Business Letter Structure
Recently Business letters are nearly always typed. It has long been customary to set it out in the indented style, but now the blocked style has come to be much more widely used than before. because, it is claimed, it saves typing time. Business letters are consists of some principal parts that will be explained as follows:
1. The letterhead.
The letterhead expresses a firm personality. it helps to form one’s impression of the writer’s firm. Because of this. many firm engage expert to design attractive notepaper headings. Styles are vary considerably, But they all give similar information and besides the name and address of the firm include telephone numbers, Fax numbers, and so on.
2. The Date
Always type the date in full, in the logical order of the day, month and years.
3. Inside name and address
The usual practice is to set out the name and address of one’s correspondent at the head of the letter, though it is sometimes placed at the the footer, in the bottom of left – hand corner . in official correspondence.
Where addressing is a correspondent personally by name take care to spell his name correctly. To address for example T.B Gartside as T.B . Gartside would be liable to cause offense. People are usually proud of their names. Also address him exactly as He signs himself. If He signs as James Legon, Address him in that way and not as J. Legon.
4. The salutation
This is the greeting with which every letter begins. The customary greeting in a business letter is Dear Sir, but others are used as follows:
a. Dear Madam (for both single and married women);
b. Sirs (when a partnership is addressed);
c. Mesdames (when the partnership consists of women only, though the use of the less logical but more familiar Dear Sirs is permissible).
When your correspondent is unknown to you and may be either a man or a woman, always use the form Dear Sir.
These are the formal openings normally used, but the modern trend is towards informality, especially if your correspondent is known to you personally, or if you have traded with him for some time. The warmer and more friendly greeting, Dear Mr…, is then preferred. The greetings Sir, Madam and Gentlemen are very formal and are now rarely used in English business letters, though Gentlemen is usually the form preferred by American writers.
5. The letter body
This forms of the letter body and is the part that really matters. Before you begin to write or dictate, ask yourself the following questions:
1.What is my aim in writing this letter?
2. What do I hope to achieve by it?
3. What is the best way to go about it?
Don’t waste words on unnecessary remarks. Keep your sentences and paragraphs short and start a new paragraph for each new point you wish to stress. Short sentences and paragraphs provide easier reading and are easy to understand.
Some letters are very short and may consist of only one paragraph. Many others fall naturally into the framework of a three-paragraph plan, as in the example that follows.
(i) The first paragraph takes the form of an introduction, or of an acknowledgment if there has been previous correspond.
(ii) The second gives information and states the facts.
(iii) The third refers to future action.
6. The complimentary closure
The subscription or complimentary closure, like the salutation, is purely a matter of custom and a polite way of bringing a letter to a close. The expression used must suit the occasion. It must also match the salutation, the form of which is governed by the relationship between the parties.
The following salutations, with their matching closures, arc the ones most commonly used in the modern business letter:
Salutation Closure Comment as follows;
- Dear Sir (s), or Madam (salutation) > Yours faithfully ( Formal Closure)—used as standard
- Dear Mr Harris ( salutation) > Yours sincerely (Informal Closure) —used between
persons known to each other, or where there is a wish to dispense with formality.
- Yours truly is rather less formal than Yours faithfully, but it is now little used except where there is a personal relationship, as between solicitors and clients, bankers and customers, doctors and patients.
- Yours respectfully, at one time used in letters to superiors, is now obsolete.
Avoid ending letters with I am, We are, I remain, etc. These phrases are old-fashioned and serve no useful purpose. avoid closing your letter with sentences introduced by Thanking, hoping and similar participles.
7. Signature and designation
Always sign your letters by hand, and in ink. To “sign” with a rubber stamp is a form of discourtesy—it suggests that the reader is not important enough to deserve the personal touch of an original signature.
Because a signature is the distinguishing mark of the person who uses it, the same style must always be used. One must not sign Eric Castle on one occasion and E. Castle on another.
A signature must not carry a title; it must be the plain signature of the writer. Do not, for example, sign as Mr J. Ptatt or Professor IL Butler. There is one exception to this: a woman writing to a stranger should indicate whether she is married or single and may do so by adding (Mrs) or (Miss) in brackets in front of her signature, thus:
(Miss) Alice Ii Brooks
If a married woman in business chooses to be known by her unmarried name she must of course be addressed as Miss, e.g.
Dear Miss Thompson
To send a letter without its enclosures is inefficient; to receive such a letter is annoying. It is the responsibility of the person who makes up the post to prevent this. He or she must have some means of knowing at a glance which letters need enclosures.
Here is one of the example of business letter structure:
Mr C Moisley
25 Riverside Lane
Dear Mr Moisley
Mathematics for Beginners
Further to our correspondence on the type of binding for this book, I enclose two samples of cloth—type binding. These bindings are only slightly more expensive than a paper—back binding and perhaps you will let me know which of them you prefer.
The artwork for the cover of the book has been completely redesigned and I enclose a rough copy. The new design is a great improvement on the original and I hope you will like it.
I am also taking the opportunity to enclose a copy of your
Arithmetic for Commerce, which is now due for reprinting.
Please make any alterations that may be necessary and let
me have the revised text as soon as you can.
for MACDONALD & EVANS lTD
R B North
On above is one of a business letter structure sample which is effective, particularly with lengthy letters, because it marks the points at which the enclosures are referred to and enables the kind as well as the number of enclosures to be speedily checked.