What Are the Different Sections in a Business Letter? (2022)

What Are the Different Sections in a Business Letter? (1)

Published: July 30, 2018

Updated: August 24, 2022

Kelly Spors

  • business letters
  • business letters formats

If you own or run a small business long enough, the odds are that you are going to have to write actual business letters to demonstrate your seriousness, whether that involves making a formal complaint or delivering a heartfelt thanks. Unlike with email, the proper letter format is still important when it comes to conveying professionalism, and that includes knowing the parts of a business letter that you need to include.

There are actually many things you need to keep in mind when it comes to knowing how to write a business letter. Understanding business and professional letter formats is crucial. Not only do you need to understand more standard business letter formats, but also you might need to figure out something less well known, such as the format of a memo.

This article focuses on the components of a business letter. What are the basic parts? What is essential? What is optional? And how do you format the parts?

What Are the Seven Basic Elements of a Business Letter?

What Are the Different Sections in a Business Letter? (2)

Wondering how to write a business letter? Experts generally agree that there are seven parts of a business letter:

  1. Sender’s address. Optimally, you’ll want to have a printed company letterhead. Letterhead, similar to having a company website, conveys that your business is legit. But even if the address is simply typed at the top, including your address plays a practical purpose, because you don’t want the recipient to have to look up your address in order to send a response.
  2. Date. Whoever receives the letter needs to know when the letter was written. It’s best to use a standard U.S. format. (Here’s an example: September 20, 2018.)
  3. Recipient’s address. Include the recipient’s address so that you have the information readily available for printing out the envelope. A full recipient address also helps ensure the letter doesn’t get lost in the office shuffle wherever you are sending it. The first line should be the name, including any honorifics such as Mr., Ms., Dr., etc. The second line is the recipient’s job title. Their company’s name goes on the third line. The remaining lines include street address, city, state, and ZIP code.
  4. Salutation. A “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam” is a good way to ensure that your letter goes nowhere. Find out the name of the person who should receive the letter, even if you have to do some searching on Google or LinkedIn, or call the company.
  5. Body. Time is money in the business world, so get down to business and quickly make your case or communicate your message. Stay professional, be clear and concise, and quickly convey the point of the letter.
  6. Closing/signature. Stick with a more formal closing such as “Sincerely” or “Thank you.” You should only capitalize the first word of the closing. Remember to follow the closing with four lines of space in order to make room for your signature, which demonstrates your personal stamp of approval of the letter’s contents.
  7. Enclosures. If there are additional items to enclose with the letter, it’s best to list them, so that the recipient remembers what was included with the letter. Include enclosures three lines below your signature or one line below the typist’s initials. Use this style if, for example, you want to indicate that there are two enclosures: Enclosures (2). If you want to list each separate item, use this style: Encl: product brochures (2), product photos (3).

Essential Parts of a Business Letter

Out of all of the parts in a letter, there are two things about how to write a business letter that can make or break a letter’s effectiveness: It needs to have the name of a human being in the recipient address and salutation, and the body of the letter needs to quickly get to the point and persuade the reader.

Use the first paragraph of the letter to quickly and clearly state the purpose of the letter. In the second paragraph, provide the empirical evidence or persuasion to back up the point made in the first paragraph. By the third or fourth paragraph, repeat the main point of the letter and then close with a call to action.

What Are the Optional Parts of a Business Letter?

What Are the Different Sections in a Business Letter? (3)

There are a number of optional parts in a business letter that you might find helpful. They include:

  • Attention line. If the letter is going to a large company, an attention line can provide the bit of necessary emphasis you need so that the letter goes where it needs to go. Write “Attention:” and then the name of the recipient (for example, “Attention: Human Resources”). The attention line should go two lines below the recipient address.
  • Subject or reference line. This part can focus the recipient on the letter’s actual purpose. Start with a “Subject:” or a “Re:” or write in all caps.

What Is the Format for a Business Letter?

Now that we’ve covered the parts in a business letter, let’s look at how they’re put together. “Block style” is one of the most widely used formats. There are no indentations and everything is aligned to the left. If you’re questioning how formal a business letter should be, it’s probably best to play it safe and go with block format. Here is an example of a block business letter format.

How Many Types of Letters Are There?

How the different parts of a business letter go together depends on the type of letter being sent. And there are many types of business letters. They include:

  • Cover letters
  • Thank you letters
  • Complaint letters
  • Adjustment letters
  • Bad news letters
  • Acknowledgement letters
  • Memos

No matter what type of business letter you are writing, having the necessary parts in a business letter formatted in the proper way will help you reach the initial threshold of delivering a professional-looking document that the recipient will take seriously.

As a small business owner, you’re an expert, too. We want to hear about how you feel about business letters. Let us—and your fellow SBOs—know by sharing a commentbelow.

16 Responses to "What Are the Parts in a Business Letter?"

FAQs

What are the different parts of a business letter and what are their purposes? ›

There are six parts to the business letter: the heading, the recipient's address, the salutation, the message, the closing, and the signature. The heading includes the writer's address and the date, and all addresses are written following the U.S. Post Office format.

What are the different types of business letters? ›

Here are some of the most common types of business letters and when to use them:
  • Cover letters. ...
  • Letters of recommendation. ...
  • Interview follow-up letters. ...
  • Offer letters. ...
  • Sales letters. ...
  • Letters of commendation. ...
  • Letters of resignation. ...
  • Thank you letters.
16 Aug 2021

What is the main section of the letter? ›

The body of letter, the main section, communicates your business. It is comprised of three parts. Use the first paragraph as an introduction to explain why you are writing. Use the following paragraphs to lay out your points, providing more information and specific details in logical order.

What is the first part section of a business letter called? ›

Salutation. A “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam” is a good way to ensure that your letter goes nowhere. Find out the name of the person who should receive the letter, even if you have to do some searching on Google or LinkedIn, or call the company.

How many parts of business letter are there? ›

Every business letter has 12 parts. Each part of a business letter has to follow some rules and regulations to maintain the business letter.

What are different types of letters? ›

Different Types of Letters

Informal Letters, also known as Social Letters, include Friendly Letters and Notes of Invitations. Formal Letters, also known as Business Letters, include Letters of Application, Letters to Higher Authorities, and Letters to Newspapers.

What are the 5 important parts of a letter? ›

English Plus outlines five parts of a personal letter, not used in a business setting.
  • The heading. This includes the address, line by line, with the last line being the date. ...
  • The greeting. The greeting always ends with a comma. ...
  • The body. Also known as the main text. ...
  • The complimentary close. ...
  • The signature line.
7 Dec 2020

What are the 5 features of business letter? ›

Business Letters and Memos: Basic Features of a Business Letter
  • It is brief.
  • It is to the point. It conveys its main points clearly to the reader and suggests follow-up action.
  • It is polite.
  • It is written in relatively formal language.
  • It contains no errors.

What are the 10 types of business letter? ›

20 Types of Business Letter Formats
  • Sales Letters. Sales letters are the most common types of letters formats in business. ...
  • Order Letters. ...
  • Complaint Letters. ...
  • Apology Letter. ...
  • Demand of Delivery Letter. ...
  • Adjustment Letters. ...
  • Inquiry Letters. ...
  • Follow-up Letters.
7 Aug 2021

What is the business letter format? ›

The most common layout of a business letter is known as block format. Using this format, the entire letter is left justified and single spaced except for a double space between paragraphs. Modified Block. Another widely utilized format is known as modified block format.

What business letter means? ›

A business letter is a letter from one company to another, or such organizations and their customers, clients, or other external parties. The overall style of letter depends on the relationship between the parties concerned.

What is the most important part of the business letter? ›

Body of the letter:

It is the most important part of the letter and usually consists of three to four paragraph. The first (or the opening paragraph) begins the letter and builds up a relationship with the reader. The second paragraph contains the proper subject matter. It is the main paragraph of the letter.

What are the two types of letters under letter writing section? ›

Letter-writing is a skill that has to be developed. In general there are two types of letters: formal, that are written to convey official business and information and informal, which are personal letters to communicate with friends and family.

Which part of a letter consists of the main content? ›

Body of the letter is considered as the main part of the letter and it contains the actual message of the sender. It should be precise and written in clear words.

What sections are part of a business letter quizlet? ›

Terms in this set (10)
  • Dateline (Today's Date) The current day's date.
  • Inside Address. The name and address of the person to whom you are sending the letter. ...
  • Salutation (Greeting) Dear (name or business). ...
  • Body. This is where you tell them why you are writing them a letter.
  • Closing. ...
  • Signature. ...
  • Return Address. ...
  • Block Format.

What are the parts of a business? ›

The 5 Parts of Every Business are the basis of every good business idea and business plan.
...
At the core, every business is fundamentally a collection of five Interdependent processes, each of which flows into the next:
  • Value-Creation. ...
  • Marketing. ...
  • Sales. ...
  • Value-Delivery. ...
  • Finance.

What are the three main parts of a business letter? ›

Components of a business letter

Sender's address: The sender's address is your address or the address of your business. Date: Include the date you wrote and sent the letter. Recipient's address: This is the address of the person you're sending the letter to.

What are the 7 types of letter? ›

Some of the types of personal letters
  • Cancellation Letter.
  • Condolence Letter.
  • Farewell Letter.
  • Friendly Letter.
  • Get Well Letter.
  • Holiday Letter.
  • Love Letter.

How many different letter are there? ›

The English Alphabet consists of 26 letters: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z.

What are the 6 elements of writing a formal letter? ›

A formal letter should include the sender's address, date, receiver's address, subject, salutation, body of the letter, complimentary closing and finally, the signature with name (in block letters) and designation.

How many parts are in a letter? ›

The seven parts of a business letter include: the heading, date, address of recipient, salutation, body, complimentary close and signature.

What are the 7 characteristics of a good business letter? ›

7 Characteristics of Effective Business Letters
  • It omits needless words. ...
  • It omits useless humor. ...
  • It focuses on “you” (the reader) and not you (the writer). ...
  • It is addressed to a real person. ...
  • It has the appropriate tone. ...
  • If and when necessary, it asks for the order. ...
  • It provides your contact information.

What are the 8 characteristics of business letter? ›

When businesses write letters, it's important that they keep several key points in mind. Business letters often contain 8 C's -- clarity, conciseness, consideration, courtesy, concreteness, cheerfulness, correctness and character.

What are the 9 characteristics of business letter? ›

Characteristics
  • Simplicity: A business letter should be simple. ...
  • Conversational style: An effective letter is one that gives an impression of face to face communication. ...
  • Clarity of goal: The writer should be clear about what he wishes to convey. ...
  • Public relation: ...
  • The 'You' attitude: ...
  • Courteous: ...
  • Persuading: ...
  • Sincere:

What are the 5 types of formal letter? ›

Types of Formal Letter
  • Letter of Enquiry.
  • Order Letter.
  • Letter of Complaint.
  • Reply to a Letter of Complaint.
  • Promotion Letter.
  • Sales Letter.
  • Recovery Letter.
23 Oct 2022

What are the 5 types of business documents? ›

These are some of the most widely encountered business documents:
  • Contracts. ...
  • Documentation of bylaws. ...
  • Non-disclosure agreement. ...
  • Employment agreement. ...
  • Business plan. ...
  • Financial documents. ...
  • Transactional documents. ...
  • Compliance and regulatory documents.
11 Aug 2021

What are the 7 C's of business letter? ›

The seven C's are: clarity, correctness, conciseness, courtesy, concreteness, consideration and completeness.

What are the steps of a business letter? ›

How to Format a Business Letter
  1. Write the date and your recipient's name, company, and address.
  2. Choose a professional greeting, like “Dear,”.
  3. Craft a compelling introduction.
  4. State your intent in the letter's body text.
  5. End your letter with a strong call-to-action.
  6. Choose a professional closing, like “Sincerely,”.
1 Nov 2018

Why is a business letter important? ›

The Importance of Business Letters

Business letters document positions, agreements or intentions, which is something that simply isn't possible in verbal communication. They also create a persona of the company, reflecting its values and professionalism.

How do you set up a business letter? ›

How to format a proper business letter
  1. Gather all necessary contact information. Start by inserting your contact information and the recipient's. ...
  2. Select your salutation. ...
  3. Clearly define your purpose in the body paragraph. ...
  4. Formally conclude the letter and end with your signature.

What are the 6 sections parts of an application letter? ›

Key Elements of a Cover Letter
  • Information about you.
  • Date.
  • Contact Person's Name, Title, Employer, and Address.
  • Salutation.
  • Opening Paragraph.
  • Middle Paragraph.
  • Second Middle Paragraph.
  • Contact Information and Closing.

What are the parts and sections of a business plan? ›

It may include a table of contents, company background, market opportunity, management overviews, competitive advantages, and financial highlights. It's probably easiest to write the detailed sections first and then extract the cream to create the executive summary. Try to keep it to just a couple of pages.

How many sections are there in the letter what are they? ›

The seven parts of a business letter include: the heading, date, address of recipient, salutation, body, complimentary close and signature.

How many parts is business letter divided? ›

Every business letter has 12 parts. Each part of a business letter has to follow some rules and regulations to maintain the business letter.

In which part of the business letter we include details about the subject? ›

Body: The body paragraph or paragraphs provide details about the letter's subject or purpose. Closing statement: The closing paragraph of the letter summarizes and concludes the message. Complimentary close: Use a professional phrase along with your signature.

What are the 3 sections of a letter of application? ›

This is what a letter of application should include:

Opening paragraph introducing yourself and your application. Two body paragraphs explaining why you're a great candidate and your motivation behind the application. Closing paragraph with a call to action directed at the employer.

What are the 4 sections of a job application? ›

There are usually four parts of a job application:
  • Personal information.
  • Employment information, also called work history.
  • Education and training.
  • References.

What are the main sections of a business? ›

The 5 Parts of Every Business are the basis of every good business idea and business plan.
...
At the core, every business is fundamentally a collection of five Interdependent processes, each of which flows into the next:
  • Value-Creation. ...
  • Marketing. ...
  • Sales. ...
  • Value-Delivery. ...
  • Finance.

How many sections are there in business? ›

There are typically nine sections in a traditional business plan outline.

Videos

1. Writing a Formal Business Letter
(GCFLearnFree.org)
2. Routine Business Letters - Overview
(BA 200 Managerial Communication - BBA - Professor Corte)
3. Parts of Business Letter
(Educational Hub)
4. Types of Business letter in business communication | Fybaf business communication
(X-ray brain (Degree Study))
5. How To Write A Business Letter
(Autry Learn Now)
6. Lecture 15: Types of Business Letter
(IIT Roorkee July 2018)

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