The Correct Business Letter Format

The Correct Business Letter Format :


Make sure a person’s name is spelled correctly. A recipient may decide to ignore a letter that was written by someone who cannot spell his/her name.

Do not use both the title and the degree of a person. For example, write either Howard Wyatt, D.D.S. or Dr. Howard E. Hyatt and not, Dr. Howard Wyatt, D.D.S.

Two or more men are addressed as Messrs., which means Misters. Do not use first names with this abbreviation.

Messrs. Smith, Wyatt and Fury

Two or more women are addressed as Mesdames, Mmes., or Mses. Do not use first names with these abbreviations.

Mses. Farb, Lionel, and Gray

When addressing couples, give both appropriate titles.

Dr. and Mrs. Harold Wright

Mr. Harold Wright and Dr. Margaret Wright

Drs. Harold and Margaret Wright

Dr. Margaret Wright and Mr. Steven Jones

Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Adams-Quinn

Ms. Margaret Wright

Mr. Steven Jones

In selecting a title, always notice the way an individual identifies him or herself. For example, some who hold degrees do not use their titles while others do. Some married women prefer Mrs. Others prefer Ms. If you do not know the title the woman prefers, use the standard Ms. or drop the title altogether.

Place the inside address at least two lines below the date. Place a person’s title after his name unless it is unusually long and then go to the next line.

Ken Green, President

Ken Green

Vice President of International Operations

The comma before the abbreviations Jr. and Sr. is optional.

Michael Jordan, Jr.

Michael Jordan Sr.

Make sure the address on the envelope is written so that a postal worker can read it at a glance.

When both a street and a post office address are given, the postal service will deliver your letter to the address that appears directly above the zip code.

Place an attention line directly below the company name on an envelope.

On the envelope address, type the names of foreign countries all in caps.

Spell out all numerical street names from one to ten.

127 Ninth Avenue, North

127 E. 15 Street

Five Park Avenue

One Wingren Plaza

Use a hyphen between street and residence numbers.

556 - 91 Street

Reference Lines

Reference lines assist with filing or routing correspondence. A reference line can refer to your files and/or your reader’s files. Place your reference line first.

Our reference : Project #234

Your reference : Invoice #3444

RE Order #4558


Always use the name of the individual if you know it.

Dear Amy: (personal friend or close business associate)

Dear Mrs. Rider:

Dear Miss Spears:

Dear Ms. Tyler: (use Ms. if you don’t know the marital status or the preference)

Dear Mr. Farnham:

Dear Dr. Doom:

Dear Sir Elton John:

If you don’t know the name of the individual, address it to the individual’s title in the company and then use dear Sir or Madam.

Here is an example.

Head of Human Resource

ABC Company

123 Sesame Street

Dear Sir or Madam,

But please only use this if you really cannot find out the name of the person. Most companies will tell you who the person is. All it takes is a phone call. If you are addressing to an organization and not an individual, then use the following.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

And if you want to highlight the letter to an individual(s) in the organization, use the attention line as follows.

Attention: Miss J. Fonda, CEO and Mr. M. Jackson, CFO

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Subject Line

Sometimes to speed up the handling of your mail, it may be wise to use a subject line.

Dear Mr. M. Jackson,

Subject : Order No. 456-9A6

Complimentary Close

For normal business letters, I prefer to use…



Sincerely yours,

Other acceptable formal business letter close includes…


Cordially yours,

Very sincerely yours,

Very cordially yours,

Yours very truly,

Very truly yours,

And if the person is of high stature…

Respectfully yours,


Do use a title (Mr., Miss, Ms.) to indicate your preference and you gender and give you First and Last Name.

Example :


(Handwritten Signature)

Ms. Tony Braxton

Identification Initials

The identification line gives the initials of the person who typed the letter.


DDB:dms…This indicates that the person who originated the letter.

DDB/dms also typed it.

This is usually not necessary nowadays as most people (even big CEOs type their own letters) don’t have a secretary to type their letters.

Enclosure Notations

The enclosure notation goes flush left two lines below the signature block or the typist’s initials, if they’re included. Identify each and every enclosure that is being sent so that the reader will know if something is missing from the packet.


Enclosures : 3

Enclosures: Hite contract

Check for $458

Enclosures :

1. Draft of absentee policy

2. Invoice #459990

Copy Notations

Use cc, meaning carbon copy, even though you may use photocopy or other reproductions.

This notation goes at the very end of your letter and flush left. If you do not want your reader to know that you are sending a copy to another person, omit cc and instead, type bcc, blind carbon copy, only on your copy of the letter.

Below are the ways to present this feature.

cc: Sarah Smith

cc: Dr. Howard Stewart

12337 Rocky Lane

Houston, Texas 77070

Copy to: Sarah Smith

Copies to: Sarah Smith

Howard Jones


Postscripts serve two purposes.

1) To re-emphasize a key point

2) To be informal and personal

The postscript may be handwritten or typed.

P.S. Just return the enclosed card to see if you aren’t pleased with the service you receive!

PS. Give my regards to the others who had a part in making the program such a success.

The following is a sample of how a Block style letter will look like.



Name of Recipient



Street Address

City, State, and Zip Code


Dear Name:












(Handwritten Signature)

Writer’s Name


dm (typist’s initials—If the writer is also the typist, you may omit this notation.)


cc Dr. Joseph Hardy



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