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Business English: Letters
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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. A
123 Crescent Road, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030
Tel: (201) 555-4567 Fax: (201) 555-4568
& Brown (Luxury Foods), Inc
100 South Street
New York NY 10001
am writing to enquire about the franchise opportunities
you are offering, as detailed in yesterdays Financial
Cook is a medium-size company with ten 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. Cook
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 e-mail details.
2 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.
3 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.
4 In business letters, use a colon (:)
at the end of this line, not a comma (,).
5 Write the subject of your letter here.
- If you dont know the name of the person you are
writing to, put:
or Madam: or
- use their title: Dear
- If you know the name of the
person you are writing to, 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
6 You can also start your letter in a number of other
7 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
- I would like to enquire about/whether
8 You can also close your letter in the following ways:
9 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.
- In a formal letter:
- Sincerely yours,
- In a less formal letter, when you know the person
you are writing to:
- With best wishes,
- Best wishes,
10 cc: means that a copy of the
letter is being sent to the people mentioned.
11 Enclosure or 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 resumé is put together.