A business letter is also known as an official or formal letter. Some of the distinguishing features of a formal letter are: (i) the two addresses of the addressee and the addresser, (ii) the salutation, etc
This is the style of display of a letter. There are two styles which we will consider here – the fully blocked and the semi-blocked layouts.
Fully-blocked style: in this style
- If you are using a letterhead paper fill in the dotted lines for the Reference and the day.
- If you are using a plain A4 paper, begin typing the Reference and the date on the 12th single line space from the top edge of the paper.
- If you are using plain A5 paper begin typing the Reference and the date on the 9th single line space from the top edge of the paper.
- Single line spacing should be used for lengthy letters, with double line spacing between paragraphs.
- Double line spacing should be used for short letters, with double line spacing between paragraphs.
- Note that the addressee’s name and address must be typed in single line spacing.
8th December, 20…….
Mr. John O
187, Dawudu Road
This letter is typed in fully blocked style; in single line spacing but with double line spacing between the paragraphs
Other features of a fully – blocked letter style are that each part of the letter beginning from the Reference to the enclosure sign (where any), begins from the left margin.
For comparison the example of a semi-blocked or indented style of Business letter is as follows:
Our Reference ________ Date_______
The Vice Principal
Better-life Grammar High School
7, Adetunde Street
We have received your letter stating that you have not received the books sent to your bookshop last week.
We wish to assure you that if the books are not received by Wednesday next week we shall send you new ones on Friday and hope you will return the first consignment wherever they are received by you.
We apologize for any inconvenience this delay has caused your teachers and students.
- Business Letter with Subject Heading: Usually all business letters carry subject heading. This is the title of the letter printing to what it is all about. Subject headings help for proper filing and referencing. Example
Application for Distributorship
In reply to your advertisement in the Weekly News of Wednesday 12th of March, 20….., we hereby apply as a distributor to your company……
- Business Letters with Enclosures: Where a parcel, cheque or any important item is attached to a letter attention is drawn to this by the sign Enc. Or Attach typed of the end of the letter after the complimentary close. It reminds the receiver of such a letter to look out for the item
- Business Letters Typed on Letterhead: almost all business letters are typed on official letterhead of the organization concerned. The letter head is the printed paper carrying the organization logo, address, bankers, telephone lines and other particulars. Such letterheads are informative and make the business letters more formal or business – like.
- Carbon Papers: At least one carbon paper must be used for every business letter. A carbon paper enables the typist to make a duplicate copy from the typewriter of the letter being typed without the need for a photocopy machine. A carbon copy of every business letter must be retained and filed for reference hence the use of carbon paper.
- Flimsy Papers are specially light typing sheets to be used when several copies of a letter are to be produced using the carbon paper. The flimsy papers thus enable the several typed copies to be clear and legible.