Writing a Proper Business Letter
A business letter is written differently from most letters due to its use of formal language. Instead of showing creativity using evocative language, a business letter uses more succinct language, while stressing accuracy and specificity.
The write an effective business letter, it is important to assume that the receiver of the letter will not have much time and will want to quickly understand the point of the message. Depending on the context, the writing style can be more casual, such as what would be found in an email correspondence or more formal, such as what would be found in a contract. The writing style of a business letter relies on the circumstances and it is important to use the correct amount of formality.
Parts of a Business Letter
Most business letters can be broken down to the following sections:
• Sender’s address
o If the address is not already in the leader head, include one line above the date at the top of the letter.
o Only write the street, city, and zip code.
o The date is the date that the letter was written or completed.
o Write the month, day, and year 2” from the top of the page either in the center or left justified.
o It should be written in American date format if addressed to an American company.
• Inside address
o This is to a specific individual and his or her business address.
o The address is left justified and one line underneath the sender’s address or the left.
o This is the name within the inside address with the personal title.
o Use a personal title, full name, colon and a blank line after the salutation.
o The personal title can be omitted if gender is unknown.
o The body should be in paragraph format that are left justified and single spaced.
o There should be a blank line between paragraphs.
o The closing is at one line after the final body paragraph and has the same horizontal point as the date. The first word should be capitalized and four spaces should be left between the closing and the sender’s name.
o Enclosures should be indicated by typing “enclosure” a line after the closing.
o Documents can be listed optionally, particularly if there are multiple documents.
• Typist initials
o The typist of the document usually initials the document, but if it was written by the sender, initials are omitted.
Other tips for writing a good business letter
• It is acceptable to use first person pronouns, but make sure to use “we” when representing the company.
• Avoid using a passive voice in order to maintain clarity in the business letter.
• Be concise but still consider the tone of the letter in order to avoid being blunt.