English Grammar Blog
Writing Business Letters
Business letters need to be straightforward, concise and polite. A single-spaced typewritten letter is preferred because business people are always busy and need to comprehend what you are saying in as short a time as possible. Because it is short, special attention should be provided for various things such as grammar, format, openings, closings, and punctuation. It is also not advisable to experiment on various writing styles and fancy fonts.
The two most common styles for business letters are the full block style and the modified block style. In the full block style, all of the elements are aligned on the left margin. For the modified block style, the return address, signature, closing, date and typed name are aligned down the middle of the page, while the rest of the elements have to be aligned on the left margin.
The first element of a business letter is the return address, which is the address of your company. However, there is no need to include this if you are using a preprinted form. The next element is the date, which is positioned after two blank lines from the return address. The month should be spelled out and the date and year should be included.
You can place the inside address two blank lines from the position of the date. This is the address of the person or the company who will receive the letter. The salutation is the next element of the business letter. It is located two blank lines after the inside address and it always starts with the word “Dear.” This is followed by the name of the recipient of the letter. However, if you do not know the person’s name, you can use his or her title, or you can use the generic “Sir/Madam.”
The body of the letter starts one blank line after the salutation. You can begin with a short introduction and then you can go straight to the point regarding the message that you want to convey. This should be done in a polite manner.
Two blank lines after the body of the letter, you can place the conventional closing. Examples are “Respectfully,” and “Sincerely.” This is followed by a comma. Your signature should be placed below the closing and you should include your first and last names unless you have already established a personal relationship with the recipient. Under your signature should be your typewritten name and position.