Difference Between Sincerely and Faithfully

Main Difference – Sincerely vs Faithfully

Sincerely and faithfully are two adverbs that are often used as complimentary endings in formal letters or emails. In formal letters, sincerely is used at the end, if the recipient is known and addressed by the name. Faithfully is used if the name of the recipient is not known. This is the main difference between sincerely and faithfully.

Difference Between Sincerely and Faithfully -infographic

Sincerely – Meaning and Usage

Sincerely is an adverb that means in a sincere or genuine way. Sincerely is often used at the end of letters as ‘yours sincerely’ or ‘sincerely yours’. Sincerely is used in this manner only when the name of the recipient of the letter is known. That is, if you start the letter by addressing the recipient by his or her name, you can use sincerely at the end of the letter. It is used when the letter starts with salutations like Dear Mr./Ms./Mrs./Miss. etc. followed by the name of the person.

Opening: Dear Michael

Closing: Yours sincerely

Opening: Dear Michael Anderson

Closing: Yours sincerely

Opening: Dear Mr. Anderson

Closing: Yours sincerely

In the USA, yours sincerely is phrased as sincerely yours. It is important to note that this expression can be used in both formal letters and informal letters.

Difference Between Sincerely and Faithfully

Faithfully – Meaning and Usage

Faithfully is another word that is used commonly in formal emails and letters. Faithfully is an adverb that implies loyalty. The expression yours faithfully is used at end of formal letters, when the name of the recipient of not known.

When the name of the recipient is not known, the letter will be addressed as

To whom it may concern,

Dear sir/madam,

Dear HR Manager/ Dear Managing Director, etc.

According to the Cambridge Guide to English Usage, yours faithfully is used when the writer wants to maintain a formal distance from the recipient and to emphasize that the correspondence is a matter of duty. Moreover, Yours faithfully is only used in formal letters and this usage is declining gradually.

Main Difference - Sincerely vs Faithfully

Difference Between Sincerely and Faithfully


Sincerely means in a sincere and genuine manner.

Faithfully means in a loyal manner.

Type of Letter

Sincerely can be used in both formal and informal letters.

Faithfully is mainly used in formal letters.


Sincerely is used when the recipient is known.

Faithfully is used when the recipient is unknown.


Sincerely is considered to be more informal and friendly than faithfully.

Faithfully is considered to be very formal.


Sincerely is commonly used in letters and emails.

Faithfully is less commonly used.


Peters, Pam. The Cambridge guide to English usage. Ernst Klett Sprachen, 2004.

Image Courtesy:

“sincerely?” by tadekk  via

“Sutherland Constabulary – Special Constable award” by Dave Conner  via

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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