The Form of a Business Letter
1) FOREVER YOUNG Ltd.
12 Riverside Street, Westbourne, Bedfordshire, UB23 12BC
Telephone: 0191- 522 4258 Fax: 0191- 522 4259
2) The Sales Manager HEALTH & CARE
65 Baker Road Rotterburgh
3) Your ref.:
Our ref: JL/MB
4) 10 September, 2014
5) Dear Sir,
6) We have seen your advertisement in the Daily Post and are interested in anti-age creams, body lotions, and shampoos of all kinds. We would like to sell your products in our country. Please send us your catalogues and price lists. Will you please also state your earliest delivery date, your terms of payment, and discounts for regular purchases.
We look forward to hearing from you.
7) Yours faithfully,
8) Debora Oak
(1) The letterhead. Companies use printed letterheads with the company’s name, address, fax and telephone number. If the company has a logo, it is also printed on the letterhead. If the name of the company does not indicate the type of business it is engaged in, this is usually printed under the company’s name. The following common abbreviations are used in the names of companies: Co. (Company), Ltd. (Limited Liability Company), PLC (Public Limited Company), Inc. (Incorporated used in the USA).
(2) The inside address consists of the name and address of the person and/or company the letter is being sent to. When you know the name of the person you are writing to, this must be written first. If you don’t know the name, the person’s position should be written (The Manager, The Sales Director, etc.). This is followed by the name of the company, then — in a separate line — the number of the building and the name of the street, then — again in a separate line — the city and the postcode, and in the last line the name of the country. Note that in English a person’s name will be preceded by Mr, Miss, Mrs or sometimes Ms (if you don’t know if she is married or not). If the person has a doctor’s degree, you write Dr instead of Mr.
(3) References. You will often find after the inside address a space for references followed by a group of numbers or letters. The letters mean that the letter was written by Debora Oak, and typed by somebody whose initials are M.B. Your ref. refers to the letter which is being answered.
(4) The date. The best way to write a date in English is this: 3rd February, 2013 (the day, the month followed by a comma, and the year). Other forms are: 3 February, 2013; 3 Feb. 1996; 3.2.2013; 3.2.13; or 3/2/13. In America people often write the month first: February 3, 2013 or 2/3/13. To avoid confusion, it is better to write the name of the month in words. For computer use the date is written this way: 20130203.
(5) The salutation is written in the left-hand margin and is never indented. It is followed by a comma in British English and by a colon (:) in American English. The most usual forms are: Dear Sir, (when you don’t know the person’s name), Dear Sirs, (when you write to a company), Dear Madam, (when you write to a woman whose name you don’t know). If you know the name of the person, you have to use it in the salutation (Dear Mister Parker,). In America Gentlemen: is used when you don’t know the name of the person you are writing to.
(6) The body of the letter can be either indented or in the block form (as in our example). In the indented form each paragraph begins about five spaces from the margin. In the block form the paragraphs begin at the left-hand margin. A space is usually left between paragraphs.
(7) The complimentary closing. If you begin the letter with the name of the person, you finish it Yours sincerely, or Sincerely, (followed by a comma). If no name was used in the salutation, the closing is Yours faithfully,. In America, Yours truly, Very truly yours, are used, but Sincerely, or Sincerely yours, are also used.
(8) The signature. The letter concludes with the signature. Under it you can type the name again and the position (beginning with capital letters). Note that in English business letters no stamp is used.