Composition of A Business Letter

Here is the Composition of A Business Letter. Before we go to discuss about different business letters written by various types of organisations, it is important to know the typical format. The same is outlined in this chapter.

Right on the top comes the name of the organisation and its address. Just below and to the right comes the date on which the letter is written. Similarly, in the left side, details like telex number, fax number, telephone number and E-mail address are indicated.

Starting at the left margin, the name and address of the institution to which the letter is addressed will be given.

Right after the above, starts the salutation like Dear Sir, Dear Sirs or Dear Madam, depending upon the addressee whether an individual or an organisation. A comma comes after words of salutation.

Next comes the body of the letter. It consists of paragraphs and each paragraph carries a point to be conveyed. In the opening paragraph, a reference is made to the subject that is being the main topic and also the addressee’s earlier reference. Sometimes the subject and reference are indicated against words such as Sub : and Ref :. They will be one below the other and are placed below the words of salutation and slightly to the right. Normally, they come after ten spaces from the left corner.

In the concluding paragraph, an assurance to the effect that best services or attention or cooperation is given. Depending upon the purpose of the letter, the words may differ. For example, if the sender seeks an early reply, they may say that we now look forward to the pleasure of hearing from you soon or we will be much obliged to receive your immediate response.

Finally, the complimentary words will come. In commercial letters, the most often used words are Yours Faithfully, Yours Sincerely, or Yours Truly. A comma is placed after these two words. Just below, the company’s name with the word for preceding it will be mentioned.

No letter has any meaning or value, if it is not signed by the writer. Just below the complimentary words the writer puts his signature. The name is capitals within brackets will appear below the signature. The designation if applicable will be indicated just below the name.

Sometimes it may so happen that the writer might have forgotten to express something important after signing the letter. In that case, in the bottom of the letter, starting from the left margin, the same can be indicated. This is called post script and the words should start after putting P.S. (an abbreviation for post script). Enclosure if any should be mentioned against Encl.

Having seen the general format of a business letter, let us list all the parts in seriatim as below.

  1. Letterhead

  2. The reference and date

  3. The name and address of the addressee

  4. Salutation

  5. Body of the letter

  6. Complimentary conclusion

  7. Signature with name and designation

  8. Post script (P.S)

  9. Enclosure (Encl.)

We will now present a typical format for easy understanding of the subject. Please note that the name of the organisation, addresses, names etc., mentioned here and in the various business letters to be discussed in subsequent chapters are all imaginary.

Also, we will not be mentioning details like telephone number, telex number, fax number, E-mail address etc., in the sample letters throughout the book. The reader, however, can bear in mind that such detains will be printed in the letterhead of the institutions sending the letter.

The format to be adopted by individual professionals like architect, attorney, doctor, civil contractor or any individual will be just the same except for the letterhead. A sample format is given separately.
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