Most business letters have four parts
1- a salutation
2- an opening
3- the main message
4- the close
*To address a person whose name or sex you do not know you use Dear
Sir or Madam
you do not know the name of a man you are writing to, Dear Sir is
you are addressing a woman whose name you do not know, you use Dear
*If you have
chosen open punctuation you do not use a comma after Dear Sir/ Madam
*When you are
addressing a company, you begin your letter Dear Sirs
In th USA Dear Gentlemen is often used instead of Dear Sirs
2- An opening
This says why
you are writing.For example
*We are writing
to enquire about...
*We are writing in connection with...
*We are interested in ...and we would like to know...
If you are answering
the letter, you can start:
*We have received
your letter of....
*Thank you for your letter of....
3- The main message or body
should be neither too long nor too short.
The length of your letter will depend on whether the subject of
the letter is a simple or a complicated one. You have to decide
on the right amount of info to include in your letter.
The reader will not be able to understand the message if you leave
out important information. If you include too many details, he may
letter in advance is the best thing to do.
In this way you will be able to decide what to include,in which
order and how you are going to express it.
The best way produce a good business letter is to use the KISS formula
(keep it short and simple)
The body of most letters can be divided into three paragraphs, though
some more may be necessary sometimes.
In our next
lesson you can find some examples of words which may unnecessarily
complicate the language used in business correspondence.
You should also
avoid informal, colloquial language as well as phrasal verbs, idioms
and short forms. This kind of vocabulary is considered inappropriate.
To sum up
used should be:
*clear but courteous
*simple but formal
* be neither
too long nor too short
* have a clear sequence
Your key word
to success: KISS
4- The close
Here are some
ways to end a letter
*I look forward
to receiving your reply/order/products
*Looking forward to hearing from you
If you give
some information in your letter, you can close
*I hope that
this information will help
*Please contact me/let me know if you need any further information
*Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions
You also need
to include a complimentary close.
YOURS FAITHFULLY is used if you begin your letter Dear Sirs - Dear
Sir - Dear Madam - Dear Sir or Madam i.e. when you do not know the
name or sex of the person you are addressing
is used if the letter begins with a name. Dear Mrs Smith - Dear
or TRULY YOURS is used in the USA to close business and formal letters.
You do not use these in formal correspondence in the UK.
the purpose of preparing this free lesson we have used Unit 2,"Parts
of a letter", from the following book "Company to Company",
student's book. Andrew Littlejohn. Cambridge University Press.1988,1994.
Communication in Business