Polite manners and the language that accompanies them — such as greetings, goodbyes, apologies, words of thanks, and the like — tend to follow very particular rules. We often hear the phrase “Best regards,” particularly at the close of a letter or other form of communication. Is this phrase grammatically correct?
It is correct to say “best regards,” which is appropriate for the close of letters and other conversational contexts. The adjective “best” modifies the noun “regards,” and the expression means “I offer my best regards to you.” Still, since “Best regards” is semi-formal in tone, it may sound strange in very casual or very formal communication.
This article will look at what “Best regards” really means and how we should use it in written and spoken communication. We will also briefly look at interjections and other similar minor sentences. First, we will discuss the meaning of this phrase itself.
What Does “Best Regards” Mean?
“Best regards” is a simple two-word phrase that most of us will understand on its own. As a whole, this phrase is a greeting that claims the highest degree of respect and affection for the party someone addresses.
The adjective “best,” which in this case means “of the highest quality, or being the most suitable, pleasing, or effective” (source), precedes the plural noun “regards,” which in this case means “friendly greetings implying a feeling of respect and affection” (source).
This friendly phrase often comes at the end of a letter, email, or other forms of written communication. Another word for a closing phrase like this is “valediction.” “Best regards” falls into the same category as other more common valedictions such as “Goodbye,” “Best wishes,” and “Thank you.”
Is It Grammatically Correct to Say “Best Regards”?
Again the phrase “Best regards” is grammatically correct — an adjective modifying a noun — so long as you use it correctly within its context as a minor sentence or within a larger sentence.
There are certain rules for using phrases like “Best regards” to close out a letter or other form of communication. Typically, you should place a valediction on its own line. You should also capitalize just the first word and follow it with a comma or, less commonly, an exclamation point (source).
If “Best regards” follows this structure, it is grammatically correct. Here is an example letter. Note the difference between the proper use of “Best regards” in closing and the incorrect use of “Best regards.”
Thank you for the flowers you sent me, they are beautiful!
Thank you for the flowers you sent me, they are beautiful!
Best Regards Angela
Remember that “Best regards” is only correct if you capitalize and punctuate it correctly within this context.
For more on polite farewells, check out our article “Is It Correct to Say ‘Safe Travels’?”
How Do You Use “Best Regards”?
There are a few ways that you might use “best regards.” For example, you can close written communication such as a letter or use it in a complete sentence.
While most commonly appearing as a valediction, “best regards” can also, in some cases, function in running text or speech. We will explore a few examples of this below.
Using “Best Regards” in a Full Sentence
Sometimes, “best regards” appears in running text as part of a full sentence that mentions someone’s “best regards.” If you use it in this way, you should lowercase both words unless “best” is the first word of the sentence.
Here is an example of “best regards” functioning correctly within a full sentence:
- She gave him her best regards and took her leave.
- “Best regards of the day!” he said, getting in his car to leave.
Using “Regard” in a Full Sentence
Of course, we can also use “regard” in various ways within full sentences. For instance, “regard” as a noun often appears with a similar meaning in running text, as in the following examples:
- Dr. Bremen held his students in the highest regard.
- Regard can be fickle.
The word “regard” can also function as a verb meaning to see something or to value or esteem something. Here are a few examples of the word “regard” as a verb:
- Samantha regarded all the rabbits in her garden with disdain. (regard: look at)
- He regards his professor very highly. (regard: esteem)
However, don’t confuse the noun or verb uses of “regard” with the preposition “regarding,” which means “concerning” or “about”:
- May I ask what this is regarding?
- She received a phone call regarding her new job.
When Can You Use “Best Regards”?
While “best regards” is still a fairly common phrase, it has a somewhat formal tone. For this reason, it is most effective in semi-formal letter writing or email writing. However, you may also use it in a written dialogue, where it seems natural.
In What Context Can You Use “Best Regards”?
The phrase implies respect, confers honor, and elevates a piece of communication. Thus, it is most appropriate for formal and semi-formal contexts. For example, you might use “Best regards” to close out a professional letter to a client or a Christmas card you send to an acquaintance.
If you are writing a piece of formal or business communication, make sure to keep in mind what this phrase actually means and whether it is appropriate to use in context.
Remember that “Best regards” means that you have a high degree of regard and respect for the party you address.
“Best regards,” then, works best in circumstances where there is a balance between formality and familiarity. It works particularly well in letters or emails that are professional or formal in nature but directed towards a party you know personally.
On the other hand, if writing an email that will go to a large group or a letter for mass mailing, this particular closing might come off as disingenuous.
Using “Best Regards” as an Interjection
Some valedictions (the close of a letter) and salutations (the opening of a letter) can take the form of interjections. Interjections are abrupt remarks, asides, or exclamations.
Many very brief sentences, and almost all one-word sentences, are interjections. For example, “Best regards” often functions as an interjection, either at the close of a letter or within a written dialogue.
In written communication, an exclamation point or a comma can follow this phrase, depending on the author’s intended tone and the formality of the communication.
Check out the following examples containing two letters and one piece of written dialogue. All of these demonstrate the correct and appropriate use of “Best regards”:
We’d love it if you’d join us for a party at our home on New Year’s Eve.
Note that this informal use of “best regards” is not very common anymore. Because we use this phrase infrequently, it tends to carry a more formal tone. Nonetheless, this use is correct.
We request your presence at a reception at the Hilton on Monday, June 5.
She stepped onto the train and peered out the window. “Best regards!” she called back to her friends as the train pulled out of the station.
These uses of “best regards” as an interjection are correct. You will need to determine how to punctuate the phrase based on the context.
When Not to Use “Best Regards”
The phrase “Best regards” implies respect and confers honor but is less than ideal for communicating a tone of close familiarity. So if you are writing to a friend or family member, closing out your communication in this way might sound stilted or distant.
The phrase is probably not the best choice, then, when you are writing a piece of casual communication, such as a text message or an email or letter to a close friend or family member.
Keeping the meaning of “Best regards” in mind, it is also not the best choice when addressing a large group you do not know personally. Instead, you should address this phrase to a person or a small group of people whom you hold (or could possibly hold) in high regard.
If you do not know them or anything about them, then the phrase would seem inaccurate. For example, a group of a thousand people receiving an email or mailing will not likely believe the sender holds them in high regard.
Of course, if a mass mailing appears personalized to each recipient, then “Best regards” may be perfectly acceptable. For example, if a mass mailing prints each recipient’s name or is personalized in some other way, “Best regards” may be an appropriate closing.
What Can You Use Instead of “Best Regards”?
If you seek a less formal or less personal phrase to close out a letter or other communication, there are many options to pick from instead of “Best regards.”
You could choose an alternate phrase that is similar to “best regards” in meaning and formality, such as:
- Kind regards
If you want a more formal and more distant phrase to send out in something like a mass business mailing, here are a few possibilities:
If you want a less formal phrase, consider one of the following:
Another common way to end a piece of semi-formal communication is with an expression of gratitude. For example, you can thank the reader in advance for some action item requested or simply for taking the time to read your letter. Consider these examples:
- Thank you
- Thanks much
- With gratitude
For more expressions of gratitude, make sure you read “Is It Correct to Say ‘Thank You Both’?”
Note that we insert all of these into a letter or email in the same way as “Best regards.” Again, the valediction should stand on its own line, we should only capitalize the first word, and a comma or, in some cases, an exclamation point should follow it.
Interjections and Minor Sentences
Like “best regards,” several other interjections can function as salutations, such as the following: Hi! Hello! Goodbye! Best regards! Good morning! Good evening! Thanks!
When any of these stand alone as statements of greeting or farewell (such as in written dialogue), they typically end with an exclamation point. However, when the sentiment is milder and does not interrupt the flow of the surrounding sentence, we can set them off using commas (source).
In most formal or professional communication, we follow an interjection we use as a salutation with a comma. However, in more energetic communication, such as with a friend or family member, an exclamation point may convey the writer’s tone more accurately.
Below are two letters, one fairly informal in tone and the other more formal. Note the difference in the punctuation of the salutation and the closing in each.
It was so nice to see you last weekend, and I hope you have a wonderful week.
Thanks for everything!
Dear Ms. Smith,
I appreciate your sending the files along so quickly. They worked well and added a lot to our presentation.
This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
While all of the above salutations and valedictions are correct, using the exclamation point sounds more casual and friendly, while using the comma sounds more formal.
In summary, the phrase “Best regards” is grammatically correct when you use it correctly. It often functions to close a letter or other form of written communication.
However, be sure to use “Best regards” intentionally and carefully. It is formal in tone. But because of its literal meaning (a high sense of personal regard for the recipient), it also conveys a sense of personal acquaintance.
If you are writing an informal piece of communication, such as to a close friend or family member or a mass email or letter to many people you do not know personally, selecting an alternative to “Best regards” may be a good idea.