Last week, a friend (Eric Rasmusen) sent an email asking what I thought of I.H.S.—short for In His Service—as the valediction for email messages. I love the reminder of who our Master is, although I.H.S. makes me think of British royalty and British naval ships, perhaps because my wife and I just saw The King’s Speech.
I personally am partial to “All Best.” I saw it first in a letter from a poetry magazine editor many years ago, and thought it looked odd. So I of course soon started using it myself. If the correspondence concerns spiritual matters, I sometimes sign off with “Blessings.” If neither seems appropriate— after all, “All Best” sounds a little like “have a nice day”—I sometimes omit the valediction.
I prefer all of these approaches to the increasingly common strategy of omitting any sign-off, and simply relying on the contact information that’s automatically included at the bottom of the email. With someone I don’t know well, this invariably leaves me wondering whether I should use their first name or last, and whether it’s Bob rather than Robert, or Lisa rather than Elizabeth.