Tag Archives: literature

finish your letters like an adult.

23 Jul

Dear Grown Men,

Today, I’m going to be educating you on two finer points of writing that have been both butchered and forgotten among today’s gentlemen. First, I’m going to talk about how to write a proper closing. Second, I’m going to force you to stop using the P.S. For the remainder of this post, every time I say the world letter, I’m also referring to emails – because the rules for email are the same as the rules for letters.

gut groan man, i dont capitalize, right in full sentences, or even read my emails before i send them 🙂

I know you don’t – and it makes you look uneducated. The rules for a proper letter are ALWAYS in play when writing an email. Back to the post.

The closing of a letter is the spot right above your name where you say, essentially, see ya later. The actual term for this part of a letter is called the valediction, which, I’m pretty sure teachers knew wouldn’t fly with 5th grader vocabulary and switched it to the much easier closing. In any event, the closing is my favorite part of the letter.

The closing is your final opportunity to convey the tone of the letter and respectfully leave the conversation. Here are some rules for the closing:

1- No more than four words. The real beauty of the closing is getting someone to feel something with perfectly chosen words. As the cliché goes, less is more.

2- You must always have a closing. I don’t know how we lost this, but it’s not okay to end with simply your name. And, while I fear I may have been guilty of this, it’s got to end. There is no reason not to give someone even a trite good-bye. Your letter might be a full on rant to the manager of Fatty Mart for not allowing you to buy full cases of beef jerky at a discount. But that poor manager still deserves, at least, a meager amount of appreciation for reading your insanity.

3- Be appropriate with your valediction. For instance, I have a few of them that I use for specific occasions:

Default (always works): Kind regards,
Writing to a friend: Peace and good things,
Responding to someone who’s mad at me: Respectfully,
Someone I don’t know: Sincerely,

4- The closing is a fantastic time to be funny and bring back a joke from earlier in the letter. For these, I like the Arrested Development style jokes that you have to really be paying attention to in order to get. Here me say this though, you may not be funny – and that’s okay! Just know when to say when, less you make a fool of yourself. I’ll end this post with an example.

That’s all for the closing, now I’m going to blow your mind with this next point. The P.S. must die.

Here’s why the postscript exists. Back in the day, when gentlemen wrote with pens or, further back, when they wrote with a quill, they would spend a great deal of time crafting the document. However, as is naturally the case, they might forget something and be faced with the quandary of going back and rewriting for a half hour, or simply make a generally accepted concession and tack on a P.S. The P.S. was a tremendously helpful tool and is still a great option for those of us who are hand writing a note.

Did you catch that? Hand writing a note. Today, a vast majority of our letters are typed and there’s simply no need for us to tack on P.S. because we forgot something. All we have to do is scroll up, revise, and move forward. The modern day postscript has become a way for us to not think and just tack on light-bulbs that turned on after we finished our stream of consciousness rant. For real, nothing typed may have a postscript – it’s lazy.

And, as a side note, P.P.S., P.P.P.S and the like are literally never acceptable. Even if you’re freaking chiseling that note into granite, you’ve got to start over.

That’s all for today. Have a tremendous weekend.

Forever Fatty Mart,

P.S. It was an easy joke.
P.S.S. For real, you can never use this.

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