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Sincerely vs. Faithfully: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 5, 2023
"Sincerely" conveys genuine feelings or honesty, used often in informal communication, while "faithfully" implies loyalty and steadfastness, typically used in formal contexts, especially British English letter closings.

Key Differences

"Sincerely" primarily conveys a sense of genuine emotions and honesty. It is often utilized in various forms of communication to express earnestness and truthfulness. "Faithfully," however, resonates more with a commitment, reliability, or allegiance to someone or something. The terms, while carrying distinct meanings, are frequently encountered in the context of valedictions in letter-writing.
Sincerely is often chosen as a sign-off in correspondence where the sender and receiver are acquainted, reflecting an amicable tone. The word implies that the contents of the message are conveyed with honesty and devoid of deceit. Conversely, "faithfully" is more formal and often employed when the sender and receiver do not share a personal relationship, symbolizing a respectful and loyal tone, particularly in traditional British correspondence.
In American English, "sincerely" is a widely accepted closing for many types of letters, highlighting genuine intent and truthfulness in the communication. “Faithfully,” while understood, is less commonly used in American letter closings but may still appear in certain formal or traditional contexts, emphasizing a consistent, reliable demeanor or approach toward the recipient.
It's crucial to note that "sincerely" is versatile and might appear in various contexts outside of letter-writing, implying genuineness in actions and statements. On the other hand, "faithfully" is somewhat more rigid in usage and is predominantly seen in contexts where loyalty, constancy, and reliability are underscored, such as in a promise or a formal letter.
When addressing correspondence, choosing between "sincerely" and "faithfully" can be dictated by the relationship between the sender and receiver, as well as the cultural norms of the language variant being used (British or American English). Recognizing the subtle distinctions between these two words can enhance the appropriateness and receptiveness of the communication.

Comparison Chart

Primary Meaning

Honesty, genuineness
Loyalty, steadfastness

Common Usage

Informal & Formal (US)
Formal (UK)

Context Outside Letters

General communication
Often limited to commitments


Friendly, direct
Respectful, devoted

Cultural Preference

Preferred in US
Traditional in UK

Sincerely and Faithfully Definitions


With a genuine, earnest manner.
She spoke sincerely about her experiences.


With steadfast allegiance or loyalty.
He served faithfully in the army.


Honest and free from deceit.
He expressed his concerns sincerely.


A conventional closing in formal UK letters.
Yours faithfully, [Your Name].


A common closing in correspondence.
Yours sincerely, [Your Name].


In a reliable and consistent manner.
She attended the classes faithfully.


Truly, with heartfelt honesty.
I am sincerely happy for you.


Accurate, without deviation.
The movie followed the book faithfully.


Without pretense, genuinely.
She sincerely apologized for her mistake.


With unswerving adherence to a person or cause.
They faithfully supported the campaign.


Not feigned or affected; genuine
Sincere indignation.


Adhering firmly and devotedly, as to a person, cause, or idea; loyal.


Being without hypocrisy or pretense; true
A sincere friend.


Responsible; conscientious
The faithful discharge of his duties.


(Archaic) Pure; unadulterated.


Dependable; reliable
The faithful engine started right up.


Is “sincerely” formal or informal?

"Sincerely" is used in both formal and informal contexts, especially in the US.

Is “faithfully” common in US correspondence?

No, "faithfully" is less common in the US and is traditionally used in UK formal letters.

Is “faithfully” a reflection of loyalty?

Yes, "faithfully" generally conveys loyalty and steadfastness.

Can “sincerely” indicate emotional honesty?

Yes, "sincerely" can convey emotional honesty and genuineness in communication.

Should “faithfully” be used when writing to a person I don’t know?

Traditionally in the UK, "faithfully" is used in formal correspondence to unknown individuals.

Can I use “sincerely” to close an email to a friend?

Yes, "sincerely" can be used to close emails to friends due to its genuine tone.

Can “sincerely” express authenticity in spoken language?

Absolutely, "sincerely" can express authenticity and earnestness in speech.

Can “faithfully” be used to describe consistent action?

Yes, "faithfully" can describe consistent, unswerving actions or behaviors.

Can “faithfully” be used in non-religious contexts?

Absolutely, "faithfully" can be used in various contexts to imply loyalty and consistency.

What’s a scenario where “sincerely” might not be appropriate?

"Sincerely" might be less fitting in very casual or intimate conversations due to its formality.

Is it correct to use “sincerely” in official documents?

Yes, "sincerely" is often used to close official documents in the US.

Can “faithfully” be associated with religious contexts?

While not exclusive to religious contexts, "faithfully" can be used to describe devout allegiance.

Is “sincerely” suitable for ending a letter to a client?

Yes, "sincerely" is suitable and commonly used to conclude letters to clients.

How does “sincerely” convey a sense of honesty?

"Sincerely" implies that the sender is communicating without deceit or pretense.

Is “faithfully” widely used in modern communication?

"Faithfully" is less prevalent in modern, especially digital, communication but still used in formal letters.

Can “faithfully” be perceived as overly formal in certain contexts?

Yes, "faithfully" may be seen as overly formal, especially in casual or personal communication.

How does “sincerely” enhance the politeness of a message?

"Sincerely" provides a warm and genuine tone, making the message seem considerate and polite.

When is it most appropriate to use “faithfully” in correspondence?

"Faithfully" is most appropriate in formal correspondence, especially when the recipient is not personally known.

Does “sincerely” convey a sense of friendliness?

Yes, "sincerely" is often perceived as friendly due to its genuine and honest tone.

Does “faithfully” communicate respect towards the recipient?

Yes, "faithfully" can communicate respect and formality towards the letter’s recipient.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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