Writing Business Letters
Business letters should be written on good quality, white, unlined paper of a standard size. If you type well, you may type business letters; otherwise, write them in your best handwriting. Center your letter on the page, leaving even spaces for margins around the letter. If the letter is too long for one page continue it on a second page.
Standard business letter form differs from that of friendly and
social letters, as the model shows.
The differences between the parts of a business letter and those of a social or friendly letter are as follows.
The heading of a business letter is written in the same way as that of friendly and social letters.
The name and address of the person or company you are writing to make up the inside address. The person's name and title go on the top line. If you do not know the person's name, you may use a title or even a department: Circulation Manager, Boys' Club Director, Advertising Department. If the person's name and title are fairly short, you can put them both on one line: Ms. Jane Freeman, Principal. When the name and title would extend too far across the page, put the title on the second line:
Mr. Luis Jiminez
Television Advertising Director
The name and address of the company are on the next two or three lines.
Place a comma between a person's name and title, if these are on the same line, and between the city and state.
Skip a space between the inside address and the salutation. The left-hand margins of the inside address and the salutation are even. When you know the name of the person you are writing to, the salutation is usually Dear, followed by the person's title and last name: Dear Dr. Saito, Dear Ms. Fiddle. If you do not know the person's name, the salutation presents a special problem because you do not know whether you are writing to a man or woman. In this case the traditional salutation is Dear Sir or Madam, but it is also acceptable to write Dear, followed by the person's title or by the name of the department or company: Dear Bicycle Safety Director, Dear Advertising Department, Dear Star Motor Company. The salutation of a business letter is always followed by a colon.
The body of a business letter is your message. It should be brief, courteous, and to the point, and include all necessary information. Skip a space between the salutation and the body. The first line of each paragraph may be indented a few spaces to the right, depending on the style used.
Skip a space between the body and the closing of the letter. The left-hand margin of the closing is even with the left-hand margin of the heading. Acceptable closings are Very truly yours.