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THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE: WRITING A BUSINESS LETTER

Learn the proper form for the six parts of a business letter

In addition to the five parts of a friendly letter, the business letter has an inside address, which is identical with the outside address on the envelope.
The semiblock form is a popular type of business letter. As the following model shows, the first line of each paragraph is indented; and the heading, closing, and signature are begun just to the right of the middle of the page.
(The pure block form, which has no indentations of the first lines of paragraphs, is also acceptable for business letters.)

Carefully notice the spacing of the parts of the business letter above. It is centered on the page, with approximately the same margin at the top as at the bottom and with the same margin on each side of the page. If you type your business letters, double-space after the inside address, after the salutation, between paragraphs, and after the last line of the last paragraph.

1. The Heading
Beginning no less than three cm from the top of the page, put your complete address and the full date in the upper right-hand corner of the page. It is better to write this heading without abbreviations.
EXAMPLE
685 Lawton Street
Dayton, Ohio 45411
October 9, 2006

2. The Inside Address
The inside address is placed several spaces (at least four if you are typing) below the heading, flush with the lefthand margin. It should include the full name and address of the company you are writing to. If you are writing to a person in the firm, use his full name and title, with a comma between the two if they are on the same line. If the name and title are too long to look attractive on the same line, put the title on the next line.

EXAMPLES

Ajax Auto Supply
6890 Clifton Road
Dayton, Ohio 524477

Miss Ann King, President
American Humane Society
P.0. Box 2588
Denver, Colorado 830447

Editor
Field and Stream
589 Madison Avenue
New York, New York 24889

Dr. William N. Kirkpatrick
Assistant Director
Defense Research Laboratory
The University of Texas
Austin, Texas 98552

3. The Salutation
The salutation is placed two spaces below the last line of the inside address and flush with the left-hand margin. The proper salutation for a letter written to a firm is Gentlemen followed by a colon. Dear Sirs is also used. When you are writing to an individual within the firm, the correct salutation is Dear Mr. - (or Mrs. or Miss). If you are writirig to a professional man or woman, use his title (Dr., Professor, etc.) instead of Mr. A colon always follows the salutation.

EXAMPLES
Gentlemen:
Dear Sir:

Dear Miss King
Dear Dr. Kirkpatrick:

If you know the name, use it in both the inside address and the salutation. If you don't, then use Dear Sir (for one individual), Dear Sirs or Gentlemen(for a firm).

4. The Body
The form of the body of a business letter is the same as that of any letter. If your letter is very short (7 lines or less), you may double-space the entire body of the letter. When you are typing a longer letter, however, you normally single-space the paragraphs and double-space between them.

5. The Closing
The closing comes between the body of the letter and the signature. The closings that you use for friendly letters are not appropriate for business letters. In business letters, appropriate closings are limited.

Very truly yours, Yours truly, and Yours very truly are the ones most frequently used. Sincerely yours and Yours sincerely are also correct. The closing is placed just to the right of the center of the page, two spaces below the last line of the body of your letter. It is followed by a comma.

EXAMPLES
Very truly yours,
Yours sincerely,

A Business Letter:

303 Clayton Street
Huntington, West Virginia. 25703
February 10, 2006

Executive Secretary
Chamber of Commeree
Mystie, Conneeticut 06355

Dear Sir-

I am writing a report on whaling in old New England and would appreciate your sending me any pamphlets and pictures you have about Mystie Seaport.
I would especially like pictures of the town itself, as well as information on early whaling ships and equipment. Any maps you have of Mystie Seaport and , of early sailing routes w.ould be useful, too.

G. The Signature
Sign your full name to your letter. Do not put Miss or Mr. before your name. If an unmarried woman is writing to a stranger, however, she may place Miss in parentheses before her signature so that the receiver of the letter will know how to address his reply.

EXAMPLE
(Miss) Mary Jane Fiske
A signature should always be handwritten. If your letter your letter is typewritten, type your name flush with the first letter of the closing and far enough (usually four spaces) below to allow room for your signature above it.

EXERCISE. Copy in the proper form and arrangement on the page the business letter given below.

1. Heading: 2420 Nicholson Drive, Portland, Oregon 97221, November 12, 2006

2. Inside Address: Mr. James E. Clark, Business Manager, Allison's Greeting Card Company, P.0. Box 3452, Los Angeles, California 90035

3. Salutation: Dear Mr. Clark

4. Body: As the secretary of the freshman class at my high school, I am writing to you to find out more about the offer you are advertising in local newspapers. Since my class is working to raise money for the "Toys for Tots" campaign, we are interested in selling your Christmas cards. Will you please send me more information about the kinds of cards you have, the price range, and the percentage of profit made on each box sold.

5. Closing: Very truly yours

6. Signature: Charles Evans




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