US. I think I used "Yours
sincerely", which wasn't really a sincere expression of appreciation
since I was really thinking "Why don't you do things the modern way?"
But I want something from them, so I was restrained.
I don't suppose you can count writing a line or two on a greeting card
as "writing a letter". I've done a few of those recently, with more to
come. I didn't write "sincerely" or "truly" on those.
I'm trying to remember the last time before last weekend that I wrote a
real letter (aside from work, and that's almost all emails instead of
letters). I can't really remember. I send little handwritten notes to an
elderly relative from time to time, but they're not much longer than the
"best wishes" sentences on a Christmas card.
Some of my relatives used to send long letters at Christmas - at least
one tended to focus mostly on all the things that had gone wrong during
the year. But I think all the letter-writers are now dead, and most of
their descendants are on Facebook.