Difference between Yours Faithfully and Yours Sincerely

Key Difference: ‘Yours sincerely’ is commonly used in America and in a formal letter wherein the author knows the name of the respondent. ‘Yours faithfully’ is used in a formal letter where the recipient is not acknowledged by name, or if the author does not know the recipient by name.

Even though e-mails have replaced traditional snail mail letters, some rules have remained the same. The format of a letter written on paper by hand is still the same for an email; just the medium has now changed. Just like everything else in life, proper letter writing also has certain rules.

Every letter, formal or informal, must have three things: a salutation, a body and a valediction. The rest will change depending on the type of letter is written, including date, letterhead, etc. A salutation is a greeting or the acknowledgement of the person to whom the letter is being written to. Examples include: To whom so ever it may concern, Dear, To XYZ, Department name at XYZ Company, etc.

Following the salutation is the body, or the reason for writing the letter. Following the body is the valediction or the complimentary closing. It is an expression that is used to say farewell or bid the reader goodbye. These parting words can be a phrase or a word that basically bids the reader farewell. The word or words used express respect, esteem, or regard for the person to whom the correspondence is directed. Valedictions are followed by the name of the author of the letter.

‘Yours faithfully’ and ‘Yours sincerely’ are both valediction that bids the reader farewell. These are two of the many different valedictions that are used in order to close a letter. Although, many people use these words interchangeably, according to the rules of writing these are both used for different purposes. The type of closing used is dependent on factors such as formality of the correspondence and the relationship of the author to the recipient.

‘Yours sincerely’ is actually a shortened term for archaic "I am yours sincerely", which were originally used in old British correspondence. Today, the term is commonly used in America and in a formal letter wherein the author knows the name of the respondent. For example, a letter that starts with Dear Mrs. Santos would conclude with Yours sincerely. The phrase can also be written as Sincerely yours.

‘Yours faithfully’ is a shortened term for "I remain, Sir, your faithful and obedient servant". Today the term is used in a formal letter where the recipient is not acknowledged by name, or if the author does not know the recipient by name. For example, a letter that start with Dear Sir or Dear Madam, would conclude with Yours faithfully, which can also be written as Faithfully yours.

Comparison between Yours Faithfully and Yours Sincerely:

 

Yours Faithfully

Yours Sincerely

Contraction of

I remain, Sir, your faithful and obedient servant

I am yours sincerely

Definition

Valediction or complimentary close

Valediction or complimentary close

Use when

When the author does not know the name of the recipient

When the author knows the name of the recipient

Usage

British

American

Image Courtesy: yourssincerelyblog.com, cdn.hotfrog.ca

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