Okay, here is my dilemma. It’s actually a dilemma I’ve had for some time, but changing circumstances over the last few years have made it more and more problematic.
In the United States, the proper valediction for a written social communication is “Sincerely yours” or “Yours sincerely.” Since sometimes it’s necessary to live dangerously, you can add “very” before “sincerely.”
All right so far.
The proper valediction for a written business communication to a person whose name you know is “Truly yours” or “Yours truly.” Since sometimes it’s necessary to live dangerously, you can add “very” before “truly.”
But here’s where the problem comes in.
The proper valediction for a business communication to a person whose name you don’t know (e.g. “To Whom It May Concern,” “Dear Sir or Madam,” etc.) is “Faithfully yours.” I’ve never even tried to figure out whether you can put a “very” in that one too, because, given the political climate these days, I can’t close an e-mail “Faithfully yours” or the recipient will assume I am a crazy fundamentalist Christian just waiting for God to rapture me away from all this, and will not bother responding.
At the same time, I feel really weird closing e-mails with anything else when there is a very clear correct choice.
I suppose I could just never write to anybody whose name I don’t know, but I suspect that in the end the drawbacks of such a course of action might prove prohibitive.
Maybe I should just switch to “I beg to remain your most humble and obedient servant.”