Courtesy formula in an e-mail: how to choose?

It is not uncommon to use courtesy in a professional or administrative email, but its use varies depending on the recipient and the context.

Sending an email is highly coded depending on the recipient or the context of the message. Whether you’re sending a CV, a cover letter, a business proposal, an order form, or just an informal message, there are often rules to follow, particularly with regard to courtesy. What courtesy formula to use in an e-mail according to the context? It is recommended touse proper polite form to avoid making a bad impression on the recipient of the email, especially if it is a hierarchical superior, for example.

What courtesy formula to choose according to the context?

Good for you

In a way, this polite formula reveals submission. It is the continuity of formulas present in letters from the 18th and 19th centuries that could include expressions such as “I am all yours” or “I belong to you”. Today it is used for be more polite than certain more common forms of courtesy such as “cordially.” It has been stripped of the somewhat erotic substance that was fashionable centuries ago.


Etymologically, the word means “with all my heart”. This is the most used formula at the end of emails, but this polite formula should not be used inappropriately. It is recommended whenan exchange between peers or between two people who know each other. Therefore, it is recommended to use it after several email exchanges where it will be possible to change from “The best for you” to “Greetings”.

You can also use “Best regards”. This formula means even more respect.


While “Greetings” can be used in some of the scenarios listed above, it is not recommendedchoose an abbreviation as “Cdt” or “well Cdt” since implicitly this means that we consider courtesy as non-essential. Writing a few more letters doesn’t take any more time and could help tip the scales in your favor.


This formula is rarely used in an email. However, she gives a certain solemnity to the exchange Allows the interlocutor feel valued. Therefore, it can be used against a hierarchical superior. On the other hand, it belongs to a supported registry and will be use sparingly when approaching a company that presents itself as “cool”.

Please accept my best regards

This polite, relatively pompous formula must use with caution in paper correspondence where it can survive in the official administrative mail. However, this polite formula has no misplaced in an email. In fact, it is too long. It is rather advisable to privilege the courtesy formulas “distinguished greetings” or “yours” to show a high level of courtesy in your electronic exchanges.

What is the role of the polite formula?

an email is a long-distance conversation between two well-identified people. Just as a speaker shakes hands with his interlocutor at the beginning and end of the exchange, the sender of an email should greet his correspondent at the beginning of his message and bid him farewell with an appropriate form of courtesy. Meanwhile, he will have explained to her the subject of her message, arguing it in clear terms. He will also have specified the type of response or action expected.

The polite formula in an email is revealer of know-how. In front of a hierarchical superior, he also acquires a character of deference that reflects the recognition of his quality and rank. In all cases, the courteous formula predisposes to a better listening and a better receptivity on the part of the addressee. Is it necessary to remember that courtesy in an email also implies quality communication : precise vocabulary, concise text, clear application, impeccable spelling?

Polite expressions should be chosen in accordance with two criteria :

  • The quality of the recipient.
  • The context of the exchange.

If the recipient is not identifiable (this is the case of emails sent to an administration), a mixed call formula is required: “Ma’am, sir”. And to conclude, choose a polite and laconic formula like “Respectfully”, for example.

In the professional context and when the email is addressed to superior, choose a personalized or very deferential appeal formula. Among colleagues, the use of more familiar opening formulas is essential. The choice of the final formula depends on the degree of familiarity between the two colleagues. This can range from “Saludos cordiales”, “Bien cordialmente” to “Bien à toi” or “Amicablement”.

What are the polite formulas in English?

Between friends, starting formulas like “Hello” or “Hello” are essential. In more solemn relationships, it is more advisable to start with a more polite formula such as “Dear”, for example. In any case, it is important to conclude with one of the established formulas such as “A cordial greeting” or “Cordial greetings”.

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