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When should one sign a letter with "Yours faithfully" or "Yours sincerely"? Options
Sanjay
Posted: Monday, July 24, 2017 3:30:51 AM

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Hi All,

When should one sign a letter with "Yours faithfully" or "Yours sincerely"?

Regards,
Sanjay
PlanetOfGiants
Posted: Monday, July 24, 2017 5:36:45 AM
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Sanjay wrote:
Hi All,

When should one sign a letter with "Yours faithfully" or "Yours sincerely"?

Regards,
Sanjay


Dear Sir

Yours faithfully

Dear Sanjay

Yours sincerely
Romany
Posted: Monday, July 24, 2017 5:52:03 AM
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Well every letter you write should have one or the other. However, as so much business get done through email now, many people don't bother in electronic mail, and these forms are gradually falling away.

If it's a business letter, however, online people do use the less formal endings "Regards," "Look forward to your response", "We have enjoyed doing business with you" etc. In many ways, it's nicer: we can tailor what we say to the individual we are responding to.
mactoria
Posted: Monday, July 24, 2017 5:54:49 AM
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Sanjay wrote:
Hi All,

When should one sign a letter with "Yours faithfully" or "Yours sincerely"?

Regards,
Sanjay


Sanjay: There are etiquette books in both British English and American English (Miss Manners is one we used in the US in the past), but at least in the US etiquette for this kind of thing is kind of passe. Another poster may have a good source for you that they consider still relevant for today's correspondence, but for the most part there aren't a lot of hard and fast rules as far as what I've seen in recent years.

If you work for a company, it may have its own "style manual" for how correspondence written by employees should be composed, including greetings and endings. If not, generally speaking, in a business setting most professional employers these days seem to prefer a simple "Yours truly" or "Regards" or the old "Sincerely."

If you writing instead just for yourself, then what ending you use is up to your own preference and how well you know who you're writing to. I'd suggest a letter sent to an employee at a business that you don't know might use an ending such as "Yours truly" or "Sincerely yours." If you're writing on behalf of yourself to someone other than a business/businessperson, use whatever ending feels appropriate based on your relationship: "Sincerely yours" or "Best regards" to someone you don't know very well; something more friendly if you know the recipient of the letter well, such as "Faithfully yours" for a good friend or "All my love" for a beloved relative or loved one.
Sanjay
Posted: Monday, July 24, 2017 7:07:15 AM

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Thanks all for the answers.

Forget to mention that I asked this question in the context of IELTS exam, where one task is writing a letter.

There we need to start a letter and end a letter. So, I asked this question in the context of that exam.

I hope now I am clear.

Regards,
Sanjay
Romany
Posted: Monday, July 24, 2017 7:51:53 AM
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Oh IELTS exams are a little different. There you will be expected to start off "Dear Sir/Madam". You will be expected to mention the topic in the first paragraph. "I am writing to thank you for your letter/order/query" (or whatever the reason is.)

The next paragraph is expected to contain what you want to say. The very last paragraph is to repeat the salient (important) points, and to thank them for their time/attention/ etc.

There are two major faults IELTS examiners look for (apart from spelling and grammar!). The first is 'showing off'. Some students use this exercise to show examiners all the unusual or difficult words they know. They start messing about with 'felicitations' and flowery adjectives and synonyms.

This is NOT the purpose of this part of the exam. It's to see if you can convey information in short, easily understood, sentences. As practically and as objectively as possible. The business world is now global so the writing is meant to be understood not just by native speakers, but by others for whom English is a second language. DON'T try to impress the EXAMINER, keep your mind on the person you are supposedly writing your letter to.

The other major fault in squashing everything into one, long, middle paragraph. Because, after the opening paragraph, students are instructed to put the main reason for the letter after the first paragraph, they think they HAVE to put it into one paragraph. Not so.

Most business/formal letters are short and what you have to say does, easily, fit into a paragraph. But sometimes you need to say a lot. As long as your first and last paras. are placed and written correctly, you can make as many paragraphs for the 'middle' as is necessary. Then it is far, far better to employ the rule of clarity (being clear) than a 'rule' of one paragraph.

Just remember that a paragraph is meant to represent a different train of thought; or another point or question or explanation. Don't try to cram a whole lot of thoughts into one single paragraph: it's too easy then to either get muddled, make mistakes or more importantly, to muddle the examiner.

Remember: short, snappy sentences. (No, 'I hope you are well' etc.): -

Dear Ms Lee,

Thank you for your letter of July 4th, in which you requested one of our brochures.

We no longer print out brochures here at Little Green Pig. However, we have a large data-base of all our products at...www.etc. etc. We recommend that you view this at your leisure. You will find you can order directly from the site but, if you have any difficulties, do not hesitate to contact us here again.

We hope you enjoy looking through our data-base and that you will have no problems with ordering on-line.

Yours sincerely,
Bud.E. Boye.

Sanjay
Posted: Monday, July 24, 2017 8:08:17 AM

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Thanks, Romany for the detailed answer.

I wanna clear few things in regard to your last answer:

1. Are you sure in a letter I can make as much as paragraph I want?
2. When to use sincerely and faithfully?


Regards,
Sanjay
Romany
Posted: Monday, July 24, 2017 8:31:29 AM
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No worries, Sanjay - I know how very important these qualifications are.

And yes indeed, I am sure. There's nothing worse for an examiner, who has hundreds of letters to mark, having to try to make sense of one long, confusing paragraph. (Examiners are human - they get tired and irritable when students make things difficult to read or understand.)

As to the sincerely/faithfully thing? For that you'll have to go through your class notes and see what your particular school says about these two. There was, until about 50 years ago, a definite usage difference between the two. Since then people seemed slowly to forget all that, and just to choose whichever they felt like. The average person doesn't even know it was once very important.

So the only advice on that one I can give you is to see what IELTS themselves say about it; and to stick with what they advise, even if you don't agree with it.
Sanjay
Posted: Monday, July 24, 2017 8:51:40 AM

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Thanks a lot!!!!


Please correct me if I am wrong:


IF we are starting the letter with the following:

1.Dear Manager,

then end should be like
---



---
Yours sincerely,
John




2.

Dear Sir/Madam then end should be like
---



---
Yours faithfully,



3. when writing to a friend then

Dear John,

--
--
--
Yours truly,
Sanjay




Regards,
Sanjay









Ashwin Joshi
Posted: Monday, July 24, 2017 1:00:26 PM

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Hi Sanjay ! I presume, rather sure that you are from India.

Here in this forum there are very intelligent English language teachers but the irony of fate is that British teachers and American teachers are inconstant as to the correct grammatical construction and salutations. Our Indian teachers teach us the best English, so please turn to the Indian revereds.

Me Gathering Pebbles at The Seashore.-Aj
Hope123
Posted: Monday, July 24, 2017 2:32:31 PM

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Romany, is this a good link for Sanjay to check? Up to date and accurate for all of those exams no matter the location?

http://www.goodluckielts.com/IELTS-letter-writing-tips.html

Who marks these exams all over the world? I see a site for the British Council but can students go through other organizations in different countries to write the exams? I have heard people talk about Indian English or Chinese English and am wondering what the standards are in the different countries, if they are not being taught and examined on the Queen's English. To me English is English, but then I have no experience outside of Canada.

Ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have. -James Baldwin, writer
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Monday, July 24, 2017 5:22:22 PM

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No-one has mentioned this difference which I learned at school.

It does not depend on how you start the letter - it depends on what the purpose of the letter is.

If you are telling someone something, giving information, you do it sincerely - without pretence, true, genuine.

Dear _____
The event starts at 10:30.
. . .

Yours sincerely,
______


If you are asking them to tell you something, or asking them to do something, you have faith that they will help you.

Dear _____
Could you please let me know what time the event starts?
. . .

Yours faithfully,
________

************
I have never heard this advice - never:
Dear Sir
Yours faithfully

Dear Sanjay
Yours sincerely


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Hope123
Posted: Monday, July 24, 2017 6:38:36 PM

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Location: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Drag0nspeaker wrote:
No-one has mentioned this difference which I learned at school.

It does not depend on how you start the letter - it depends on what the purpose of the letter is.

If you are telling someone something, giving information, you do it sincerely - without pretence, true, genuine.

Dear _____
The event starts at 10:30.
. . .

Yours sincerely,
______


If you are asking them to tell you something, or asking them to do something, you have faith that they will help you.

Dear _____
Could you please let me know what time the event starts?
. . .

Yours faithfully,
________

************
I have never heard this advice - never:
Dear Sir
Yours faithfully

Dear Sanjay
Yours sincerely


Ah so. Faithfully and sincerely explained!

We were never taught to use "faithfully" at all. It was always just "Yours Sincerely" or "Yours truly". I think we may have even used "Sincerely yours" but I can't remember. If I have to write a business letter now, I just use "Sincerely". Sometimes even just the ending statement and the name is all some people do these days - but none of my musings in the above paragraph is fodder for exams.

Ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have. -James Baldwin, writer
TMe
Posted: Tuesday, July 25, 2017 12:05:27 AM

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Hope123 states the truth saying

We were never taught to use "faithfully" at all. It was always just "Yours Sincerely" or "Yours truly". I think we may have even used "Sincerely yours" but I can't remember. If I have to write a business letter now, I just use "Sincerely". Sometimes even just the ending statement and the name is all some people do these days - but none of my musings in the above paragraph is fodder for exams.

In fact the word 'faithful' is generally used as an adjective for animals or servants.

It is used in India only...started by silly sycophants of British rulers.

We should never use the word 'faithfully'...as Yours faithfully at the end of any letter or communication...heavens are not going to fall.

I am a layman.
palapaguy
Posted: Tuesday, July 25, 2017 12:11:32 AM

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Agree. I've never used "faithfully," nor to I recall ever receiving a letter or email with it included.
Romany
Posted: Tuesday, July 25, 2017 4:38:02 AM
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First off, let it be fully understood - WE, here on TFD are NOT your 'teachers'. For the 100th time: TFD is NOT a learning site for English. The internet is awash with those. It's a dictionary site where we come to DISCUSS the English language. We have absolutely NO mandate for TEACHING. We're just people who love English and English literature and English etymology ourselves. We aren't here to instruct anybody. We do it because we like helping people.

I'm sure, of course, that your Indian teachers are wonderful Ashwin and no-one would ever dispute that. But you seem to miss the point completely? Yes. There's Indian English and American English and West Indian English and all different dialects of English.

That is why the IELTS and other English language schools set exams: so that speakers of all those different dialects are instructed in a Standard English: to ensure that English speakers from various different countries all speak to the same standard. Advising an IELTS candidate to stick to learning Indian English was, I know, meant well. However, it won't help an IELTS candidate...that's the very thing IELTS candidates are being tested for...to ensure they don't speak their own English but one that is used by English speakers everywhere.

Sanjay's best bet - as I mentioned above - is to go over the class notes. He must revise from what HIS teacher has told him; and to discuss problems in class. In the meantime, if any of us are able to come up with a suggestion or help in a minor way that's great. But it would be a total waste of money for Sanjay to enrol and study in the IELTS style - and then go back to Indian English advice before his IELTS exam. And, worse even than that, is the fact that he could fail his actual exam that way.

NO English dialect is 'better' than another and no-one here -( with one exception!) - would claim it was so. No-one is saying Indian teachers aren't good enough, or Indian English is inferior. It's just different: that's what makes it a dialect. I've mentioned umpteen times that Indian English is a beautiful language - and that I grew up surrounded by it. It just isn't IELTS.
leonAzul
Posted: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 8:04:17 PM

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Romany wrote:

First off, let it be fully understood - WE, here on TFD are NOT your 'teachers'. For the 100th time: TFD is NOT a learning site for English. The internet is awash with those. It's a dictionary site where we come to DISCUSS the English language. We have absolutely NO mandate for TEACHING. We're just people who love English and English literature and English etymology ourselves. We aren't here to instruct anybody. We do it because we like helping people.

I'm sure, of course, that your Indian teachers are wonderful Ashwin and no-one would ever dispute that. But you seem to miss the point completely? Yes. There's Indian English and American English and West Indian English and all different dialects of English.

That is why the IELTS and other English language schools set exams: so that speakers of all those different dialects are instructed in a Standard English: to ensure that English speakers from various different countries all speak to the same standard. Advising an IELTS candidate to stick to learning Indian English was, I know, meant well. However, it won't help an IELTS candidate...that's the very thing IELTS candidates are being tested for...to ensure they don't speak their own English but one that is used by English speakers everywhere.

Sanjay's best bet - as I mentioned above - is to go over the class notes. He must revise from what HIS teacher has told him; and to discuss problems in class. In the meantime, if any of us are able to come up with a suggestion or help in a minor way that's great. But it would be a total waste of money for Sanjay to enrol and study in the IELTS style - and then go back to Indian English advice before his IELTS exam. And, worse even than that, is the fact that he could fail his actual exam that way.

NO English dialect is 'better' than another and no-one here -( with one exception!) - would claim it was so. No-one is saying Indian teachers aren't good enough, or Indian English is inferior. It's just different: that's what makes it a dialect. I've mentioned umpteen times that Indian English is a beautiful language - and that I grew up surrounded by it. It just isn't IELTS.


Brava Romany
Applause

"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
Харбин Хэйлунцзян 1
Posted: Thursday, July 27, 2017 4:51:46 AM

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Hope123 wrote:
Who marks these exams all over the world?

This question can only pertain to the Writing and Speaking sections. And I believe these are qualified examiners:

https://www.ielts.org/teaching-and-research/examiner-recruitment-and-training

You may not be a native speaker though.

Hope123 wrote:
I see a site for the British Council but can students go through other organizations in different countries to write the exams?

IELTS is jointly managed by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment:

https://www.ielts.org/policy/copyright-notice

It can be taken in any qualified test centre. In Moscow the test is operated by British Council:

http://www.ielts.su/



აბა ყვავებს ვინ დაიჭერს, კარგო? გალიაში ბულბულები ზიან.
Sanjay
Posted: Thursday, July 27, 2017 6:37:17 AM

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Thanks all for your reply.

Much appreciated.

Regards,
Sanjay
TMe
Posted: Thursday, July 27, 2017 12:48:05 PM

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So the answer to your question Sanjay is, never.

But do take care of your IELTS. A number of times we have to agree while disagreeing.Brick wall Brick wall Brick wall

I am a layman.
Hope123
Posted: Thursday, July 27, 2017 2:33:13 PM

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Thanks for the info, Xap.

Romany, every now and again it helps to explain that the TFD Forum is to discuss English language and have some fun doing it. It gradually evolved into helping learners but it is not a teaching site for language learners. It is a site where we all learn a multitude of things as we give our opinions and insights from various backgrounds and with expertise in many areas. Well written, as usual!

Ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have. -James Baldwin, writer
srirr
Posted: Friday, July 28, 2017 2:23:59 AM

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Well, to add my two cents.
As TMe mentioned earlier that 'Yours faithfully' was used by sycophants of British rule, I agree with that. In fact, this use is what had been taught in Indian schools in the last century. You can't expect to change the conventions overnight. Slowly this use is getting out of practice (still can be seen at places). Nowadays, the professional letters/ emails may be closed with 'sincerely', 'truly' or more commonly 'regards'.

As OP asked the question with a reference to IELTS, I am not sure (as I am not aware) whether this use is mentioned anywhere in the course material or syllabus of the exam. I guess it should not be.

There is another thing that we are missing here. I can't say whether this is true with my British/ American or other ESL speaking friends, but when we had been taught to write applications to our school teachers or principals, the application usually ended with 'Yours Faithfully'. Being a pupil, we always considered it correct. In India, it is not sycophancy, but the utmost respect towards our teachers which prompts us to bring the teachers at a level equal to (or even higher than) God. It is a cultural aspect. Being faithful to teachers and signing the letter with 'Yours faithfully' is not considered wrong or awkward.

Others may have different views.




We are responsible for what we are, and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves. ~ Swami Vivekanand
Romany
Posted: Friday, July 28, 2017 4:17:17 AM
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There seems to be a bit of confusion about what IELTS is and what its purpose is:-

"The international English language testing system (IELTS) is the world's most popular English language proficiency test for higher education and global migration, with over 2.9 million tests taken in the last year."
(takeielts.britishcouncil.org/choose-ielts/what-ielts)

At first English schools used to teach only the English THEY spoke. So if one was learning English in Australia, one learnt Aussie English, in Trinidad one learnt another form of English, in America another.

But then students who took up international positions, or had enrolled in Tertiary education overseas, were finding that, even though they had passed their English course with flying colours, once overseas they kept getting bad marks for their written work, and people couldn't understand some of the things they said. While their efforts to make friends were hampered by miscommunication. Many were unhappy and miserable and felt they'd been 'conned' out of the money they paid to their language school.

So the British Council came up with the idea of IELTS i.e. a STANDARD ENGLISH test. One that just concentrated on the English language without all the little quirks and different vocabularies and even grammars of any particular dialect. It recognised that English is hard, and expensive to learn, so it aims to equip a student to be able to speak with ease in an English that can be understood clearly by all speakers of English no matter where they are from.

I studied as an IELTS examiner because I was teaching in a Uni where students Englishes varied - yet they were all destined for further studies overseas. That's why it's important to point out here, on TFD, the differences between American, Indian, Australian etc. English when they occur and confuse many learners. These students pay hefty fees - for some it is a huge sacrifice to take English lessons, so we are all hoping we can make things as easy as possible for all those sitting exams and hoping to change their whole lives.

Харбин Хэйлунцзян 1
Posted: Friday, July 28, 2017 5:34:07 AM

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Romany wrote:
I studied as an IELTS examiner

I took the test in 2006

Reading - 8.5
Writing - 8.0
Listening - 7.5
Speaking - 7.0

That's C1. What do you say Doc? Do I deserve it? :)

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