The Usage of V/r in Letters and Emails — In-depth Guide (2023)

We do know that abbreviations generally make writing and speaking more convenient and efficient, at least for those who are highly knowledgeable on these linguistic codes.

However, certain abbreviations may also alienate or isolate unfamiliar audiences, especially when used inappropriately, excessively, and indiscriminately.

One of these quite elusive, not to mention divisive, abbreviations is “V/r” – a piece of jargonic terminology that is mainly used by the military speech community.

To make communication more inclusive and less ambiguous, our post today covers the usage of “V/r,” particularly in the context of military correspondence.

Let’s start with its meaning.

What is the meaning of “V/r”?

“V/r” is a complimentary closing remark that stands for “Very respectfully.” It is often written with a capital “V,” followed by a forward slash, and a small letter “r.” “V/r” is mainly used by members of the military community in corresponding with people having similar or higher-level ranks.

Language is inherently ambiguous, and it is up to us, humans, how to use it appropriately in context to avoid or at least reduce chances of miscommunication.

Without the forward slash, the abbreviation “VR” could mean a whole heap of expressions, like “virtual reality,” “verification report,” “vibrant response,” or even “vertical resolution.”

With the presence of the forward slash after the uppercase letter “V,” we can limit the meaning of “V/r” within the context of military correspondence, especially in the USA.

Mainly used by members of military communities, “V/r” stands for “Very respectfully,” which is a complimentary closing or valediction remark used in formally corresponding with similar or higher-level officials.

Formal correspondence means the exchange, for instance, of endorsement letters, memoranda, directives, and orders within the military space.

As language is a dynamic and arbitrary entity, it constantly evolves and thrives along with civilization; this assertion could explain why you may have reached our site to seek some information regarding the use of “V/r.”.

By extension, certain words and other textual symbols that are supposed to be limited to specific language communities eventually reach the general population; this also explains why you may have encountered “V/r” in your readings.

Perhaps, your unfamiliarity or non-exposure with military-related jargonic terms has naturally caused you some degree of confusion and curiosity.

To understand more about the military complimentary closing remark “V/r,” let us also tackle its actual usages in correspondence, such as letters and emails.

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The next section discusses these things in detail.

The Usage of “V/r” in utmost detail

Military correspondence entails exchanging extremely vital and “classified” information, thereby not only prompting but also justifying the use of coded expressions in the process.

Also, being a member of the military entails knowing the specific ranking and naming systems that have already been established in each of the military branches, such as the army, navy, and air force.

The goal of this section is to recommend not to aimlessly use the abbreviated form “V/r” in ordinary business correspondence, such as emailing reports, updates, and inquiries to your colleagues.

As “V/r” is not regularly used in general business communications, it is best to reserve this abbreviation as your complimentary closing remark in communicating with specific groups of people.

“V/r” in Military Letters and Emails

“V/r” or “Very respectfully” is used to “acknowledge position,” hence considered an honorific marker or expression particularly within the military context.

By and large, the closing remark “Very respectfully” or “V/r” is used for letters and emails that are directed to senior members of the military, as well as those with similar ranks.

Meanwhile, the forward slash and the lowercase “r,” which stands for “respectfully,” is typically used when communicating with lower-rank members.

Use “V/r” for letters and emails for similar ranks and senior members

The system of military hierarchy is used to define and represent military personnel’s level of expertise, authority, insignia, and pay grade in the field.

Therefore, military ranks are pivotal in establishing and sustaining responsibility, respect, peace, and order within its members, as well as with other related organizations.

In a nutshell, expressions that mark military ranks such as “V/r” are essential because the military, together with the policy makers, are responsible for national security — one of the toughest jobs in the world.

“V/r” or “Very respectfully” may also be written in both uppercase letters as in “V/R;”

Alternatively, it may also be used without the forward slash at all or “VR,” again, within the military space.

The difference between using “Very respectfully” and “respectfully” may not necessarily make deep sense for the general public.

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However, improperly using one over the other, particularly “/r” instead of “V/r,” may come across as offensive or impolite in military correspondence.

So, knowing the rank of the person you are corresponding with is precursory in being able to determine the appropriate closing remark to be used.

The highest military rank is “O-10,” and it represents the meaning “five-star general.” The terms “General” and “Admiral” are used to represent this rank in the military.

Meanwhile, the lowest military rank is “E-1,” which is known as “Private” in the army, “Seaman Recruit” in the navy, and “Airman Basic” in the air force.

Because E-1 is the lowest rank, all Privates, Seaman Recruits, and Airman Basics are generally expected to use “V/r” or the spelled-out form “Very respectfully” in communicating with everyone in the field.

There are numerous ranks in the military, so it is normal not to recognize specific ranks if and when you are not associated with anyone who belongs to the military realm.

But, do not worry because a quick online search will solve your concern in case you might have to choose the appropriate closing remark in one of your future correspondences.

When in doubt, you can always stick with using either “V/r” or “Very respectfully” in your letters and emails that are directed to any members of the military, particularly when you are not a member of the group yourself.

However, you have to use the complete or spelled-out form “Very respectfully” and avoid the abbreviated version “V/r” when communicating outside the military domain.

Use “/r” for letters and emails for lower ranks and junior members

Relatively more casual than “V/r,” “/r” is a complimentary closing remark used by higher-ranking members in corresponding with anyone who relatively ranks lower.

The closing remark “respectfully,” which can be abbreviated by writing or typing the forward slash and the lowercase “/r,” is considered relatively less formal than “V/r” but still professional.

The forward slash in both “/r” and “V/r” is mainly used to distinguish these closing remarks from other abbreviations represented by the adjacent placement of “V” and “R.”

Without the forward slash, readers might interpret “VR” as an abbreviation for “virtual reality” or “vertical resolution,” which are terms used in technology-related contexts.

Moreover, the lowercase “r” is deliberately used to represent the word “respectfully” which is normally written in lowercase in the closing remark “Very respectfully”; this is also done to mark the lower rank of the target addressee.

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In the army, for example, a captain may use “/r” as a closing remark in his or her letters and emails intended for the first and second lieutenants, as well as all other lower-rank members.

And in the navy, the admiral may use “/r” with his or her signature when corresponding with the vice and rear admirals because of their relatively lower rankings.

Even if this is the case, it is worthy to note that “Respectfully” and its other related variations like “Yours respectfully” or “Respectfully yours” still bear formal and professional connotations in general correspondence.

So, if you are supposed to write a memorandum, a reminder, or a confirmatory email to your boss and colleagues who are not in the military, using the spelled-out form “Respectfully” will not be offensive at all.

However, it is also important to note that using the abbreviated form “/r” may cause confusion to your addressee if he or she is not familiar with military jargon.

So, the safest option for any type of general correspondence is to spell out the word “Respectfully” followed by a comma in your complimentary closing remark.

Alternatively, you may also use conventional remarks like “Kind regards” or “Warmest regards” in business correspondence to be understood better.

Knowing when to appropriately use “V/r”

As discussed, “V/r” is an expression that is commonly used within the context of military-related communication.

For this, we must not randomly and conveniently use “V/r” in just any kind of correspondence because doing so may create confusion, misinterpretation, and miscommunication.

Unless you are corresponding within the military space, or you know that your recipient is either a current or former military member, you must avoid using “V/r” at all costs.

More specifically, you should not use “V/r” as your email or letter closing remark in general resignation or recommendation letters to prevent ambiguity.

Do not use “V/r” in emailing daily, weekly, and monthly reports to your boss, too, to avoid conceptions of using language in a “pretentious” or “highfalutin” manner.

Pretentious language use means the deliberate or conscious application of language in writing and speaking to be regarded as more elite, impressive, or successful than the general population.

This form of language causes the exclusion and isolation of information, which is downright disadvantageous to the welfare of the public.

Instead, it is recommended that you write the complete form of “V/r” which is “Very respectfully” or its variations like “Respectfully” or “Yours respectfully” in your usual emails and letters.

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Frequently Asked Questions on “The Usage of ‘V/r’”

What is “V/r” or “V/R” in a signature?

“V/r” or “V/R” is a complimentary closing or valediction remark used with the author’s signature to abbreviate “Very respectfully.” These abbreviations are particularly used when communicating with higher or similar-ranking military members.

What does “V/r” mean in the military?

In the context of military correspondence, “V/r” is used by members who need to write letters and emails to people with relatively higher-level positions. It may also be used to correspond with people who have similar ranks but not for addressees with lower ranks.

How can we use “V/r” in an email?

We can use the abbreviated form “V/r” to end emails that are particularly exchanged within the military space. In general correspondence, though, the spelled-out form “Very respectfully” is highly recommended to prevent ambiguity and misinterpretation.


Abbreviations are not only common in the military field because abbreviations are also common in job advertisements and many other contexts that entail convenient communication.

Since this linguistic event typically occurs, we must be careful not to haphazardly use abbreviated codes for the sake of sounding more professional and intelligent than the rest of the population.

Instead, the overall context must be keenly considered to avoid causing unnecessary ambiguity that may inadvertently create further concerns.

At the end of the day, clear or intelligible language is still key in healthy information production and consumption.

The Usage of V/r in Letters and Emails — In-depth Guide (4)

Marcel Iseli

Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.

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