Business Letter
Business Lesson 7
New Vocabulary
attachment
приложение к письму
block format
блочный формат
body of the letter
текст письма
bullet points, bullets
маркеры
certified mail
заказное письмо
coherent
последовательный
concise
краткий, лаконичный
confidential, personal
конфиденциальный, личный
diplomatic
дипломатический, дипломатичный
direct mail, junk mail
рассылка
double space
двойной интервал
enclosure
приложение
formal
формальный, официальный
format
формат, размер
heading
заголовок
indent
отступ, абзац
informal
неофициальный, неформальный
inside address
адрес получателя
justified margins
выравненный по ширине текст
letterhead
фирменный бланк
logo
логотип, фирменный знак
margin
край, поля
memo, memorandum
памятная записка, меморандум
modified block format
модифицированный блочный формат
on arrival notation
уведомление получателя, указанное в конверте
postage
почтовые расходы
proofread
вычитать (проверить на наличие ошибок, неточностей)
punctuation
пунктуация
reader-friendly
удобочитаемый
recipient
адресат, получатель
right ragged
выравнивание текста только по левому краю
salutation
обращение, приветствие
sensitive information
конфиденциальная информация
semi-block format
полублочный формат
sincerely
искренне, с уважением
single spaced
одиночный интервал
spacing
интервал
tone
тон письма
transitions
переходы
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Test your understanding of the Business Letter Vocabulary.
You can compare your answers with answer key below
Read the following article and practise new words and expressions
The structure of a business letter
Whenever you need to communicate with another company or share important news, business letters can present your message in a classic, polished style. Unlike internal memos, business letters are usually written from one company to another, which is why they're so formal and structured. However, letters are also quite versatile, as they can be used for official requests, announcements, cover letters, and much more.

Despite the formality, letters can still have a friendly tone, especially because they include brief introductions before getting to the main point. Regardless of the tone you use in your letter, your writing should remain concise, clear, and easy to read.

The business letter's precise structure is crucial to its look and readability. As you write your letter, you can follow the structure below to create an effective document.

  • Opening: Include your mailing address, the full date (for example, July 30, 2021), and the recipient's name, company, and address. Skip one line between your address, the date, and your recipient's information. Don't add your address if you're using letterhead that already contains it.
  • Salutation: First and foremost, make sure that you spell the recipient's name correctly. You should also confirm the gender and proper title. Use Ms. for women and Mr. for men. Use Mrs. if you are 100% sure that a woman is married. Address the recipient using "Dear," along with their title and last name, such as "Dear Mr. Collins" or "Dear Director Kinkade." If you don't know the recipient's gender, use their full name, such as "Dear Taylor Dean." It is standard to use a comma (colon in North America) after the salutation. It is also possible to use no punctuation mark at all.
  • BODY
  • First paragraph: In most types of business letter it is common to use a friendly greeting in the first sentence of the letter. Here are some examples: "It was a pleasure meeting you at the conference this month.", "I appreciate your patience in waiting for a response."
    After your short opening, state the main point of your letter in one or two sentences: "I'm writing to enquire about...", "I'm interested in the job opening posted on your company website."
    Second and third paragraphs:Use a few short paragraphs to go into greater detail about your main point. If one paragraph is all you need, don't write an extra paragraph just to make your letter look longer. If you are including sensitive material, such as rejecting an offer or informing an employee of a layoff period, embed this sentence in the second paragraph rather than opening with it.
    Final paragraph: Your last paragraph should include requests, reminders, and notes on enclosures. If necessary, your contact information should also be in this paragraph. Here are some common phrases used when closing a business letter: "I look forward to...", "For further details...", "If you require more information..."
  • Closing: Recommended formal closings include "Sincerely" or "Yours truly." For a more personal closing, consider using "Cordially" or "Best regards." Use a comma between the closing and your handwritten name (or typed in an email). If you do not use a comma or colon in your salutation, leave out the comma after the closing phrase.
  • Signature: Skip four lines after the closing and type your name. Skip another line and type your job title and company name. If you're submitting a hard copy, sign your name in the empty space using blue or black ink.
  • Enclosures: If you're including documents with this letter, list them here.
Another important part of the structure is the layout, which determines how the text is formatted. The most common layout for a business letter is known as block format, which keeps all text left-justified and single spaced, except for double spaces between the paragraphs. This layout keeps the letter looking clean and easy to read.

Revision is a crucial part of writing. Review your letter to keep it concise, and proofread it for spelling and grammar errors. Once you're finished writing, ask someone to read your letter and give you feedback, as they can spot errors you may have missed. Also make sure any enclosures are attached to your document and that any hard copies are signed. If possible allow one day between writing and sending your letter. You are more likely to spot any typos or other errors with a fresh eye.

Business Letter example
Wicked Wax Co. Ltd SENDER'S ADDRESS
22 Charlton Way (may be printed company logo and address)
London, SE10 8QY

11th January, 2016 DATE

Ms. Maggie Jones RECIPIENT'S ADDRESS
Angel Cosmetics Inc.
110 East 25th Street
New York, NY, 10021
USA

Your ref: 123 RECIPIENT'S REFERENCE (IF ANY)
Our ref: abc SENDER'S REFERENCE (IF ANY)

Dear Ms. Jones, SALUTATION

Forthcoming Exhibition SUBJECT


First paragraph... BODY OF LETTER

Second paragraph...

Third paragraph...

Yours sincerely, CLOSING

Morris Howard SIGNATURE (HAND-WRITTEN)

Morris Howard, NAME (TYPED),
President TITLE

cc: Brian Waldorf COPY TO
Enc: catalogue ENCLOSURE
Answer the questions to the text
You can compare your answers with answer key below
Watch the video and answer the questions
Answer the questions to the video
You can compare your answers with answer key below
Your homework is to write a business letter using tips. Check yourself with checklist after writing.
Writing Tips
  • Use a conversational tone.
  • Ask direct questions.
  • Double-check gender and spelling of names.
  • Use active voice whenever possible.
  • Use polite modals (would in favour of will).
  • Always refer to yourself as "I".
  • Don't use "we" unless it is clear exactly who the pronoun refers to.
  • Rewrite any sentence or request that sounds vague.
  • Don't forget to include the date. Day-Month-Year (05/07/20) is conventional in many countries; however, to avoid confusion, write out the MONTH instead of using numbers (e.g. 5th July 2020 -- or July 5th, 2020 for American English)
Checklist
  1. Did you read the letter out loud?
  2. Did you allow some time to pass after writing the letter before proofreading it?
  3. Are your requests, needs, concerns clear?
  4. Are there any long sentences that need to be broken into two?
  5. Do you use we incorrectly?
  6. Do all questions contain a question mark?
  7. Did you include the date?
  8. Did you spell the recipient's name correctly?
  9. Have you used a standard business format (e.g. block)?
  10. Have you used passive sentences that could be changed to active ones?
  11. Have you used standard spelling? (e.g. British English or American English)
  12. If it is an important letter (e.g. a cover letter for a resume), did someone else read it for you?
Write your own business letter
Translate the following sentences into English
the first set is mandatory
Compare your answers to the answer key
Answers to the vocabulary test
  1. proofread
  2. recipient
  3. internal
  4. bullet
  5. an enclosure
  6. tone
  7. grammar
  8. memo
  9. letterhead
  10. indent
Answers to the text questions
  1. With block format, all new paragraphs are indented. FALSE
  2. In business letters a salutation is generally followed by a comma or a colon. TRUE
  3. Business letters should be simple and easy to read. TRUE
  4. It is advisable to wait a day between writing and sending an important letter. TRUE
  5. The date on a business letter should appear after the salutation. FALSE
  6. An "Enclosure" note should appear below the typed name of the sender at the end of the letter. TRUE
  7. The first paragraph of a business letter should be comprised entirely of "small talk". FALSE
  8. Contact suggestions generally appear in the closing paragraph of the letter. TRUE
  9. Identifying the audience is one of the first steps in planning a business letter. TRUE
  10. It is considered standard formatting to include the recipient's address before the salutation in a business letter. TRUE
Video answer key
  1. When you're applying for a job
  2. B, C, A
  3. Your address and the dat
  4. The name, title, and business address of the person to whom you're sending the letter
  5. Dear Mr. Finkelstein:
  6. Greeting
  7. A request for a job interview
  8. Polite
  9. Yours truly,
  10. Between the closing and your typed name
The first set
  1. This is the second ATTACHMENT for the Braybrook files.
  2. Are you expecting CERTIFIED MAIL?
  3. It is also argued that DIRECT MAIL is not cost efficient.
  4. The HEADING of the document should read as above.
  5. As agreed, these discussions will be INFORMAL.
  6. I'm going to go to the stationer's to approve Sir Hallam's LETTERHEAD.
  7. We'll also save money on POSTAGE.
  8. Yet a lot remains to be done to make it better and - no less important - READER-FRIENDLY.
  9. This e-mail should contain a SALUTATION.
  10. SINCERELY, Dr. Michael J. Burry.
The second set
  1. I didn't have time to read the whole thing... because it's, like, 600 pages. SINGLE-SPACED.
  2. The chairman said he took it that the BODY of the text of article 4 was acceptable as drafted.
  3. The English copy is enclosed (ENCLOSURE No. 7).
  4. Use an INDENT of 4 spaces, with no tabs.
  5. The Boddingtons two bees LOGO was introduced in 1900.
  6. I think I should PROOFREAD this for you. can i?
  7. We emphasize the importance of giving the fullest possible protection to SENSITIVE INFORMATION received from other countries.
  8. It's not that different, is it, the TONE?
  9. Similarly, text is right-aligned when the direct cursor is placed on the right MARGIN.
  10. I'll e-mail you the BULLET POINTS, get you word perfect.
The third set
  1. I need a CONCISE report on the status of this operation.
  2. Some of them think DOUBLE SPACE means more space between words.
  3. Invalid FORMAT: CSV file only.
  4. The TRANSITIONS from one language to another are also complex.
  5. The RECIPIENT could simply refuse delivery.
  6. You corrected the PUNCTUATION, you didn't write it.
  7. Besides, it sounds so FORMAL.
  8. She was caught copying CONFIDENTIAL files.
  9. In many instances, these efforts have resulted in a more COHERENT approach to the different sectors.
  10. The text is JUSTIFIED at both MARGINS. Leaving a blank line between text produces a new paragraph.
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