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How to write Business Letters?

Tips and Tricks

Business letters are official letters dealing with such subjects as enquiry, ordering, transfer of money, reference, request, booking, complaint, and apology. Business letters are formal in nature. Nothing in such letters should sound too personal or too intimate; what matters is: setting your letter our correctly, keeping to the point, and maintain the necessary formal tone.

Layout of a Business Letters

  1. The writer’s address is written in the same way as in a personal letter.
  2. The date appears in the same place and in the same form.
  3. The address of the person/company addressed to is written (after the date) against the margin on the left-hand side.
  4. The greeting is quite different from that of a personal letter. It is always Dear Sir if you are writing to an official who is a man. If you know that the official is a lady, you should greet her as Dear Madam, If you are writing to a business firm, and not to any particular official, greeting is Dear Sirs. The greeting (e.g. Dear Sir,) is followed by a comma.
  5. The subject, with which the letter deals, is indicated by a business heading that is written in the middle of the writing space between the salutation and the first paragraph. It is underlined. The heading makes the filing of the letter easier.
  6. An immediate reference is made in the opening sentence of your letter to previous communication (if any) to enable the addressee to identify your correspondence. A reference is made to the subject of the letter if there is no previous correspondence.
  7. The body of the letter may begin at the normal distance from the margin that a new paragraph begins. Divide the body of your letter into paragraphs.
  8. The concluding sentence normally refers to the main topic of the letter.
  9. The most common form of subscription is Yours faithfully followed by a comma.
  10. Use your full signature in business letters; i.e., either initials or the first name plus the surname.
  11. Below your full signature, write clearly, within brackets, your full name.

Here are some suggestions for opening sentences that might be used in business letters:

  • Thank you for your letter…..
  • Would you please send me…..
  • I should like to (order, enquire, find out)…..
  • I wish to apply for the position of….., advertised in the…..
  • I am afraid I have to complain about…..
  • I wish to apologies for the behavior of a member or our staff…..
  • I shall be glad if…..
  • I shall be grateful if you will send as soon as possible…..

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Subject Matter

  1. A formal letter should be brief and to the point: Business letters deal with a particular subject like ordering goods. There is no need to great creative or imaginative skill in this type of assignment. Keep to the point. Do not include any thing unless it has a direct bearing on the matter under discussion.
  2. Let your letter be clear: So that the reader knows exactly what you want. You must make sure to give all the information that is likely to be required or else you may get more letters asking for additional details. If you are ordering for a book write the name of the book, its author, edition, publication etc.
  3. Maintain the necessary formal tone: This is not the type of letter to establish intimae personal relationship. Be business-like use a simple and straight forward style which tries to convey exactly what it states
  4. Be polite in your expression: This principle holds good even if you have to lodge a complaint. You must learn to make a complaint to make complaint without being rude. It should always be the sort of letter which you would not be offended on receiving. Politeness earns the sympathy of the reader.
  5. Set your letter out correctly: Most of the business letters are written to someone you are not acquainted with or whom you have not met or contacted before. Therefore, be accurate in your language, expression, spelling and punctuation. The facts, figures and details must be correct.

Here is an example of a formal letter.

Winsor palace

145,City Park Street

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Bangalore

30th May 2009

To

The Manager

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Biometric Evaluation Pvt.Ltd

48, Marine Drive

Mumbai

Sub – (Enquiry- Biometrics Fingerprint Time attendance device, No. 5795Z/92)

Dear Sir,
Thank you for your letter No. Ebio/10/158 dated 20th May 2009 enclosing your catalogue. I am thinking of buying a ‘Biometrix ‘ Time attendance device, No.B156/45 referred to in your catalogue, but there are two points about which I am not clear. I should like to know whether it is suitable for Industrial and automobiles sector; and also whether it can detect wet fingers, or whether there is an extra charge for it. Kindly let me know whether you have any branch or authorized shop in Bangalore where I could examine the Biometrix device and see its working. Furthermore, I would like to know whether you give any discount to us.

If you will be good enough to supply the information referred to above, I shall let you know at once whether I wish to by the device or not.

Thanking you
Yours faithfully,
M. Malhotra

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