Proper Etiquette for Signing Thank You & Sympathy Cards

by Damin Chu

Writing thank you and sympathy cards can be a deeply personal matter. The way that you sign your name at the end of a card is an important element of the message you’re sending. Each card will be different according to the situation, and indicates your relationship to the individual you’re addressing.

Thank You Cards

Thank you cards can be formal or informal depending on the person you are writing to and the occasion referred to in the card. Assess the situation based on your relationship to the person, and decide how to sign the card accordingly. If you’re thanking a business acquaintance who gave you a house-warming gift or your parent’s friends who gave you a wedding gift, sign the card “sincerely” or “best wishes.” For a person you know a little better, you can sign it “warm regards.” When sending a card to a loved one, whether it be a close friend or family member, sign it “love” or “with love.”

Sympathy Cards

Sympathy cards are sent after a person has passed away and are a kind way of expressing support. It is polite to sign a sympathy card with a simple, yet thoughtful signature. “With deepest sympathy” or “with heartfelt condolences” are two traditional, respectful signatures. You can also sign it, “I am sorry for your loss.” If you are sending the card on behalf of your entire family, sign the card with “our deepest sympathy.” Sign the message with your full name to avoid confusion, in case the individual you are addressing receives a lot of sympathy cards.

Sympathy cards are always best handwritten, but if you need to type the card out, always sign the bottom with your actual signature.

Order of Names

If you are signing your card on behalf of your family, there are a number of ways to order the names. The standard way of ordering names is to put the husband’s name, then the wife’s name, and followed by the names of the children from oldest to youngest. It is also acceptable to sign your name first if you are the author of the card, and then continue with the standard order of names.

Photo Credits

  • Pamela Follett/Demand Media

About the Author

Damin Chu is a freelance writer, whose writing has taken her down a number of avenues. In 2008, she returned from Shanghai, China, where she served as the managing editor of a China travel guide, in addition to writing travel features for the local newspaper. Her other projects have included writing for a Shanghai expat guide, a education documentary, and an environmental NGO.