This article includes every bit of information you ever wanted about business letters.

  • What is a business letter?

When one enters a profession, one has to write dozens of letters everyday as part of his routine work. Among of these will be written to persons one has never met and perhaps one can never hope to meet. One will be writing letters to firms and companies, customers, suppliers, government offices, employees, etc. such letters are called business letters.

  • What is the structure of a business letter?

           A business letter is properly structured in form. Just as the “apparel often proclaims the man”, the appearance of a letter often reveals the character of the writer and the organisation he belongs to. The following elements usually constitute the structure of a business letter.

  1. Heading: it contains the name, the address and the telephone no. of the organisation.
  2. Date: the date, the month and the year should be indicated properly.
  3. Reference: it is an optional element.
  4. Inside address: it includes the full address of the person to ensure prompt attention.
  5. Salutations: it is like greeting someone.
  6. Subject: the purpose of the subject line is to let the reader know immediately what the
  7. Body: the body of the letter conveys the message to the reader and convinces him to respond suitably.
  8. Complimentary close: it is a polite way of ending a letter.
  9. Signature: it includes the signed name of the writer.
  10. Identification marks: these marks are put to identify the typist of the letter.
  11. Enclosure: it is something attached to the letter.
  • What are the different styles of business letter formatting?

The various styles of business letter formatting are:

  1. 1.The indented style: it is perhaps the oldest forms of business it each new element is indented two to four spaces.
  2. 2.Block style: in this style the date line, the complimentary close, and the signature are aligned with the left margin.
  3. 3.Complete block style: all parts of the letter except the printed letter head, are aligned with the left margin.
  4. 4.Semi block style: this is like the block style except the paragraph of the letter is indented.
  5. 5.Hanging indented style: this is like the block style except that the first line of each paragraph is aligned with the left margin whereas, all other lines in each paragraph are indented four or five spaces.
  • What should be style and tone of business letter?

Effective business letters are characterized by appropriate style and tone. An effective style involves.

  1. 1.Courtesy and consideration: it always pays to be courteous in business. Courtesy soften the sting of an unpleasant piece of information, creates goodwill, and produces a favourable response. Not only this, consideration for the reader’s interests, needs and desires must also be realized.
  2. 2.Directness and conciseness: the letters writer should transmit maximum information by using a minimum of words in a straight forward manner. The writer should avoid verbosity.
  3. 3.Clarity and precision: a simple expression and clear thinking are the how most important virtues of effective writing. A business letter should be written in a clear and plain style. The reader should have no difficulty in understanding the writer.

Hope this article helps you write business letters more efficiently.


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