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There are many valedictions one can use to close a letter/email. For example: "Regards", "Best regards", "Kind regards", and so on.

Most of these my eyes just gloss over, and to be frank, I do not even know how to parse something like "Kind regards" (what does it mean for regards to be kind?). Similarly, with just plain old "Regards" (what does it mean to "give regards"? I understand it only in the "unspoken" sense I have picked up from childhood exposure).

Recently, I came across a valediction that I found to be quite meaningful: "Take gentle care". For a variety of reasons, this resonates with me, perhaps the biggest reason being that I would like to wish people that they be kind to themselves, and that I would in a similar spirit, wish to be kind to them.

I wonder however, if it might be too informal for general correspondence?

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    You probably want to specify a country. In the US “Take gentle care” would be seen as strange and probably indicate a foreigner with iffy mastery over the language.
    – mxyzplk
    Feb 11, 2022 at 21:48
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    sounds like a line from one of the spam emails "dear sir / madam kindly im requestimg you " Feb 11, 2022 at 21:54
  • @mxyzplk It's North America: US/Canada. I don't see any grammatical issues (and I am a native speaker).
    – user132868
    Feb 11, 2022 at 22:58
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    Then no, it would come across as weird.
    – mxyzplk
    Feb 11, 2022 at 23:43
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    "I do not even know how to parse something like "Kind regards" " Well, you don't parse it. You just use them the same as everyone else. Some expressions don't make literal sense, and to understand how they came to be used you'd have to unpack a rich etymology. Feb 12, 2022 at 13:55

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No, it is not appropriate.

In a business context I’ve never seen this used, and it would indicate to me that the sender is either foreign or mildly disturbed. “Gentle” is in general a rare word in business circles and can be seen as questionable, especially is sent to a member of the opposite sex.

In general it’s best to use customary salutations and not make up unique ones, unless you are curating a very specific persona and know what you are doing.

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Like mxyzplk, I would also avoid it.

It's not a question of formality. In most Anglophone nations you could probably get away with an informal "Take care" (depending on the organisation), but adding "gentle" will - as you say - stand out. People will wonder why you're doing that, and a genuine desire to wish them well will not be the only answer they consider. And, as opposed to what? Signing a letter "take firm care" might illustrate better how this could come across as odd.

The usual valedictions are useful because people don't think as much about what they might mean. They're less likely to distract people from what's being said in the communication, because they're not unusual.

"Regards", and its variations, have been adopted to express respect, affection, or esteem (definition 2a and the synonyms here) : a less formal variation on traditional valedictions like "yours sincerely" and "yours faithfully".

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  • I always have considered "regards" to be short and clipped, and less respectful than "kind regards". Feb 12, 2022 at 13:55
  • Looks like I underestimated how much people think about the more conventional ones. Edited. Feb 12, 2022 at 15:59
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Look to the people you communicate, and also look to your company for guidance.

Many companies dictate what things go into a signature block. Yes I know that you aren't asking about the signature block, but you are asking about the last few words before the signature block. Look at what you boss and coworkers use.

You are going to find that most people don't notice those last few words; except when they do.

A long time ago there were all sorts of rules depending on the relative levels of the people and the type of business relationship. Today in very formal organizations like the government or the military there can be rules about the closing of the communication. An letter written from an enlisted person to be read by an officer gets a different closing than the message from the base commander to everybody.

Other than that most don't even see the generic closings. We have no idea what they really mean. I don't treat your request any different if the closing is: Regards, TIA, V/R, or thanks.

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I'd leave it out. To me, it reads like 'pidgin' English, and if you are a native speaker, it'll colour people's perceptions of you in a negative way.

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