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English: Business Letters
Communicating with people in a business
context often requires a more formal style than when writing to friends
letters typically avoid spoken language, and include the use
of full forms instead of contractions (e.g. I am
writing not Im writing) and a number
of set phrases.
Below you can find an example letter
and notes explaining its features. These notes also include some useful
set phrases used in business letters.
COOK & CO. LTD.
123 Kings Crescent, Brighton, BR3 6JF
Tel: 0222 123 456, Fax: 0222 123 555
& Brown (Luxury Foods) Ltd
100 South Road
London SE1 3PL
Our ref: CC/mt/08/02
am writing to enquire about the franchise
opportunities you are
offering, as detailed in yesterdays
P.Cook is a medium-size company with 10 years experience in the catering business. We believe we have much to offer your
organization because of our specialized services and established clientele, and wish to explore a mutually beneficial franchise arrangement. I enclose a
prospectus for your information.
look forward to hearing from you in the near future.
cc P. Cook, T. A.
1 The name of the company and its address, phone, and
fax details generally appear at the top of the page, together
with any Internet and email details
2 Put the address of the recipient on the left-hand side.
If you know the name of the person and his/her title,
add these above the address too
3 The date can appear on the left-or right-hand side of
the letter, though the most usual style is to have everything
aligned to the left
4 Add the recipients and your own file references if
needed. Ref is short for reference
5 You can start your letter in one of the following ways:
6 Write the subject of your letter here. Re
comes from Latin, and means with reference to
- If you dont know the name of the person you are
writing to, put:
Dear Sir/Madam, or Dear
Sir or Madam
- If you know the name of the person, put:
Dear Mr [surname]
(for a man)
Dear Ms [surname]
(for a woman).
Avoid using Mrs
or Miss unless the person
you are writing to has already used the title themselves
in a previous letter.
Dear [first name and surname]
is less formal but is becoming more common, for example
Dear Jennifer Marsh
7 You can also start your letter in a number of other
8 Give further details about the purpose of your letter
- Thank you for your letter
- I am writing in response to
to inform you that/of
to complain about
- Further to my letter of 16th
- I would like to enquire about/whether...
9 You can also close your letter in the following ways:
10 You can write the following expressions before your
- Thank you in advance for your
- I would be most grateful if
you could inform me
- Please let me know if
phone to confirm the details.
- I look forward to hearing
from you/receiving your reply.
11 pp in the example letter means
that the letter was signed by Mandy Taylor on behalf of
- If you dont know the
person you are writing to:
- Yours faithfully,
- Yours truly,
- If you know the person you are writing to:
- Yours sincerely,
- Other, less formal, ways of ending your letter:
- With best wishes
- Best wishes
12 cc means that a copy of the
letter is being sent to the people mentioned.
13 Enc means that documents are
being enclosed with the letter.
in the series
In the next issue of the magazine we
will focus on how a CV is put together.