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Thread: "Yours truly" Vs "Sincerely" ??

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    Question "Yours truly" Vs "Sincerely" ??

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    Hi Erin & Wasleys,

    Could you please help me on this one? Suppose I'm writing a letter to an admissions coordinator asking her a technical question about say, admission requirements, how would I end my letter?

    Like this:

    Yours truly,
    Dingus


    or


    Sincerely,
    Dingus


    If I'm writing to a professor and asking about research modalities, which closing phrase would I use? What is the difference between the two? Is one better than the other in different situations? Is there just a stylistic difference or does a difference in meaning exist too? Kind of confounded. Would really appreciate if you could shed some light on this.

    Sincerely (?)
    Dingus

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    Re: "Yours truly" Vs "Sincerely" ??

    Quote Originally Posted by Dingus
    Hi Erin & Wasleys,

    Could you please help me on this one? Suppose I'm writing a letter to an admissions coordinator asking her a technical question about say, admission requirements, how would I end my letter?

    Like this:

    Yours truly,
    Dingus


    or


    Sincerely,
    Dingus


    If I'm writing to a professor and asking about research modalities, which closing phrase would I use? What is the difference between the two? Is one better than the other in different situations? Is there just a stylistic difference or does a difference in meaning exist too? Kind of confounded. Would really appreciate if you could shed some light on this.

    Sincerely (?)
    Dingus
    Dingus,

    In UK (I don't know about US) there has been a long standing convention that:
    a) if you start a letter without using the addressee's name (eg Dear Madam) you finish it with Yours faithfully.
    b) if you start with their name (eg Dear Professor Smith) you end with Yours sincerely.
    I don't think there is much difference between Yours truly and Yours sincerely. Yours truly may be less formal.

    Personally I don't like Yours truly and I would never use it. I suspect that some people feel the same, so it may be safer to be sincere rather than true!

    I would never use Sincerely on its own.

    In business letters to people I know very well I might use Yours, Best wishes, Regards. If I did that I would always then only use my first name to sign, not my full name eg Regards, Michael).

    Wandering off-topic for a moment there is an idiomatic use of Yours truly = I/me, eg "People always expect yours truly to do the nasty jobs!"

    Michael
    Last edited by wasleys; 11-12-2004 at 04:10 PM. Reason: HTML went haywire

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    Thumbs up Re: "Yours truly" Vs "Sincerely" ??

    Thanks Michael, for the very detailed explanation, as usual! Don't take it as some sort of stalking but I follow each and every one of your posts round the forum; they have a very nice quality of sticking easily in one's head, maybe because of the precise underlining of the key parts of the explanation.

    I'm very curious about one part of your explanation - you say that the UK usage of "yours truly" is less formal. I seem to have heard in one of my high-school classes that it is more formal than "yours sincerely". I wonder if this is the American usage of the phrase? The UK- American divide in spellings and usage is rather hard to get!

    One more thing is: why would you not use "sincerely" alone? I see it being used all the time. Is there a grammatical rule hidden in the usage (or non-usage)?

    An additional question about punctuation. If I have some extra information to be conveyed in a sentence and put in parenthesis, like this:

    It is a freshwater fish (also found in Papua New Guinea).

    Would I place the period after the parenthesis, before it or within?

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    Re: "Yours truly" Vs "Sincerely" ??

    Quote Originally Posted by Dingus
    Thanks Michael, for the very detailed explanation, as usual! Don't take it as some sort of stalking but I follow each and every one of your posts round the forum; they have a very nice quality of sticking easily in one's head, maybe because of the precise underlining of the key parts of the explanation.

    I'm very curious about one part of your explanation - you say that the UK usage of "yours truly" is less formal. I seem to have heard in one of my high-school classes that it is more formal than "yours sincerely". I wonder if this is the American usage of the phrase? The UK- American divide in spellings and usage is rather hard to get!

    One more thing is: why would you not use "sincerely" alone? I see it being used all the time. Is there a grammatical rule hidden in the usage (or non-usage)?

    An additional question about punctuation. If I have some extra information to be conveyed in a sentence and put in parenthesis, like this:

    It is a freshwater fish (also found in Papua New Guinea).

    Would I place the period after the parenthesis, before it or within?
    Dingus,

    I was delighted to learn I have a fan club (even if the stalking bit has sinister undertones).

    The reason that I wouldn't use Yours truly or Sincerely is identical to my reason for not taking sugar in my tea. I don't like them!

    I really don't know if there is any great significance between truly and sincerely, I think truly is less widely used in UK.

    I wouldn't get hung up about it. I doubt that addressees really take any notice, although I would think it strange if a letter from my bank manager ended with Love.

    Really all we are talking about is a form of words to end a letter, so presumably grammar has nothing to do with it. Fashions change. I can remember business lettters ending with "Assuring you of our best attention at all times, we remain your obedient servant" (note the apparently ungrammatical we ... servant). The first part of that style remained in use until fairly recently. These days letters from some businesses have only a signature over a typed name.

    Re punctuation and parentheses.

    I was taught that if the bit in parenthesis was part of the sentence the stop went after (like this).

    If it was a sentence in its own right the stop went inside. (Here is an example.)

    Michael

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    Re: "Yours truly" Vs "Sincerely" ??

    Thanks yet again. It's great to finally clear up nagging doubts in a language! The rules do make sense, but only after some time.

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    Re: "Yours truly" Vs "Sincerely" ??

    Dingus,

    I asked my wife what she thought about Yours truly and Yours sincerely.

    She thought Yours truly was now little used, but did wonder if it had been used to people that you had met, whereas Yours sincerely would be used to people you had not met. That would possibly confirm your views on it being less formal.

    I will try to find out more!

    EDIT:

    This link and this link both suggest that Yours truly is US. Rest of those sites may be of interest too.

    Michael
    Last edited by Erin; 11-14-2004 at 05:06 PM. Reason: Extra "h" removed.

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    Re: "Yours truly" Vs "Sincerely" ??

    Great links! (The second link has an extra "h" in front of the "http://")

    Actually, this makes the "yours truly" adventure more exciting! There so many hidden conventions and notions!

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    Re: "Yours truly" Vs "Sincerely" ??

    Quote Originally Posted by Dingus
    Great links! (The second link has an extra "h" in front of the "http://")
    I took care of that extra h.

    I have to confess that I also found a lot of interesting information here; I can't ever recall these topics coming up in any English classes I took.

    I think it's pretty safe to stick with sincerely; it's so universally accepted as to be pretty much devoid of meaning. Anything with yours, on the other hand, I find to be somehow to presumptuous or forward, unless of course it really is from somebody whose advances I wouldn't spurn.

    In general, these things do vary from country to country, so it may be best to try to conform to local standards.
    ☼ Waiting for Godot

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    Sincerely:

    Maybe, this helps shed some light on the sincerely question, it's the close of an email I've just received from Google, so sincerely does seem to be used on its own (followed by a line indicating the author):

    Thanks for being a part of Google AdSense.

    Sincerely,
    The Google AdSense Team

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