There are few things more subtly stress-inducing than writing an email. And if you’re trying to write one in a language that isn’t your own, don’t be surprised if the nerve-wracking nature of the challenge leaves you curled up in a ball under your desk, praying for the robot takeover. Because then at least this email could write itself.
To make your life a little easier, here are some of the most common email sign-offs used in France, from the ultra-casual to the uber-professional.
1. Cordialement — Even though the translation, “Cordially,” would be extremely formal in English, this is perhaps the most common sign-off in French emails; it really has an absence of connotation.
Use for: submitting a job application, making HR aware of an official complaint, or asking your professor for a letter of recommendation.
2. Très cordialement — This is the more formal version of Cordialement. If you feel like covering all your bases you can use this version in pretty much the same way.
3. Bien cordialement — Like Cordialement, but a bit warmer (say, if you’ve been interacting with the same person multiple times).
Use for: finally getting that freelancer to send you the new website specs.
4. Respectueusement — “Respectfully.” Can be used the same way as Très cordialement.
5 & 6. Amicalement / Affecteusement — For acquaintances or older friends, the kind of people you want to keep at an arm’s length, or people you haven’t heard from in a long time.
Use for: inviting your neighbors to a block party.
7. Sincères salutations — For when you don’t know the recipient personally, but have been emailing back and forth for a bit.
Use for: When you’re coordinating things for a project or event with someone in another department.
8 & 9. Bisous / Gros bisous — Meaning “kisses,” this familiar sign off is used for close friends and family.
Use for: Emailing your mom to tell her you finally submitted your taxes.
10. Je t’embrasse — This translates more or less to “lots of hugs.”
Use for: a letter to your grandma, uncle, or other extended family member
11. Bises — The email equivalent of the in-person cheek kiss.
Use for: inviting a second-tier friend out for drinks this weekend.
12. A+ — The diminutive of A plus tard or “See you later.” Extremely casual.
Use for: after sending an invitation to drinks in the form of a meme.
13. À bientôt — “See you soon.” Good for planning emails that will result in some kind of face-to-face encounter.
Use for: a group email discussing a surprise party for your boyfriend.
14 & 15. À demain / À la semaine prochaine — See you tomorrow/See you next week. Same as À bientôt, but with a specific date in mind.
Use for: finally nailing down that long-awaited rendezvous with your cousin who’s in town for the weekend.
16. En vous remerciant de l’attention que vous porterez à ma demande. — “Thank you for bringing your attention to my request.” It doesn’t translate very well into English, but the sentiment is clear: formal, formal, formal.
Use for: emailing the CEO of your company.
17. Veuillez agréer, Madame/Monsieur, l’expression de mes sentiments distingués. — “Accept, Sir/Madam, the expression of my distinguished feelings.” This one can be mixed and matched, like in the following examples (which all pretty much mean the same thing):
18. Veuillez agréer Madame/Monsieur, l’expression de mes sincères salutations.
19. Veuillez recevoir, Monsieur/Madame, mes sentiments respectueux et dévoués.
20. Je vous prie d’agréer, Madame/Monsieur, mes sincères salutations.
21. Je vous prie d’agréer, Monsieur/Madame, l’expression de mes salutations distinguées.
22. Avec mes remerciements, je vous prie de trouver ici, Madame/Monsieur, l’expression de mes sentiments distingués. (This one adds an extra “thank you” at the beginning for some extra respect points.)
23. If you’re waiting on a response from someone in a formal situation, you can add “waiting for your response” to the beginning of one of these expressions: Dans l’attente de votre réponse, je vous prie d’agréer, Monsieur/Madame, mes salutations distinguées.