Why 'Best' Is The Worst Way To End Your Email

If you want to annoy me, sign off your email with 'best'. When it happens, I am tempted to respond and ask 'best what?' Why have you chosen to add a random adjective that means nothing on a line by itself? The more you think about it, the more ridiculous it becomes.

Who uses it?

If you throw 'best' around as if it were actually a closing, you need to take time to create a genuine signature. 'Best' has become ubiquitous in its impersonal insincerity and it has even morphed into the nonsensical 'very best' and 'all best'. 

'Best' is the worst of a trend started by those who thought it sounded snappy and chic to use it. It is the written equivalent of those unwanted 'air-kisses'. 

Tip: If you want to use 'best', please add 'regards' or 'wishes' after it to make it useful.

If you need a genuine way to sign off on your emails, here are three suggestions:

  1. Regards. This works for business emails but it can be a bit abrupt.
  2. Kind regards. This is an excellent closing for personal and business emails. It is polite and friendly. 
  3. Warm regards. This is acceptable for both personal and business emails. You should use it if you have a naturally warm and engaging tone.

Avoid 'thanks' unless you are actually thanking the person. Avoid 'warmly'. It is an untethered adverb that is perhaps even creepier than 'best'. Avoid spiritual and religious quotes, unless you are a spiritual or religious leader.

Of course, many will disagree with me, but I am hopeful that some of you will not.

If you want to improve your business writing skills, join us for The Plain Language Programme

 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Pinterest,  Facebook,  Google+,  Tumblr  and Twitter.  

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to read:
  1. The 12 Worst Mistakes People Make In Email Subject Lines
  2. The 3 Most Abused Words in Emails (and other writing mistakes)
  3. 9 Ways To Avoid The Emotional Email

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14 responses
Wow! This is disappointingly just a rant. "Best" is quite suitable, in my humble opinion. It's a shortened version of "sending you my best." The unwritten assumed part is BEST wishes for a great day, occasion, year. As in, "Good to see you, give your wife my best." "Oh, you're getting married, best wishes to you both!" Someone might be just as annoyed with 'Regards.' Regards to what? Broadway? Tip to all bloggers: Count to ten before you post.
Leslie, I disagree. Regards is a noun. It is used to express friendliness in greetings. It is appropriate.
'Best' is an adjective, an adverb, a noun, and a verb.
Yes, and none of those can be used as a closing for an email. Regards is a noun that is actually intended for this purpose.
Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for saying this! Best, Athena (Just kidding.)
Sincerely is an adverb.
I am going to disagree. I use 'All the best' or sometimes 'Best regards' or when I am being business-like, then 'Yours sincerely'. But then I grew up in a posh British family and I used to write letters - and I'm over 60. Nobody has ever corrected my use of the word 'best', but then perhaps it's a British habit. Or perhaps, I am a nonsensical journalist. Yours sincerely, Angry of Harlech.
Roland, as it says in the post, there is nothing wrong with 'Best regards' or even 'All the best', which are both accepted greetings. However 'best' and 'all best' do not make sense on their own.
I agree with you, Amanda. I must add that it gives me the impression that the sender wrote the email in a rushed manner. It's totally uncool.
When people sign an email "Best", I find it annoying. It may be a shortened version of something, but it isn't clear what. Best wishes? Best Friend? I'm the best? You're the best? No. None of these work for me. Not even "sending you my best". What are you sending? Your best what? Actually, I don't want to know.
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