The Contents of Specimen Letter

The Contents of Specimen Letter :

Let us consider the contents of - or the message contained in Specimen Letter. And we shall first examine the general features which distinguish it from a nonbusiness letter.

They are as follows.

The Letterhead :

In the Specimen Letter we showed the letterhead with its particulars printed across the top middle of the sheet. However, a wide variety of other designs and fonts are used. Often the name and address of the enterprise are printed on the top left or right with other details on the opposite side.

For Example :

Letterheads might incorporate illustrations, crests and/or logos. Especially in the case of companies, the names of the directors as well as the types of business they conduct are also often incorporated in their letterheads. Increasingly businesses include their website addresses in their letterheads.

The Date of The Letter :

This is often the first item to be typed on the letter and it is frequently placed as we have shown it in Specimen Letter in the top right-hand corner just below the letterhead. However, some writers prefer to have the date typed in the top left-hand corner.

(Note that dates on letters should also include the year. In our Specimen Letter we replace the year by 20XX).

The Addressee of The Letter :

The addressee’s name and address are frequently typed as in Specimen Letter in the top lefthand corner - a little below the line of the date. But some writers prefer the addressee’s particulars to be positioned in the bottom left-hand corner - below the body of the letter.

The Greeting :

The specimen letter is addressed to The Sales Manager of the addressee organization. Because in this case he is the person who made the enquiry about the hotel’s conference facilities. However, letters might be addressed to other executives or other kinds of business officials such as to…

The Directors
The Chief Accountant
The Chairman
The Managing Director
Senior Partner

Greetings in business letters may be varied according to circumstances.

Dear Sir
Dear Madam
Dear Sir or Madam
Dear Mr. Banda
Dear Miss Waweru

The personal name of the addressee is used only when the writer knows the addressee either through prior business contact or personal relationship.

By tradition, the abbreviations Mr. for Mister and Mrs. for Mistress end with a punctuation mark called a full stop or point as shown. It is becoming acceptable nowadays to omit the full stop from abbreviations (and also from others such as Co for Company and Ltd for Limited).

When writing to a company in general, rather than to particular officials, e.g. “The Elephant Furniture Co. Ltd.”, the greeting used should be “Dear Sirs”. That greeting can also be used when addressing more than one official.

The Elephant Furniture Co. Ltd.,
20 Hunting Street,

Dear Sirs,


The Directors,
The Elephant Furniture Co. Ltd.,
20 Hunting Street,

Dear Sirs,

By tradition, each address lines should end with a punctuation mark called a comma and the final word in the last line should end with a full stop whilst the greeting should also end with comma. It is becoming acceptable nowadays to omit the punctuation marks.

References :

When they are used, references on business letters make it easier for both addressor and addressee to find any previous correspondence with each other - that is any letters or other communications which have passed between them or their respective organizations in the past – in their files. Managers and other executives should always keep copies of their correspondence and maintain proper filing systems.

The Body or Message :

The message contained in the body of a business letter should be written in clear, precise language and should be brief and should keep to the point as you will read in our Specimen Letter. As we have pointed out, these days business letter writers should try to use everyday language as far as is possible and to avoid so-called commercial expressions except for technical terms essential in specific trades, industries or professions.

The Writer’s Designation :

It is usual for the writer to have his (or her) position in the enterprise typed below his (or her) signature. In Specimen Letter the writer’s position or designation is General Manager. It is important to state that so the addressee will know that the writer has authority for the message which the letter conveys. In addition to the handwritten signature, it is common for the writer’s name to be typed. So the addressee knows who the writer is - especially if the signature is not easy to read!

The Closing Expression :

YOURS FAITHFULLY is most commonly used in business. It should always be used when the greeting uses Sir or Madam and not the name of the addressee. When it is permissible to use the addressee’s personal name in the greeting, it is often permissible to use the more intimate close YOURS SINCERELY.

DEAR SIR or DEAR MADAM should always be followed by YOURS FAITHFULLY.

But Dear Mr. (Mrs. or Miss) Brown may be followed by YOURS SINCERELY.

By tradition, the closing expression should end with a comma. But it is becoming acceptable nowadays to omit the comma.

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