Business Letters in English
Business letters are formal paper communications between, to or from businesses and usually sent through the Post Office or sometimes by courier. Business letters are sometimes called "snail-mail" (in contrast to email which is faster). This lesson concentrates on business letters but also looks at other business correspondence. It includes:1. letter
Who writes Business Letters?
Most people who have an occupation have to write business letters. Some write many letters each day and others only write a few letters over the course of a career. Business people also read letters on a daily basis. Letters are written from a person/group, known as the sender to a person/group, known in business as the recipient. Here are some examples of senders and recipients:
- business «» business
- business «» consumer
- job applicant «» company
- citizen «» government official
- employer «» employee
- staff member «» staff member
Why write Business Letters?
There are many reasons why you may need to write business letters or other correspondence:· to persuade
· to inform
· to request
· to express thanks
· to remind
· to recommend
· to apologize
· to congratulate
· to reject a proposal or offer
· to introduce a person or policy
· to invite or welcome
· to follow up
· to formalize decisions
Read through the following pages to learn more about the different types of business letters, and how to write them. You will learn about formatting, planning, and writing letters, as well as how to spot your own errors. These pages are designed to help you write business letters and correspondence, but they will also help you learn to read, and therefore respond to, the letters you receive. You will also find samples that you can use and alter for your own needs.
Business Letter Vocabulary attachment extra document or image that is added to an email· block format : most common business letter format, single spaced, all paragraphs begin at the left
· body : the content of the letter; between the salutation and signature
· bullets : small dark dots used to set off items in an unnumbered list
· certified mail : important letters that sender pays extra postage for in order to receive a notice of
· coherent : logical; easy to understand
· concise : gets to the point quickly
· confidential : personal private
· diplomacy, diplomatic : demonstrating consideration and kindness
· direct mail, junk mail : marketing letters addressed to a large audience
· double space : format where one blank line is left between lines of text
· enclosure : extra document or image included with a letter
· formal uses set formatting and business language, opposite of casual
· format the set up or organization of a document
· heading a word or phrase that indicates what the text below will be about
· indent : extra spaces (usually 5) at the beginning of a paragraph
· informal : casual
· inside address : recipient's mailing information
· Justified margins : straight and even text, always begins at the same place
· Letter head : specialized paper with a (company) logo or name printed at the top
· logo : symbol or image that identifies a specific organization
· margin : a blank space that borders the edge of the text
· memorandum (memo) : document sent within a company (internal), presented in short form
· modified block format : left justified as block format, but date and closing are centered
· on arrival notation : notice to recipient that appears on an envelope (e.g. "confidential")
· post age the cost of sending a letter through the Post Office
· proof read : read through a finished document to check for mistakes
· punctuation : marks used within or after sentences and phrases (e.g. periods, commas)
· reader-friendly : easy to read
· recipient : the person who receives the letter
· right ragged : format in which text on the right side of the document ends at slightly different points
· salutation : greeting in a letter (e.g. "Dear Mr Jones")
· sensitive information : content in a letter that may cause the receiver to feel upset
· semi-block format paragraphs are indented, not left-justified
· sincerely : term used before a name when formally closing a letter
· single spaced : format where no blanks lines are left in-between lines of text
· spacingblank : area between words or lines of text
· tone : the feeling of the language (e.g. serious, enthusiastic)
· transitions : words or phrases used to make a letter flow naturally (e.g. "furthermore", "on the other
Business Letter Vocabulary Quiz11. Before you seal and send your letter, make sure to it.
2. As soon as your certified letter reaches the you will be notified.
3. Choose if you want to put the date and closing in the center of the page.
4. Set off the list of "Do's and Don'ts" by using .
5. The envelope indicated that there was , but in fact there was only a letter inside.
6. The of the first paragraph was optimistic, so I wasn't expecting the bad news in the middle.
7. I decided not to interview her, because her cover letter contained very poor
8. The about the meeting was posted on the bulletin board for everyone to read.
9. Our address and phone number are shown on our .
10. In block text format, you do not each paragraph.
Business Letter Formats
There are certain standards for formatting a business letter, though some variations are acceptable (for example between European and North American business letters). Here are some basic guidelines:· Use A4 (European) or 8.5 x 11 inch (North American) paper or letterhead
· Use 2.5 cm or 1 inch margins on all four sides
· Use a simple font such as Times New Roman or Arial
· Use 10 to 12 point font
· Use a comma after the salutation (Dear Mr Bond,)
· Lay out the letter so that it fits the paper appropriately
· Single space within paragraphs
· Double space between paragraphs
· Double space between last sentence and closing (Sincerely, Best wishes)
· Leave three to fives spaces for a handwritten signature
· cc: (meaning "copies to") comes after the typed name (if necessary)
· enc: (meaning "enclosure") comes next (if necessary)
· Fold in three (horizontally) before placing in the envelope
· Use right ragged formatting (not justified on right side)
· Formatting Business Letters
Block format is the most common format used in business today. With this format, nothing is centred. The sender's address, the recipient's address, the date and all new paragraphs begin at the left margin, like this:Wicked Wax Co. Ltd