Parts of a Business Letter

Learn more about the parts of a business letter below. The formal letter format is also sometimes referred to as the business letter. Business letters can be fully blocked or indented, most companies have however adopted the fully blocked layout below. All the parts of a business letter seen below must be included in a formal letter if applicable.

Formal letter format

Parts of a Business Letter Fully Blocked



                                                                                   Return Address Line 1
                                                                                   Return Address Line 2

                                                                                   Date  (Date)

Mr./Mrs./Ms./Dr. Full name of recipient. (Inside Address)
Title/Position of Recipient.
Company Name
Address Line 1
Address Line 2

Dear Ms./Mrs./Mr. Last Name: (Salutation)

Subject: (Subject line)

Opening Paragraph(Opening Paragraph)______________________



Body ( Body)___________________________________________



Closing Paragraph (Closing Paragraph)__________________________



Closing (Sincerely...) (Closing)

Signature (Signature)

Name (Printed) (Name)
Title  (Title)

Enclosures (Enclosures)
Typist Initials

Parts of a Business Letter

Ensure that all the parts of a business letter as below are included in your formal letter if applicable.

1. Header. Write the return address of the sender here if not using a company letterhead. Leave a line between your address and the date.

2. Date. In all formal correspondence, dates must be written in full. Example 18 September 2009, do not use the condensed format or superscript (3rd). Leave a line between the date and the inside address.

3. Inside Address. Write the company address, the title and specific name of the person you are addressing, the company name, if you are not sure who the letter should be addressed to either leave it blank or  include a title, e.g. "Director of Sport". Leave a line between the date and the salutation.

4. Salutation. Dear Ms./Mrs./Mr. Last Name:, Dear (company title): or To Whom It May Concern: (if recipient's name is not known). You can write the salutation as is or include a coma or colon after the salutation. Skip a line between the salutation and the subject line.

5. Subject. Use bold, italic or underlined script if typing the letter on a computer. Keep the subject clear and to the point. Leave a line between the subject and the body of the letter.

6. Opening Paragraph. The opening paragraph should not be offensive if the letter is one of complaint, and should immediately grab the reader’s attention. State the purpose of the letter clearly. If you are answering an advertisement, name the position and identify the source where you found the advert (“the advertisement for a sports assistant which appeared in the Sunday Times, 11 May 2009.”

7. Body. The body is where you write the content of the letter. Include specific details here such as the date and time, where the incident happened, the product or service involved, descriptions of the staff members who assisted you etc. Skip a line between each paragraph. Skip a line between the end of the body and the closing paragraph.

8. Closing Paragraph. State what you expect in terms of a reply for example “I would appreciate it if you would investigate the matter and revert back to me before ...”. End by thanking the person to whom you have written.

9. Closing. Conclude your letter with Sincerely, Sincerely yours, Yours sincerely, Yours faithfully, etc. Note that only the first word in the closing is capitalised, there is no comma (some people like to include a comma). Leave 3-4 lines between the closing and the printed name for the signature.

10. Signature.  Sign your name here with a black or blue pen.

11. Name. Print your name here. Include your title on the next line if applicable.

12. Title. Write your title or company position immediately below your printed name. Do not skip a line. Leave a line between your title and the enclosure.

13. Enclosures. If you need to attach proof of payments, receipts etc. include the word "Enclosure." If there is more than one type, "Enclosures (#)" with the # corresponding to the # of the specific document.

14. Typists Initials. If someone else typed the letter for you print your initials in capital letters followed by the typist's initials in lower case example DL/gb or DL:gb.


Recommended Links

Example of a cover letter for job application.

Tips for writing a cover letter.

Writing a letter of complaint.

Types of business letters.

Formal letter format.

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