Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Business Letters

A business letter is more formal than a personal letter. It should have a margin of at least one inch on all four edges. It is always written on 8½"x11" (or metric equivalent) unlined stationery. There are six parts to a business letter.

Simple business letter

1. The Heading. This contains the return address (usually two or three lines) with the date on the last line. 

Sometimes it may be necessary to include a line after the address and before the date for a phone number, fax number, E-mail address, or something similar.

Often a line is skipped between the address and date. That should always be done if the heading is next to the left margin. (See Business Letter Styles.)

It is not necessary to type the return address if you are using stationery with the return address already imprinted. Always include the date.

2. The Inside Address. This is the address you are sending your letter to. Make it as complete as possible. Include titles and names if you know them.

This is always on the left margin. If an 8½" x 11" paper is folded in thirds to fit in a standard 9" business envelope, the inside address can appear through the window in the envelope.

An inside address also helps the recipient route the letter properly and can help should the envelope be damaged and the address becomes unreadable.

Skip a line after the heading before the inside address. Skip another line after the inside address before the greeting.

3. The Greeting. Also called the salutation. The greeting in a business letter is always formal. It normally begins with the word "Dear" and always includes the person's last name.

It normally has a title. Use a first name only if the title is unclear--for example, you are writing to someone named "Leslie," but do not know whether the person is male or female. For more on the form of titles, see Titles with Names.

The greeting in a business letter always ends in a colon. (You know you are in trouble if you get a letter from a boyfriend or girlfriend and the greeting ends in a colon--it is not going to be friendly.)

4. The Body. The body is written as text. A business letter is never handwritten. Depending on the letter style you choose, paragraphs may be indented. Regardless of format, skip a line between paragraphs.

Skip a line between the greeting and the body. Skip a line between the body and the close.

5. The Complimentary Close. This short, polite closing ends with a comma. It is either at the left margin or its left edge is in the center, depending on the Business Letter Style that you use. It begins in the same column the heading does.

The block style is becoming more widely used because there is no indenting to bother with in the whole letter.

6. The Signature Line. Skip two lines (unless you have unusually wide or narrow lines) and type out the name to be signed. This customarily includes a middle initial but does not have to. Women may indicate how they wish to be addressed by placing Miss, Mrs., Ms. or similar title in parentheses before their name.

The signature line may include a second line for a title, if appropriate. The term "By direction" in the second line means that a superior is authorizing the signer.

The signature should start directly above the first letter of the signature line in the space between the close and the signature line. Use blue or black ink.

Business letters should not contain postscripts.

Some organizations and companies may have formats that vary slightly.

Modern Business letter

1. Letter Heading: The heading of a business letter contains the name of the enterprise, address, phone number, email number and other information of the communication or sender at the top of the letter, which may be left or right justified or centred at the top of the pages.

Sample of the letter heading

2. Date or Dateline: Generally, the date line appears at the right or left side below the sender’s address. This usually typed in one of two ways: (Begin with the day, no comma) December 15, 2013 or, (Begin with the month; use a comma) December 15, 2013

3. References: References number is written at the left portion of the letter in between the heading and the inside address.
Sample of the letter References

4. Inside or Recipient’s address: Recipient’s address includes the full address of the receiver or receiving organization to which the letter is directed. Write complete name, title and address of the recipient.

5. Subject heading: Subject heading gives a brief indication of the contents of the letter. It is generally placed below the inside address.

6. Salutation: The salutation is under the subject headline. Mr. Mrs. Ms. Sir, Madam, Dear sir, Dear Madam, Dear Mr. X etcare used as a salutation. If you do not know the recipient’s name, it is fine to use the salutation, “To Whom it May Concern”.

7. The body of the letter: The most important part of the letter is the body which contains the message or information that the sender wants to convey. The body of the letter should be formally written. Business people are busy and do not have time to read long letters. In a one-page letter, it will usually only need three or four paragraphs, single spaced. Use a double space in between paragraphs. The closing paragraph should summarize what was previously stated throughout the letter.

8. Complimentary close: To close the letter, insert a phrase such as “sincerely” or “Thank you” or “Yours faithfully” or “Best regards”, “followed by a comma. The most common closing is “Sincerely. “Insert four lines between the closing and sender’s name. This space will be used for your signature once the letter is printed. Sign the name in the space above your name.
Sample of the letter Complementary close

9. Enclosure: To enclosing additional information with the letter such as a resume or curriculum vitae, Skip two single lines after your typed name and type “Enclosure” or “Enclosures.” If you the plural, you have the option of stating the number of enclosures.

10. Copy circulated: When a copy a copy of a letter is to be sent to a third party, it is indicated with the term copy circulated (CC) 

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