Feb 28 2011

What are the six parts of a business letter?

Category: Business & Economy


A business letter is a formal letter that isn’t limited to business affairs but is often used for business purposes. Business letters should include a margin of 1 inch on all sides and will always be typed on 8 1/2 in. x 11 in. paper. A business letter will typically have six parts. Their alignment will often be determined by the style of business letter you are writing. The styles and elements of a business letter are listed below.

Business Letter Styles

Heading – The heading should include a return address (your address) immediately followed with the date on the last line. Other information such as phone numbers, fax numbers, E-mail addresses, or other relevant contact information may also be included. A line should be skipped after the heading.

Inside Address – This is the address of the recipient along with their title and name. It is always positioned on the left margin. If folded correctly it should show through the window on a standard business envelope. Skip a line after the inside address before the greeting.

Greeting/Salutation – The greeting or salutation will typically be formal in a business letter. The most common way to open a business letter is with Dear, the person’s name (with or without a title), and a colon. A last name should always be used if it is known. Use a first name only if their gender is unclear. The greeting in a business letter can end in a colon or a comma. This format should be kept in the closing as well.

Body – The body is the written text of your business letter. It should always be typed and spaces should be added between paragraphs. Indented paragraphs should be used in a semi-block format only.

Closing – The closing is a short acknowledgment that should end with a colon or comma. Try to keep it as simple and concise as possible. It should be configured at the same horizontal position as the date and one line after the last body paragraph. Here are a few of the universal ways to close a business letter.

  • Yours truly
  • Yours sincerely
  • Regards
  • Sincerely
  • Sincerely yours
  • Thank you
  • Best wishes
  • All the best
  • Best of luck

There should be four lines left between the closing and the sender’s name. This leaves room for the signature.

Signature – The signature is simply the signed version of the senders’ name. A signature will always be included in a business letter regardless of format.

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