How To Write a Business Letter in English

Business Letter

There are many different reasons for writing a business letter. However, when learning how to write  business letters in English start by following these general guidelines. Writing a business emails are very similar, but are generally less formal than written business letters.

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: 40 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Use block style - do not indent paragraphs. Generally speaking, personal letters are indented in English to indicate a more informal style. Indent refers to a space before the first word of the first sentence in each new paragraph.
  1. Include address of the person you are writing to at the top of the letter, below your company address. For example:

    Buyers Inc.
    Alan Smith, Director
    28376 Red Ave.
    New York, NY 25009

  2. After the address, double space and include date. For example: June 24, 2012
  3. Double space (or as much as you need to put the body of the letter in the center) and include the salutation. Start with 'Dear' plus  Mr. for men or Ms. for women, unless the recipient has a title such as Dr. Follow with the last name only. For example: Dear Mr. Anders:
  4. State a reference reason for your letter. For example: With reference to our telephone conversation last Tuesday. 
  5. Give the reason for writing For example: I enjoyed our conversation earlier today. I am writing to follow-up with a few questions about your products.
  6. Make any polite request you may have. Start  (i.e. 'I would be grateful if you could include a brochure...') For example: Could we meet next week to discuss the proposal in person? I am available any time between 9 and 2 Monday through Thursday.
  1. If there is to be further contact, refer to this contact (i.e. 'I look forward to meeting you at...') For example: I look forward to seeing you again next week.
  2. Close the letter with a thank you. For example: Thank you for your assistance with our technical difficulties last week.
  3. Finish the letter with a salutation. Formal salutations include: Your Sincerely, Yours Faithfully, Sincerely. Less formal, but respectful salutations include: Best regards, regards, warmly
  1. Include 4 spaces and type your full name and title For example: Jennifer Diligence 
  2. Sign the letter between the salutation and the typed name and title.
  3. Do not include your address if you are using company letterhead. Company letterhead refers to paper used by the company that includes the company address.

Example Business Letter

Buyers Inc.

Alan Smith, Director
28376 Red Ave.
New York, NY 25009


June 24, 2012

Dear Mr. Anders:

With reference to our telephone conversation yesterday. I am writing to follow-up with a few questions about your products.

Could we meet next week to discuss the proposal in person? I am available any time between 9 and 2 Monday through Thursday.

I look forward to seeing you again next week. Thank you for your prompt help with my questions from last week. 

Yours sincerely,

 

Peter Anders

Business Letter Tips:

  1. Keep the letter brief and to the point
  2. Do not use shortened verb forms - write them out (i.e. 'don't instead of do not')
  3. Always keep a copy of correspondence for future reference
  4. Use company letterhead if possible to make a more professional impact.

Important Business Letter Phrases

 

PurposePhrasesExamples
SalutationsDear Mr. / Ms. / Dr. Dear Ms. Smith
Make Reference

With reference to ..

Regarding ...

As we discussed ...

With reference to our conversation this morning.

Regarding our meeting last week.

As we discussed last Tuesday.

Give reasons

I am writing to ...

I would like to ...

I am writing to ask for more details.

I would like to make a proposal. 

Make Polite Request

Could you ...

Would it be possible to ...

Would you mind ...

Could you please send me your latest catalogue?

Would it be possible to discuss the campaign next week?

Would you mind scheduling a meeting for Thursday?

Further Contact

I look forward to ...

I look forward to learning more next month.
Thanking

Thank you for ...

I appreciate ...

Thank you for your advice so far.

I appreciate your help in this matter. 

Close

Yours sincerely,

Best regards,

 

 

Teachers can use this business English letter writing lesson plan to help students practice in class.