Best (to sign off a letter)

Discussion in 'English Only' started by malgosia, Nov 22, 2010.

  1. malgosia Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Is it correct to sign off a letter / email like this:

    Best,
    Jane
     
  2. Majorbloodnock Senior Member

    South East England
    British English
    It's informal and perhaps a little abrupt, but perfectly acceptable in many situations. Whether or not it's correct is something no-one could judge outside the context of the particular letter or email.
     
  3. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    It's a very common closing in the US, for anyone with whom you are friendly (whether on a personal or business basis). You would not properly use it in a formal communication with a stranger.

    It is understood to be short for "best regards," or "best wishes".
     
  4. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    It entirely depends who you're talking to, Jane. It always feels very abrupt/lazy to me (personally).
     
  5. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
  6. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    Far back in the history of the transmission of newspaper stories by wire, i.e. telegraphy and Teletype, operators had a standard set of codes to use in order to economize effort and wire time.

    Many people are aware of the traditional '-30-' signifying "end of story." There were, however, more codes such as '-95-' meaning BULLETIN and, finally getting to the point, '-73-' meaning "Regards, best wishes and all that." (See HERE for a wider discussion)

    The practice continued for a while in the industry. And even after computerized message systems came into existence, we kept messages terse out of habit from sending inter-bureau messages on Teletypes.

    Gradually, we became wildly verbose and started signing off messages with things like 'Rgds' and 'best' instead of '-73-'.

    It never occurred to me that some of my esteemed acquaintances might take offense at my somewhat abbreviated, but nevertheless heartfelt expression of camaraderie, e.g. "Best."

    So for those folks, I shall, in the future, sign off my messages with "With all the heartfelt regards that any mere human could possibly muster with every good wish for your continued good health and happiness"

    Since I really am far too lazy to write all that drivel, I will, of course simply copy and paste from another source, but the appearance will be good, no?

    In the meantime,
    -73-
     
  7. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    Oh I wouldn't say I find it 'offensive', SDG ~ just 'abrupt and lazy'.

    I'm pretty certain that the vast majority of today's 'besters' wouldn't even know what wireless telegraphy is (or was). I certainly had no idea about all those numerical codes and stuff. In future I'll look upon your 'Best's as quaint archaisms:) But I'll carry on considering young folk's 'Best's lazy and abrupt:(
     
  8. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    Dearest Ewie-san,

    Wireless telegraphy ? Isn't that an oxymoron or perhaps it's WiFi?

    Best greetings

    JS
     
  9. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    Actually, ships at sea used it quite frequently, e.g., ... --- ...
     
  10. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    Despite being an ardent addict of all things 19th Century*, I've never managed to get my head round the technology or nomenclature of telegrammery.

    *Oops ~ I'm not saying you're that old, SDG:D
     

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