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Ian Smith

"Sincerely" is very much a formality. Even if I'm not internally sincere about everything I'm typing in an e-mail, the fact that I'm writing formal correspondence makes me want to give the appearance, at the very least, of being that way. Image is very much everything.

Jennifer

I can tell that you take your language very seriously, Ian. When you type "sincerely," do you stop and think whether you really, really mean everything that you've written in your message? I'm also a big fan of "yours truly" and "warm regards" -- though I use the latter judiciously, on occasions when I have kind feelings toward someone (or maybe if the radiator is working overtime and I can sincerely claim to feel warm.) Okay, with that I'm kidding, sort of.

Ian Smith

In a formal e-mail, I almost always tack a "Sincerely" at the end. For less formal, I use "Cheers." However, I have dropped the introductory "Dear" almost entirely; for me, that word sounds far too personal. Is the head of LIU PR "dear" to me? Not especially, despite the inferred politeness. In the same way "To whom it may concern" sounds both robotic and coldly impersonal. Usually I just opt for "Hi xxx," or the slightly more personal "Hello xxx." Friendly, but not invasive.

Proper grammar, spelling and punctuation in e-mail is a whole other matter. I loathe when single letters are substituted for full words, even more so when the messages themselves don't make sense to begin with. It's not enough to simply say, "But I e-mailed you!" Your message HAS TO MAKE SENSE.

For what it's worth, I think you should be that stickler.

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