Structure of Business Letters

Study of difference between business and personnel letters. Analysis of features and types of business letters. Characteristic of letter structure and placement, letter style and the layout of the envelope. Main stages drafting sample of business letter.

Рубрика Иностранные языки и языкознание
Вид реферат
Язык английский
Дата добавления 01.04.2016
Размер файла 171,6 K

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Министерство образования и науки Российской Федерации

«Первый Профессиональный


Факультет Юридический


по дисциплине «Иностранный язык»

Structure of Business Letters

Работу выполнил студент

Зотьев А.В.

4 курс, группа Юб09.12-1Н

Научный руководитель:

Москва, 2016



Part 1. Specific of business letters

1.1 Features of business letters

1.2 Types of business letters

Part 2. Structure of business letters

2.1 Letter structure and placement

2.2 Letter style and the layout of the envelope

2.3 Business letter drafting sample




Writing is an essential job skill, and it is a part of every job. As you advance in your career, you'll do more and more writing. Writing well will enhance your success. Indeed, promotions are often based on an employee's ability to write.

Letter writing is a prized skill in the world of work. The higher you advance in your career, the more you will need to write letters. Letters are more formal and official than other types of business communication. They offer personal, verifiable authorization. Unlike e-mail, letters often must be routed through channels before they are sent out. Letters are the expected medium through which important documents such as contracts and proposals are sent to readers.

Thus, the relevance of our work is the importance of letters as an integral part of business communication.

So the aim of this report is to analyze the structure of business letters.

According to the aim of this report are formulated the following tasks:

- point out the difference between business and personnel letters;

- consider the types of business letters;

- identify the structure of business letters.

Part 1. Specific of business letters

1.1 Features of business letters

Writing for a business audience is usually quite different than writing in the humanities, social sciences, or other academic disciplines. Business writing strives to be crisp and succinct rather than evocative or creative; it stresses specificity and accuracy. This distinction does not make business writing superior or inferior to other styles. Rather, it reflects the unique purpose and considerations involved when writing in a business context.

When you write a business document, you must assume that your audience has limited time in which to read it and is likely to skim. Your readers have an interest in what you say insofar as it affects their working world. They want to know the “bottom line”: the point you are making about a situation or problem and how they should respond.

Business writing varies from the conversational style often found in email messages to the more formal, legalistic style found in contracts. A style between these two extremes is appropriate for the majority of memos, emails, and letters. Writing that is too formal can alienate readers, and an attempt to be overly casual may come across as insincere or unprofessional. In business writing, as in all writing, you must know your audience.

In most cases, the business letter will be the first impression that you make on someone. Though business writing has become less formal over time, you should still take great care that your letter's content is clear and that you have proofread it carefully.

There are some features of business letters.

Firstly, personal pronouns (like I, we, and you) are important in letters and memos. In such documents, it is perfectly appropriate to refer to yourself as I and to the reader as you. Be careful, however, when you use the pronoun we in a business letter that is written on company stationery, since it commits your company to what you have written. When stating your opinion, use I; when presenting company policy, use we. writing letter application

Secondly, the best writers strive to achieve a style that is so clear that their messages cannot be misunderstood. One way to achieve a clear style is to minimize your use of the passive voice. Although the passive voice is sometimes necessary, often it not only makes your writing dull but also can be ambiguous or overly impersonal. Here's an example of the same point stated in passive voice and in the active voice:

PASSIVE: The net benefits of subsidiary divestiture were grossly overestimated.

(Who did the overestimating?)

ACTIVE: The Global Finance Team grossly overestimated the net benefits of subsidiary divestiture.

The second version is clearer and thus preferable.

Thirdly, business writing should be clear and concise. Take care, however, that your document does not turn out as an endless series of short, choppy sentences. Keep in mind also that “concise” does not have to mean “blunt”--you still need to think about your tone and the audience for whom you are writing. Consider the following examples:

After carefully reviewing this proposal, we have decided to prioritize other projects this quarter.

Nobody liked your project idea, so we are not going to give you any funding.

The first version is a weaker statement, emphasizing facts not directly relevant to its point. The second version provides the information in a simple and direct manner. But you don't need to be an expert on style to know that the first phrasing is diplomatic and respectful (even though it's less concise) as compared with the second version, which is unnecessarily harsh and likely to provoke a negative reaction [].

1.2 Types of Business Letters

There are four basic types of business letters: inquiry letters, special request letters, sales letters, and customer relations letters. Business letters can be further classified as positive, neutral, or negative. Inquiry and special request letters are neutral, sales letters are positive, and customer relations letters can be positive or negative.

An inquiry letter asks for information about a product, service, or procedure. Businesses frequently exchange inquiry letters, and customers frequently send them to businesses. Three basic rules for an effective inquiry letter are to state exactly what information you want, indicate clearly why you must have this information, and specify exactly when you must have it.

Special request letters make a special demand, not a routine inquiry. The way you present your request is crucial, since your reader is not obliged to give you anything. When asking for information in a special request letter, state who you are, why you are writing, precisely what information you need, and exactly when you need the information (allow sufficient time). If you are asking for information to include in a report or other document, offer to forward a copy of the finished document as a courtesy. State that you will keep the information confidential, if that is appropriate. Finally, thank the recipient for helping you.

A sales letter is written to persuade the reader to buy a product, try a service, support a cause, or participate in an activity. No matter what profession you are in, writing sales letters is a valuable skill. To write an effective sales letter, follow these guidelines: (1) Identify and limit your audience. (2) Use reader psychology. Appeal to readers' emotions, pocketbook, comfort, and so on by focusing on the right issues. (3) Don't boast or be a bore. Don't gush about your company or make elaborate explanations about a product. (4) Use words that appeal to readers' senses. (5) Be ethical.

The "four A's" of sales letters are attention, appeal, application, and action. First, get the reader's attention. Next, highlight your product's appeal. Then, show the reader the product's application. Finally, end with a specific request for action.

In the first part of your sales letter, get the reader's attention by asking a question, using a "how to" statement, complimenting the reader, offering a free gift, introducing a comparison, or announcing a change. In the second part, highlight your product's allure by appealing to the reader's intellect, emotions, or both. Don't lose the momentum you have gained with your introduction by boring the reader with petty details, flat descriptions, elaborate inventories, or trivial boasts. In the third part of your sales letter, supply evidence of the value of what you are selling. Focus on the prospective customer, not on your company. Mention the cost of your product or service, if necessary, by relating it to the benefits to the customer. In the final section, tell readers exactly what you want them to do, and by what time. "Respond and be rewarded" is the basic message of the last section of a sales letter.

Customer Relations Letters deal with establishing and maintaining good working relationships. They deliver good news or bad news, acceptances or refusals. If you are writing an acceptance letter, use the direct approach-tell readers the good news up front. If you are writing a refusal letter, do not open the letter with your bad news; be indirect.

A follow-up letter is sent to thank a customer for buying a product or service and to encourage the customer to buy more in the future. As such it is a combination thank-you note and sales letter. Begin with a brief expression of gratitude. Next, discuss the benefits already known to the customer, and stress the company's dedication to its customers. Then extend this discussion into a new or continuing sales area, and end with a specific request for future business.

Complaint letters require delicacy. The right tone will increase your chances of getting what you want. Adopt the "you" attitude. Begin with a detailed description of the product or service you are complaining about. Include the model and serial numbers, size, quantity , and color. Next, state exactly what is wrong with the product or service. Briefly describe the inconvenience you have experienced. Indicate precisely what you want done (you want your money back, you want a new model, you want an apology, and so on). Finally, ask for prompt handling of your claim.

Adjustment letters respond to complaint letters. For an adjustment letter that tells the customer "Yes," start with your good news. Admit immediately that the complaint was justified. State precisely what you are going to do to correct the problem. Offer an explanation for the inconvenience the customer suffered. End on a friendly, positive note. For adjustment letters that deny a claim, avoid blaming or scolding the customer. Thank the customer for writing. Stress that you understand the complaint. Provide a factual explanation to show customers they're being treated fairly. Give your decision without hedging or apologizing. (Indecision will infuriate customers who believe they have presented a convincing case.) Leave the door open for better and continued business in the future.

Refusal of credit letters begin on a positive note. Express gratitude for the applicant for wanting to do business with you. Cite appropriate reasons for refusing to grant the customer credit: lack of business experience or prior credit, current unfavorable or unstable financial conditions, and so on. End on a positive note. Encourage the reader to reapply later when his or her circumstances have changed [Philip C. Kolin].

Part 2. Structure of business letters

2.1 Letter structure and placement

A business letter is usually composed of the following elements: heading, date, address, salutation, text, subscription.

A letter can be typed on the organization's form. Any form has its letterhead printed typographically. The letterhead bears the name of the organization or the firm, sending this letter, its address, address for telegrams, telephone, telex, fax. If you do not use this form, write your address (as a sender) on the upper right side of the letter. Do not indicate your name here, if will follow your signature. Russian names of foreign trade organizations are not translated into foreign languages. They are written with Latin letters. Your telephone number may be written below.

The date is written on the right side above (under your address or under a typographical letterhead of the form). In Great Britain the date may be indicated as follows: 7th April, 2001 or 7 April 2001. In the USA it is usually written like this: April 7, 2001.

As a rule, before or after the address of the recipient a reference is indicated which the sender asks to mention in the reply to the letter. A common reference represents the initials of the person who wrote the letter and those of the typist who typed it. The name and address of the recipient (inside address) is written on the left above.

The salutation is written on the left. If you don't know the reader's name, the opening salutation is Dear Sir, Dear Sir or Madam, or Dear Sirs. If you know the reader's name, the opening salutation is Dear Ms... or Dear Mr... . [].

Body is that part of the letter which contains the message or the information to be communicated and therefore the most important part. It must be natural, and simple with logical sequence. It should be stated considering “You Attitude.” For block and modified block formats, single space and left justify each paragraph within the body of the letter. Leave a blank line between each paragraph. When writing a business letter, be careful to remember that conciseness is very important. In the first paragraph, consider a friendly opening and then a statement of the main point. The next paragraph should begin justifying the importance of the main point. In the next few paragraphs, continue justification with background information and supporting details. The closing paragraph should restate the purpose of the letter and, in some cases, request some type of action. [].

The complimentary close is a polite way of ending a letter. There are various styles to write a complimentary close, which are given below:

Yours faithfully

Yours truly

Yours very truly

Yours respectfully

Yours Sincerely”

Sincerely Yours.

In the subscription the expression Yours faithfullyis usually used if you are not acquainted the persons or Yours sincerely if you write to a man (woman) whom you know at least by correspondence. In American English more common are the expressions Sincerely, Sincerely yours. The signature is affixed by hand above the typed name of the author.

Signature is the assent of the writer to the subject matter of the letter and is a practical necessity. It is usually handwritten and given below the complementary close business personnel letter

The person who is sending the letter, his name and address should be given for proper identification. Such identification is placed just after the signature.

Example: …….

Ma Jasii Hossain

Deputy Manager, Sales & Distribution

Sometimes other papers such as price list, catalog, prospectus, order, invoice, railway or lorry receipt, cash memo, check, draft, bill etc. are enclosed with the letter. In such case, a mention should be made of these enclosures in the letter.


Performa Invoice

Bill of Exchange

Bill of Lading.

Sometimes copies of a letter have to be sent to some people other than the addressee also. In such case, the names of those persons should be mentioned.


Copy: 1. Mr Hasan

General Manager, Administration.

2. Mr Salam

Deputy Manger, Sales.

The person taking dictation of the letter and the person typing or composing the letter should be identified by their initials to the end of the letter, e.g. t, & A etc.

Postscript (PS) is something written after the letter is closed, writing PS indicates that the writer had forgotten to include something important in the body of the letter. It is a bad practice to write a PS and it should preferably be avoided.

Parts of letter which is mention above create a good business letter [].

2.2 Letter style and the layout of the envelope

All lines of the letter begin at the left margin.

The dateline, reference line (if used)complimentary close, organization name (if used), author's name, and title begin at the center of the page. The first line of each paragraph may begin at the left margin or may be indented five or ten spaces. All other lines begin at the left margin.

All lines begin at the left margin. Notice that a subject line typed in all capitals, replaces the salutation. A triple line space precedes and follows the subject line. Instead of a complimentary close or company name, the author's name and title are typed in all capitals five lines below the last line of the letter body.

Personal Business Letter Style is appropriate when you write your own business letter on plain paper. Notice that the writer's address appears above the date in the upper right corner, replacing a printed letterhead.

An envelope should be addressed to correspond with the inside address. On a standard business-size envelope, the address should begin four inches from the left edge, ten to fourteen lines from the top.

The address should include the ZIP code one space after the state. Because NO information should appear below the ZIP code, special instructions (such as ATT: Mrs. Smith) should be placed four lines below the return address. Similarly, mailing services, such as Priority Mail or Certified Mail, should be placed below the stamp.

The return address, matching the letterhead, is usually printed on business envelopes []

2.3 Business letter drafting sample



Commerce Zone LTD.A Manufacturer of Quality StationeryPark Avenue, Baridhara, Dhaka.



May 6,04


Inside Address:

Purchase ManagerDEE Publication Ltd.Banglabazar, Dhaka.



Sub : Confirmation of order for 2000 GX Ball pen



Dear Sir,



We are glad to receive your order for 2000 Gx Ball pen dated April 25, 04



We have forwarded your Consignment and will reach on 8th July, 2004. All the Business documents have been sent through Standard Chartered Bank as per your instruction and duplicate is attached herewith for your favor


Complimentary close

We believe that you would settle our dues in time and improve our business Close relations


Signature Block

Yours faithfully(Tahsin Hossain)Sales Manager



Enclosure : Duplicate of Business documents



Copy: A. B. SiddiqueGeneral Manager, AdminTime Publications Ltd.



To sum everything up, business letters are the essential part of our life. There are a lot of types of them in business world. But they have the same structure. This structure includes following points:

- sender's address in a business letter;

- date in a business letter;

- recipient's address in a business letter;

- salutation in a business letter;

- subject line in a business letter;

- body of a business letter;

- greeting in a business letter;

- enclosure in a business letter.


1. Business communication articles [Электронный ресурс]. - Режим доступа: - Загл. с экрана. Свободный. - (Дата обращения: 10.01.2016).

2. Business writing [Электронный ресурс]. - Режим доступа: - Загл. с экрана. Свободный. - (Дата обращения: 8.01.2016).

3. How to Structure an English Business Letter [Электронный ресурс]. - Режим доступа: - Загл. с экрана. Свободный. - (Дата обращения: 10.01.2016).

4. Kolin Philip C. Successful Writing at Work / Philip C. Kolin. - University of Southern Mississippi, 7th edition.

5. Structure of a business letter [Электронный ресурс]. - Режим доступа: - Загл. с экрана. Свободный. - (Дата обращения: 10.01.2016).

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