Letter writing is an art. The words from your letter catch the reader's attention and also reveal your personality. Any business letter is bound by certain accepted standards. You are expected to follow the format of business letters while inquiring, replying to an inquiry, fixing an appointment, selling, purchasing, asking for due payment, etc.
A clear tone and courteous language are invariable elements of a business letter. Usually, a 'positive attitude' should be reflected through the letter. Correctness, clarity, and conciseness are all necessary while writing business letters.
According to business letter writing etiquette, you are supposed to follow a typical format which consists of heading, date, reference, opening, body, closing, and enclosure.
Business Letter Writing
The style of writing a personal letter is quite different from the style of writing a business letter. A business letter is a formal letter for which you need to follow a fixed format.
Usually, 8½"×11" unlined stationery is used for writing business letters. Generally the paper is white. On this paper, when you type the name and address of the person to whom you are sending your letter and fold it twice to fit in a standard 9" business envelope, the inside address appears through the window in the envelope.
In a business letter page layout, you will see a margin of at least one inch on all four edges. When a block format is used, the entire letter is left justified and single spaced, but there is a double space between paragraphs. While using a modified block format, you may tab to the center-point for headings, date, and closing.
In a semi-block format, each paragraph is indented instead of left justified. The rest is similar to all that is used in a modified block format. The format requirements may vary according to the specific needs of the organizations.
Times New Roman, size 12, is the generally accepted font. You may use other fonts like 'Arial'; but you should consider your audience while choosing a font.
Business Letter Heading Format
- The letter heading contains the sender's address. The date is the last line of the heading.
- The address is typed in usually two or three lines.
- It should be noted that sender's name is always at the bottom at the closing point, and not at the top, above the sender's address.
- Sometimes after the address and before the date, one or two lines are included for a phone number, fax number, and e-mail address.
- It is customary to skip a line between the address and date. This is always done when the heading is next to the left margin.
- There is no need of commas or colons in the heading.
- If you are going to use stationery which has the return address already imprinted, then you are not required to type it but don't forget to include the date.
- The heading is followed by the name and address of the person to whom you are sending the letter.
- There are different ways of writing a date. In the United States, the month is placed before the day, for example: June 11, 2001.
- You may first decide which format you want to use. You may either left justify the address and date, or you may tab to the center point and type the address and date.
Business Letter Heading Sample
Left Justified Heading
|Pakme Explosives, Inc.
165-B Dry Gulch Alley
Lonesome Coyote AZ 85789
July 15, 1999.
Mr. John M. Smith
Chief Executive Officer
125 Easy Street
Wellsville OH 12345
Dear Mr. Smith,
While writing a business letter, you should follow the typical format and use polite language; the letter is going to create an everlasting impression about your character, capacity, brand, and business, in the mind of the reader.