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Some classic email signoffs (Image: Archi Banal)
Some classic email signoffs (Image: Archi Banal)

InternetJanuary 19, 2024

Email signoffs, ranked from worst to best

Some classic email signoffs (Image: Archi Banal)
Some classic email signoffs (Image: Archi Banal)

As thousands of New Zealanders wade through their holiday inboxes, perhaps now is the time to mix up your signoff. Mad Chapman ranks them all.

New Zealand is drifting back to work and back to the malaise of sending emails to each other over and over. But while email openers have been well established – Hi, Kia ora, Mōrena, please for the love of god never open an email with just the recipient’s name – the email signoff is still the wild west. When I first started a job (this one) that required sending and receiving dozens of emails a day, I spent way too long deciding on a perfectly pitched signoff for each one. As the months went on, I realised that I quite literally could not afford to be doing that and opted for a few classics (which you’ll see below). 

If you’re new to the heaving inbox world or just looking for a bit of inspiration, enjoy. But please remember that every email signoff is passive aggressive if the person sending the email is passive aggressive. If you’ve included “as I’m sure you’re aware” or “sorry to bug you” or “as per my previous email” in your copy, it doesn’t matter how you sign off so you might as well commit to the bit and use “kind regards”. But for your bog standard pleasant email, some signoffs are superior.

For my ranking I’ve considered first and foremost the versatility of the signoff, and whether it could be used as a default for most emails. Of those, I’ve ranked by vibes and that’s it. Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you. 

36. Warmest

Horrible. Every time I read this I imagine a tight-lipped smile and fingers itching to call Noise Control.

35. Yours &c

If you’re unfamiliar with this one it’s because you’re alive in the 21st century. Meaning “yours etc” in Jane Austen speak, if you see this in an email, call your nearest medium.

34. Best

Similar to “warmest”, there’s something quite sinister about shortening an already short phrase (all the best) to one word. Again, it feels forced. There is no life behind best’s eyes.

33. All best

Marginally better because of the extra word but still not enough to be a real saying. Just add the “the” and be done with it.

32. Yours

In a handwritten letter (preferably cursive writing), delightful. In an email, threatening.

31. Kind regards

Oh ho ho, if you get a kind regards, you better count your days. Never have two words held so much disdain and disappointment. Kind regards, at this point, is chosen after internally debating for at least 10 minutes whether “cheers” will be read as friendly or passive aggressive. Kind regards may seem neutral but with so many alternatives, it is now the coldhearted choice. It’s the “I’m not mad, just disappointed” of email signoffs.

30. Regards

“I’m mad and disappointed.”

29-28. Sincerely, Nāku noa

Nice sentiment but much more at home on paper than on screen. Or maybe at the end of a reference letter.

27. Cheers

I know, I know, this is classic Kiwi yarnage but its prevalence is so strong in the most corporate of environments that it’s developed a sinister air. Cheers is meant to be said out loud, preferably in the sun, ideally to a stranger. To bring that sort of carefree energy into the hell that is corporate inboxes? Let it be free. 

26. Respectfully

Any adverbs in a signoff feel of a time before the internet existed. “Yours truly” is not on this list but it would be ranked alongside respectfully. Vibes like it should be accompanied by a bow. 

25. All the best

This one’s fine but does suggest a rocky journey ahead which isn’t a great vibe.

24. Mā te wā

OK Air New Zealand, thank you for your correspondence.

23. Stay safe

A Covid-era/flooding-era staple. 

22. [just your name]

You’ll read below that I’m a fan of no signoff whatsoever, but signing just your name is spiky. In fact, I’d probably rather receive another generic signoff without a name attached (just a “thanks!”, for example) than a name alone. If you shorten your name, that helps but best to avoid entirely. In fact, I searched back through my inbox for the most aggressive complaints I’ve received and 80% of them signed off with just a first name. The other 20% were some form of “regards”.

21-19. Thanks again, Thanks heaps, Many thanks

These are always used when you’ve opened an email by saying thanks and don’t want to awkwardly end it by repeating yourself. They work fine but are uninspired. I use them all the time.

18. Thanks!

For when you wanna make it clear you’re not pissed off!

17. Look forward to hearing from you

More of an instruction than a pleasantry but hard to beat when you’re asking for something (read: begging for a response).

16. Take care

Actually not bad and generic enough to slide right past the recipient’s eyeballs. Also very final, so more suited to closing an unnecessary email thread than starting one.

15-14. Ngā mihi nui, Ngā mihi mahana

Similar to the variations on the English thanks, these ones are often deployed when you want to make it clear this is no ordinary email or request. 

13. Go fuck yourself

This was reported as being an email signoff but it was actual just a statement near the end of the mayor’s email. The email was to a sovereign citizen conspiracy theorist (great) and the actual signoff, directly after the kill shot, was “kind regards” (perfect).

12. Talk soon

Friendly, open but also a little bit threatening. 

11. Kia pai te rā

Wishing someone a good day is great and friendly but doesn’t really work if you’re sending multiple emails to the same person in one day. This list is searching for the least-worst signoff and to be the least-worst, you have to be versatile.

10. [no signoff]

I kind of love a no-sign-off email, especially when it’s short. I unfortunately have an obnoxiously large default email signature but a lot of my emails are short enough to be text messages. And in that instance, why not format it like one? Sadly I often forget about my big signature and go for the [no signoff] and end up with [just my name]. Embarrassing! But no signoff generally means short emails and short emails are the best emails.

9. Warm regards

As much as I dislike the word “regards”, if you have to use it, lighten it up by making it warm. 

8. Ngā mihi

Ngā mihi is a classic and works in pretty much any context. Unfortunately I have seen way too many copy-pasted macrons where the ā is a different font (aka The Stink A) for it to go any higher on this list. Hot tip: Ctrl + Shift + V will paste text without formatting and save you from becoming a ngā mihi.

7. Ngā manaakitanga

Same copy-paste vulnerability but ngā manaakitanga allows a little flourish while still being personable. 

6. Sent from my iPhone

I love it, makes me laugh every time.

5. x, xx, xo

What a joy to receive a little x from a stranger! And it must be a little x, not a big X, in my opinion. It’s undoubtedly friendly but unsurprisingly doesn’t work in every situation. While I personally love to receive an x from a random, I am very hesitant to give an x to a random. Use your judgment on how it’s likely to be received, and if you think an “x” represents a literal kiss, choose a different signoff.

4. Thanks

This is the one I use the most in my day-to-day dealings. It’s generic enough to apply to virtually every situation, it’s pleasant without being “email-speak” and it’s just nice to say thanks. Most email interactions involve some sort of transaction so a simple thanks never hurts. If in doubt, just say thanks.

3. Sorry

Look, I know women need to stop apologising all the time but there’s something so crack up about ending an email with a stone cold “sorry”. There are few work emails that wouldn’t be improved with an apology at the end. What are you sorry for? Who knows, probably this weird song and dance that is sending emails to each other over and over until we die. “Here’s another email for you… Sorry.” It just works.

2. Mauri ora

Strong, snappy and literally life affirming. Always relevant and may even inspire you to reverse engineer the rest of your email to match its energy.

1. [just your initial]

A single initial at the end of an email is so nice. It presents familiarity and comfort without being too chummy. Most people’s names will be in their email address in full so even if it’s an introductory email, you could get away with a fun “M” or “A” – for some reason “A” feels like it works best, maybe because of Pretty Little Liars. If you already know the person you’re emailing, it’s a simple, fast and classic way to sign off any correspondence and means you don’t have to faff around with any other final sentiments. And I love to receive and initialled email, like a little sneaky note passed in class except it’s somebody sending an invoice.

I do not endorse using another signoff and then a single initial. Pick either a sentiment plus name or just the initial. Some people like an initial followed by a full stop (or even an x, iconic duo) which I find quite cute even though I’ve never done it. But signing off with just your initial is an elite way to end emails. It takes the least time, requires zero thought and makes you appear both chill and distinguished.

A single initial is the best email signoff.

M.

Keep going!