Languages › French Here's How You Close a French Business Letter Correctly In French commercial correspondence, the more polite you are, the better Share Flipboard Email Print The sign off in a French business letter is extremely important. Sasha Bell/Getty Images French Vocabulary Pronunciation & Conversation Grammar Resources For Teachers By Laura K. Lawless Updated February 28, 2020 In French business letters, called correspondance commerciale, it's best to be as polite and formal as possible. This means you will choose a complimentary close that sounds professional, that is polite and formal, and one that suits the subject at hand — whether, for instance, it's a business transaction or a job-related letter. These qualities should hold true for the entire letter, from top to bottom. French Business Letter Format The date of writing The address of the recipient The salutation, or greeting The body of the letter, always written in the more formal plural you (vous) A polite pre-close (optional) The close and the signature If the writer is writing on his or her own behalf, then the letter can be written in the first person singular (je). If the writer is composing the letter on behalf of a company, everything should be expressed in the first person plural (nous). Of course, verb conjugations should match the pronoun that's used. Whether a woman or man is writing, the adjectives should agree in gender and number. The Pre-Close After the body of the letter, you can insert a pre-close phrase, which adds a further note of formality to the close. A pre-close would launch your closing sentence with a dependent clause something like this: "En vous remerciant de la confiance que vous me témoignez, je..." What follows is the correct close for your circumstances from the list below. The Close The French close a business letter with a full sentence that ends in a period. There is no precise equivalent in English-language business letters, which would typically end with "Sincerely" or some variation, such as "Respectfully yours" (very formal), "Yours (very) truly" (formal), to "Cordially" or "With Warm Regards" (almost casual). In the UK, the formal option might be "Yours faithfully." The French close can sound a little grandiose to English speakers. But avoid this French formula and you risk offending your French recipient. So take care to learn the formula. Look at the Close Options in the table below the salutations. After the verb or verb phrase, there is room for an expression between two commas. This should include the same words you used in the salutation. Typical French Salutations Monsieur, Madame To whom it may concern Messieurs Dear Sirs Monsieur Dear Sir Madame Dear Madam Mademoiselle Dear Miss Monsieur le Directeur Dear Director Monsieur le Ministre Dear Minister Monsieur/Madame le* Professeur Dear Professor Cher/Chère + salutation Used only if you know the person that you are writing to French Close Options These comprise the closing formula. Choose from the options, which are listed from most formal to least formal. You must choose an option from Columns A and C. Column B is optional. Leaving it out will make the formula less formal. If you leave it out, you must drop the à at the end of some Column A phrases. Column A Column B Column C Je vous prie d'agréer, ..., Je vous prie d'accepter, ..., Je vous prie de croire, ..., à Veuillez agréer, ..., Veuillez croire, ..., à Agréez, ...., Croyez, ..., à l'assurance de l'expression de ma considération distinguée. mes salutations distinguées. mes sentiments distingués. mes sentiments respectueux. mes sentiments dévoués. mes sincères salutations. mes respectueux hommages. mes cordiales salutations. mes sentiments les meilleurs. mon meilleur souvenir. Je vous adresse, ..., (skip) mon bon souvenir. Recevez, ..., (skip) mon fidèle souvenir. Column C Notes A man should never use "sentiments" when writing to a woman. "mes respectueux hommages" should only be used by a man writing to a woman. The uses of "souvenir" are quite informal. Use them carefully. Compare these to what you would use in personal correspondence. Sample Pre-Close and Close "En vous remerciant de la confiance que vous me témoignez (pre-close), je vous prie d'agréer, Monsieur Untel, l'assurance de ma considération distinguée (close)." Note that "Monsieur Untel" is exactly the same as the salutation (greeting) at the top of the sample French business letter. Cite this Article Format mla apa chicago Your Citation Lawless, Laura K. "Here's How You Close a French Business Letter Correctly." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/french-business-letters-4058493. Lawless, Laura K. (2020, August 27). Here's How You Close a French Business Letter Correctly. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/french-business-letters-4058493 Lawless, Laura K. "Here's How You Close a French Business Letter Correctly." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/french-business-letters-4058493 (accessed April 21, 2021). copy citation Writing a Business Letter in French Elements of a Good French Business Letter Writing Informal Letters in French How to Say Goodbye in French How to Ask 'How Are You' in French How to Extend (or Decline) an Invitation in French Showing Gratitude in French Introduction to the French Past Infinitive Saying Hello in French How to Conjugate the Irregular French Verb 'Permettre' ('to Allow,' 'Permit') Expressing Opinions in French How to Use "Est-ce Que" to Ask Questions in French French Subject Pronouns (Pronoms sujets) How to Translate the French Expression 'De Rien' How to Use the French Adverb 'Enfin' ('At Last, Finally') How to Conjugate the French Stem-Changing Verb 'Épeler'