How to End an Email | 10 Closing Lines & Sign-Offs

Sending good emails is an essential professional skill. In addition to knowing how to start an email, you should understand how to end one, with an engaging closing line, an appropriate sign-off, and a proper email signature.

Below, we provide you with five strong closing lines and five professional sign-offs to use in your correspondence. We also discuss what information you should include in your signature.

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How to Start an Email | 10 Greetings & Opening Lines

Sending good emails is an important skill in academic and professional contexts. It’s essential to start your emails on the right foot with an appropriate greeting and an engaging opening line.

Below, we explore how to start an email, providing five professional greetings and five strong opening lines that you can use in your correspondence. We also explain the contexts where each one would be an appropriate choice.

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Ms. vs. Mrs. vs. Miss | Difference & Pronunciation

Ms. vs. Mrs. vs. Miss Difference & Pronunciation

The words Ms., Mrs., and Miss are all titles used to address women formally (e.g., at the start of an email). Which one you should use depends on the age and marital status of the woman, as well as on her own preference about how she should be addressed.

  • Ms. (pronounced [miz]) is a neutral option that doesn’t indicate any particular marital status. You can use it for any adult woman.
  • Mrs. (pronounced [miss-iz]) is used to address a married woman of any age.
  • Miss (pronounced [miss]) is used to address a young unmarried woman or girl.
Examples: Ms. in a sentence Examples: Mrs. in a sentence Examples: Miss in a sentence
Ms. Nielsen is a talented pianist. I hope she’ll play for us at the party. I’ve known Mr. and Mrs. Jayna for a few years. Excuse me, miss. Is this your backpack?
Have you met Ms. Sofi before? Mrs. Thompson is an entrepreneur; she started her own business last year. I always get too much homework from Miss Jonas.

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Dear Sir or Madam | Alternatives & When to Use

Dear Sir or Madam is a standard salutation used to start an email or letter to a person whose identity you’re not sure of. Though it’s a traditional phrasing, it’s recommended to avoid it if possible since it’s very impersonal and quite old-fashioned.

It’s always best to address the person directly by name if you can find out this information. If not, other options include using the name of the group or department, the person’s job title, or, if you’re not addressing one specific person, “To Whom It May Concern.”

Examples: Dear Sir or Madam alternatives
Dear Ms. Johnson, …

Dear Department of Communications, …

Dear Hiring Manager, …

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Sincerely Yours | Meaning, When to Use & Examples

Sincerely yours is a standard sign-off, used to end an email or letter, followed by your name on the next line. “Sincerely” is an adverb meaning “genuinely” and is used to emphasize your honest intentions toward the person addressed.

This sign-off is relatively formal, but according to some authorities it should only be used when writing to someone you already know, not a complete stranger. An alternative like “Yours truly” should be used with someone you’ve never written to before.

Example: Sincerely yours
Dear Mr. Leslie,

I am writing to inform you …

Sincerely yours,

Jack Caulfield

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8 Alternatives to “Looking Forward to Hearing from You”

Looking forward to hearing from you is a common expression in email communication and other correspondence. It’s used to end an email by encouraging the addressee to reply sometime soon.

There’s nothing wrong with using this expression—it’s clear, correct, and friendly in tone without being overly informal. But since it’s so frequently used, you may be worried that it seems cliché or that your addressee won’t really take notice of it, especially if you need to push them to respond quickly.

Below, we provide 8 potential alternatives to help you vary your language, strike the right tone, and encourage a quick response.

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Singular They | Usage, Examples & History

The singular “they” is the use of the third-person plural pronoun they with a singular meaning—i.e., to refer to one person without using “he” or “she.”

The singular “they” has existed for hundreds of years, but it was long condemned as grammatically incorrect. Now, it’s recommended by most style guides and dictionaries as the best choice when you need a gender-neutral singular pronoun.

You can use the singular “they” to refer to:

  • A generic individual whose gender is unknown or irrelevant in the context
  • A specific person who identifies as neither male nor female (or whose gender is unknown to you)
Examples: Singular they in a sentence
When a new student joins the class, it’s important that they feel welcome and included.

I really like Jaime. They always have something interesting to say.

Note
In addition to the subject pronoun they, the term also encompasses the use of the related pronouns and determiners them, their, theirs, and themselves. These are collectively referred to as gender-neutral singular pronouns or epicene pronouns.

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Third-Person Pronouns | List, Examples & Explanation

Third-Person Pronouns

Third-person pronouns are words such as “she,” “it,” and “they” that are used to refer to other people and things that are not being directly addressed, without naming them specifically with a noun. Like first- and second-person pronouns, they are a type of personal pronoun.

There are quite a lot of third-person pronouns, since they differ based on the gender (or lack thereof) and number of who or what is being referred to. They also change based on whether they are used based on case: subject, object, possessive, or reflexive/intensive. The table below shows all the third-person pronouns.

Subject Object Possessive Reflexive
Masculine singular he him his himself
Feminine singular she her hers herself
Neuter / inanimate singular it its itself
Gender-neutral singular (epicene) they them theirs themself
Plural they them theirs themselves
Note
There is still some disagreement about the correctness of the gender-neutral singular “they,” but it is now endorsed by most style guides.

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Infer vs. Imply | Difference, Definitions & Examples

Imply and infer are two transitive verbs that are commonly confused. Their meanings are closely related, but they shouldn’t be used interchangeably.

  • Imply means to express or suggest something indirectly—without explicitly stating it.
  • Infer means to draw a conclusion from some evidence—in other words, to pick up on something that was implied.
Examples: Imply in a sentence Examples: Infer in a sentence
The results imply that further research on this topic should adopt a different approach. From these data, we infer that the technique is more effective at higher temperatures.
A good writer knows how to imply the feelings of their protagonist without spelling them out. To infer something as serious as that, you need some very solid reasoning.
I hope you’re not implying that this is my fault. Based on Anneli’s disruptive behavior, her teachers inferred she didn’t feel engaged at school.
Tip
If you struggle to differentiate between the two words, it’s useful to think of implying as an act of giving information and inferring as an act of receiving information. When you imply something and I infer something from what you said, you’re giving information to me.

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Discrete or Discreet | Difference, Meaning & Examples

Discrete and discreet are two adjectives that are commonly confused. The two words are pronounced the same ([disk-reet]) and related in origin, but they have distinct meanings and should not be used interchangeably.

  • Discrete means “separate” or “distinct.” It’s used especially in mathematical and research contexts as the opposite of “continuous.”
  • Discreet is used to mean “inconspicuous,” “cautious,” or “discerning.” It’s used in less technical contexts, usually to describe people, actions, and things.
Examples: Discrete in a sentence Examples: Discreet in a sentence
Discrete variables are those that are counted using integers. Please be discreet about this; I don’t want anyone else to know.
The symphony proceeds through four discrete movements, each with its own theme. The car’s color and design are discreet. It’s elegant, but it’s not flashy.
The patient passed through several discrete stages of illness before recovering. It’s essential to be discreet in my line of work—you can’t just act on your first instinct.
Tip
If you struggle to keep the distinction clear, a good rule of thumb is that discrete is mostly used in technical or academic contexts, while discreet is more likely to be used in a subjective way, making a judgment about a person, a behavior, or a design.

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