1. Layout of business letters
1) The heading
The heading expresses the firm’s personality and helps to form an impression of the firm. Usually most firms have their headings professionally designed and printed at
the top of the letter. It includes: the name, full address, postcode, telephone number, fax number, telegraphic address, email, web site and so on. It sometimes includes
additional information, such as a listing of branch offices, the line of business, the
year of establishment and so on.
2) The inside address
It’s the name and address of the other party(receiver) and may have to be presented as
evidence in the courts at some future time.
Special care must be given to the use of the word „Messrs‟ ( an abbreviated form of
Messieurs, the French word for gentleman) in addressing partnerships or
companies. It‟s often used in the case of a firm named after one or more persons and omitted where the names are impersonal.
Eg. Messrs Smith & Co,
Messrs Hamito and Jacobs
Textiles Import and Export Co.
3) The date
The date can never be omited. It is often necessary to refer to dates when some transactions must be checked. It’s divided into American form and British form.
th Eg. August 15, 2005 (US) 15August, 2005(Br.)
The date is usually typed two lines below the inside address, either on the left-hand
side or on the right-hand side of the letter.
4) The salutation
It’s the greeting of a business letter. It serves the same purpose as saying Hello on telephone. “Dear Sirs” is the customary salutation in British letter to a firm and “Dear Sir” is to an individual. While “Gentlemen” is usually the form preferred by
Americans. “ Dear Madam” is used when addressing the partnership which consists of women only. Of course, we can also say “Dear Mr./Mrs/Miss/Ms” when addressing
by the name. title
Dear the Manger of Import Department /Dear Import Department To whom it may concern
5) The body of the letter.
It should be accuracy, clarity and brevity, courtesy, consideration, and good writing.
6) The complimentary close
It provides the writer of a business letter with a chance to say good-bye at the end of
the writing. If the salutation is “Dear Sirs” or “Dear Sir”, the complimentary
close will read “ Yours faithfully” or less commonly “ Yours truly”. If the
salutation is “Dear Mr. Brown”, the complimentary close will take the form “ Yours
sincerely”. Dear Jack love / yours/sincerely
American: Sincerely, Best Regards
British: / Best wishes/ Kind regards/ Yours faithfully/Yours respectfully 7) The signature and the title of the signer
It’s correct to include both a handwritten signature and the writer‟s typewritten
name in commercial communication. Besides some form of personal identification is preferred, which may be provided through the use of a job title, the name of the
writer‟s department or division, or both.
1) Reference number and/or initials
They are generally used as a useful indication for filing. They enable replies to be linked with earlier correspondence and ensure they can reach the right person or department.
Eg. B/D Corporation
245 Lombart Street
Tel: Telex: Fax:
Our Ref: Your Ref:
The refernece numbers and initials can be placed two lines below the inside address and before date or at the end of the letter on the left margin, two lines below the signature. In the heading
2) Subject headings
The subject heading can give helps to the reader to obtain the gist of the letter quickly. It‟s typed on the left margin or in the center, two lines below the salutation, and
underlined. It can be indicated by the Latin word “ Re” or the abbreviation form of
the English “Sub.”
E.g. Re: Our Order No. AB-6678
Sub. Your Enquiry of 12 August for Shoes
When there is something such as a catalogue, a price list enclosed with the letter, this fact should be indicated by typing the word “ Enclosure”,“ Encl.” Or “Enc.” , two
lines below the signature or reference number, if there are any. E.g Enclosure: A price list
Encl: As stated
2. Letter styles
Generally the prevailing formats in the business circle are grouped into three styles: Full-Block Style, Semi-Block Style and Modified-Block Style.
1) Full-block style
It’s the most common style. The feature is that every line starts block with the left hand margin. This letterhead is usually printed either on the left hand side or in the center of the upper edge of the writing letter. Date can be typed on the left. 2) Indented style
Generally most parts of the letter written in semi-block style start with the left-hand margin. But there are some exceptions:
; The date is typed near the right-hand margin at the top of the letter.
; The first line of each paragraph is indented (4 letters).
; The complimentary close, and signature start near the right hand-margin.