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Business Correspondence

Parts of a Business Letter

Business Letter is a letter which is used by organizations to communicate in a professional way with customers, other companies, clients, shareholders, investors, etc. Business letter uses formal language and a specific format.

Companies use it to convey important information and messages. An individual can also use it while writing an application for a job, cover letters, or any formal document. In this article, we will learn how to write business letter in a professional way, parts of business letter with some samples and examples.

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Business Letter Definition

A letter written for business purpose is a business letter. Inquiry letter, offer letter, order letter, cover letter, notices, termination of employment are some of the business letters. Suppose a person wants to write any of these business letters. The main question is to how to write a business letter?

There is a pre-specified format for writing a business letter. There are some parts of a business letter and rules associated with them. Let us start to know how to write a business letter by knowing the parts of a business letter.

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Parts of Business Letter

A business letter will be more impressive if proper attention is given to each and every part of the business letter.

There are 12 Parts of Business Letter

  • The Heading or Letterhead
  • Date
  • Reference
  • The Inside Address
  • Subject
  • Greeting
  • Body Paragraphs
  • Complimentary Close
  • Signature and Writer’s Identification
  • Enclosures
  • Copy Circulation
  • PostScript

Let us discuss the parts of a business letter.

1. The Heading or Letterhead

It usually contains the name and the address of the business or an organization. It can also have an email address, contact number, fax number, trademark or logo of the business.

2. Date

We write the date on the right-hand side corner of the letter below the heading.

3. Reference

It shows the department of the organization sending the letter. The letter-number can also be used as a reference

4. The Inside Address

It includes the name, address, postal code, and job title of the recipient. It must be mentioned after the reference. One must write inside address on the left-hand side of the sheet.

5. Subject

It is a brief statement mentioning the reason for writing the letter. It should be clear, eye catchy, short, simple, and easily understandable.

6. The Greeting

It contains the words to greet the recipient. It is also known as the salutation. The type of salutation depends upon the relationship with the recipient.

It generally includes words like Dear, Respected, or just Sir/Madam. A comma (,) usually follow the salutation.

7. The Body Paragraphs

This is the main part of the letter. It contains the actual message of the sender. The main body of the mail must be clear and simple to understand. The body of the letter is basically divided into three main categories.

  • Opening Part: The first paragraph of the mail writing must state the introduction of the writer. It also contains the previous correspondence if any.
  • Main Part: This paragraph states the main idea or the reason for writing. It must be clear, concise, complete, and to the point.
  • Concluding Part: It is the conclusion of the business letter. It shows the suggestions or the need of the action. The closing of the letter shows the expectation of the sender from the recipient. Always end your mail by courteous words like thanking you, warm regards, look forward to hearing from your side etc.

8. The Complimentary Close

It is a humble way of ending a letter. It is written in accordance with the salutation. The most generally used complimentary close are Yours faithfully, Yours sincerely, and Thanks & Regards.

9. Signature and Writer’s Identification

It includes the signature, name, and designation of the sender. It can also include other details like contact number, address, etc. The signature is handwritten just above the name of the sender.

10. Enclosures

Enclosures show the documents attached to the letter. The documents can be anything like cheque, draft, bills, receipts, invoices, etc. It is listed one by one.

11. Copy Circulation

It is needed when the copies of the letter are sent to other persons. It is denoted as C.C.

12. PostScript

The sender can mention it when he wants to add something other than the message in the body of the letter. It is written as P.S.

Learn how to write a formal letter here in detail.

How to Write Business Letter

Suppose you are writing a business letter for the very first time. You will ask yourself the question ‘how to write a business letter‘. There is no need to scratch your head.

All Business letters follow a fixed format. The answer to the question of how to write a business letter is broadly classified into four categories.

how to write business letter

Beginning the Letter

  • Know the format: There are some business standards that need to be followed. One must use a common font to type a business letter. One must use indentation, paragraphs, margins, etc. The text must be typed in black color only.
  • Choose the Right Kind of Paper: One must print a letter in a letter-sized paper. The standard size of the paper is A4.
  • Include information about the Company: One must clearly state the name and the address of the company. Try to use a letterhead of the company for any business use.
  • Include the date: Writing the date helps the person to have a record of the on-going business.
  • Add the Recipient’s Information: In a business letter, one must clearly type the name, address, and job title of the recipient to remove any ambiguity.
  • Choose a Salutation: It is a way of showing respect towards the recipient. One can also use ‘To Whom It May Concern’ if he doesn’t know the person addressed.

Composing the Body

  • Strike the Right Tone: The tone of the letter must be formal, clear and polite. Do not use fancy, lengthy, and big words. One must be persuasive in the letter.
  • Use of Personal Pronoun: One can use personal pronouns in a business letter. If writing on behalf of the organization one must use ‘we’ instead of ‘I’.
  • Write Precisely and Clearly: The content of the letter must be precise, clear, brief, and easily understandable.
  • Use the Active Voice: Always write your letter in an active voice.
  • Be Courteous: Always write a letter in a polite and respectful way. Always use courteous words.
  • Use Additional Pages: If the matter is not fitting in one page of the letterhead, use the second page. One must keep in mind to include the page number on the second and subsequent pages.

Closing the Letter

  • Choose a Closing: One must use a proper closing in a business letter. Use a comma (,) after it.
  • Sign the Letter: Always sign the letter in ink. If sending a printed copy, always affix the scanned signature.
  • Make Note of Enclosure: One must properly enclose a list of attached documents with the letter. One can use the abbreviation of the enclosure, i.e., Encl. or Enc.
  • Use of C.C.: For persons other than the recipient, include their name on the letter by typing C.C.

Finalizing the Letter

  • Edit and Review: Once you are finished writing the letter, try to look for errors. Check for spellings, punctuations, grammatical errors.
  • Don’t Staple the Letter: Use a paperclip on the top of the left corner if there are many pages. The use of staple doesn’t look nice for a business letter.
  • Posting of the Letter: Always use clear and correct spelling for mentioning the name and address of the recipient.

Solved Examples on Business Letter

Problem: Which of the following punctuation mark belongs in the salutation and closing of a business letter?

  1. Colon
  2. Comma
  3. Semi-Colon
  4. Question Mark

Solution: 2. Comma

Problem: What does the inside address contain?

  1. Only the name of the company that receives the letter.
  2. Only the name of the company or the person to receive the letter.
  3. Both the name and the address of the company/person receiving the letter.
  4. All of the above.

Solution: 3. Both the name and the address of the company/person receiving the letter.

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