Thursday, September 10, 2009


Since I've started teaching I always conclude e-mails to my students like this:



(I can't very well put "Love, Adam," can I!) To be honest, I copied this complimentary closing from my grad school professors. My thesis advisor always ended his e-mails this way, as did a lot of other faculty at Georgetown. But here's my question: What does it mean? It must be an abbreviated way of saying, "Best of luck," or "Best Wishes." But I've also thought it might mean, "I'm the best," "Who's the best?" or maybe even "I like you best." (I think I've ruled out "Bestially.") Can anyone help me on this one? How did this start? Or, if you want to play a different game, make up your own interpretation.


  1. Maybe a challenge to do your best? By putting "Best", and then your name, a professor that your students look up to, you are threatening them to do their best in your class simply because you say so... In all likelihood, "Best Wishes" sounds most reasonable, but what the hey. :) Students need some intimidation, right? -Fondly, Katie (That's doesn't sound as weird to me as "love", or does it? Oh well.)

  2. My old boss used to put "Best Regards". I wouldn't be surprised if "best" is short for that. I like "I'm the best" best of your options though. Hilarious!

  3. My interpretation of "Best". I believe it is meant as encouragement and imspirtation, to not only do their best but also achieve their best and that you believe that they are the best therefore they will be and do their very best. Thanks for this motivational moment.
    Love, Mom

  4. I actually use this all the time in writing professional emails. To me it means best of everything to you. (Just fill in the blank for yourself). That way all bases are covered with whatever 'best' thing they might be needing.

  5. I've always been baffled by our arbitrary professional language. I have absolutely refused to every sign my emails with "best." I think it's some sort of rite of passage into the professional world, in which case, I have never arrived. But, I have to admit, it has grown on me a bit.