With best wishes, warm regards, and many thanks,

2008.11.12 - The letter by a.drianWhether you’re concluding a business letter or signing off an e-mail, you most likely end the correspondence you send with a closing of some kind.

Depending on the context of the note you’re sending—and your relationship to the recipient—you’ll either sign off formally or informally. And sometimes it’s not very clear how you should end a letter or e-mail. Many people struggle with closings, and some opt to take the easy way out and just sign their name, no closing at all.

Well, for those of us who like to go out with a little flair, I’ve compiled a list of closings, from the conventional to the cheeky:

Best regards
All best
Best wishes
Warm regards

Yours truly
Take care
Thank you
Many thanks

With love

Peace out
Rock on
Later gator
Smell ya later
Over and out

Feel free to add your favorite closings in the comments section.

Until next time,

Fixes for your prefixes

Prefixes are letters or groups of letters put at the beginning of a word to make a new word. Some of the most common include a-, anti-, co-, dis-, ex-, extra-, pre-, pro-, re-, semi-, and un-.

Prefixes have the power to transform us from happy to unhappy, from believing to disbelieving, from terrestrial to extraterrestrial in just a few strokes of the keyboard. So let’s make sure we’re using them correctly.

In general, do not hyphenate when using a prefix with a word starting with a consonant.

However, hyphenate after a prefix to avoid duplicated vowels.

(In this case, the hyphens aren’t always necessary; it’s really a style thing.)

Hyphenate when the word that follows a prefix is capitalized.
pre-Vatican II

Hyphenate after a prefix to clarify meaning.
I recovered my keys in the backyard.
I re-covered my pool in the backyard.

When in doubt, always consult a dictionary or your style guide.

This post is the bee’s knees

The Bee's Knees by innpictime (suddenly preoccupied)Idiom (noun): An expression whose meanings cannot be inferred from the meanings of the words that make it up

Idioms. We all use them. We all know what they mean. But do we know where these far-out phrases came from? I decided to find out. Here are a few of my favorite idioms and their origins:

The bee’s knees: excellent
American, circa 1920.
There’s no definitive origin for this one. Some ascribe it to the fact that bees carry their valuable pollen in sacks on their legs. Others believe it came from world-renowned Charleston dancer Bee Jackson.

Three sheets to the wind: drunk
British, circa 1820.
Nautical. On ships, “sheets” are the ropes that hold the sails in place. If three sheets are loose, then the sails will blow haphazardly, and the ship will stagger like a drunk.

Down to the wire: until the last possible moment
American, late 1800s.
From the sport of horse racing, in which close races were determined by a wire strung across the track above the finish line.

Long in the tooth: old
British, circa 1850.
Another phrase with equine origins. Apparently, horses’ teeth grow with age.

Raining cats and dogs: raining very heavily
British, circa 1700.
This one is gross: When it rained heavily in jolly old England, dead animals would wash down the streets with other garbage.

The whole nine yards: all of something
American, circa 1964.
There are a lot of conflicting origins for this phrase, but most folks believe that it came out of the American military. Other proposed sources: It comes from the 9-cubic-yard capacity of concrete trucks and it was a medieval test requiring a person to walk nine paces over hot coals.

Sources: Webster’s New World College Dictionary, www.phrases.org.uk, www.thefreedictionary.com, www.goenglish.com, www.wikipedia.org