Professional Communication

● Letter Writing

↪ Elements of letters

↪ Content

  1. Understanding of Business Letter
  2. Physical Appearance of letter
  3. Ents of Letter

Business letter

▪ A business letter is a formal written document through which companies try to correspond with their customers, suppliers, bankers, shareholders, and others. They are sometimes called snail- mail. Business letters are written for various purposes such as informing, congratulating, requesting, ordering, enquiring, complaining, making an adjustments, applying for a job, and selling a product.

● Understanding the basics of letter writing [Physical Appearance]

  • The letter is like an ambassador. As an ambassador represents the country, the letter represents the firm sending it. The physical appearance of the letter is as important as its content because the pleasant appearance of a letter leads the addressee to read it with firm attention. So, one should follow such rules to make the physical appearance attractive while writing a business letter.


↪ The selection of a paper for writing a business letter is dependent on the taste and requirement of the firm. The following aspects should be kept in mind while selecting a paper.

1.Quality: While selecting a paper, good quality matter a lot not economy! Letters should normally be typed on good bond white papers as they look graceful.

2.Colour: White is the most preferred colour of paper for writing business letters with black print. This combination is selected as it is very convenient to read. Occasionally light coloured papers are also used in writing letters.

3.Size: 8 x 11” and 5 x 8” are the common size of paper used for business letters. This size suits office drawers. Big sizes are awkward to handle and small sizes look cheap.

4.Continuation Sheet: When a letter needs more than one page, continuation sheets are used for the second and subsequent page. The quality, colour, and size of continuation sheet should be the same.


  • As most business firms have electric typewriters or computers, a handwritten letter is out of fashion in modern commercial communication.
  • An effective letter can be typed on a computer where correction, editing, redrafting, paging, numbering, highlighting, capitalizing etc. can be made quickly and easily.
  • The greatest advantage of typing on computer is that the visuals like graphs, tables, charts etc. can be easily done. Besides, the photocopy of a printed letter looks like an original one.


  • Though there are no rigid rules about margins, proportionate margins give letters good look.
  • On the left side and at the bottom, the margin should be of at least one inch, while on the right that should not be less than half an inch.
  • There should be double the space between two paragraphs in case of single space between lines.


  • The size of the paper and envelop and the number of ensure should be kept in mind while folding the letter.
  • As too many folds spoil the look of the letter. One should give minimum folds to the paper.
  • When window envelopes are used, the letter is folded in such a way that the inside address can be through the transparent piece of paper.


  • The size, colour and quality of the envelop depend on the paper used for writing the letter. Medium size envelopes are used.
  • The letter is so folded that the addressee’s postal address can be read thoroughly through the transparent piece.


  • The details written on the envelop are known as superscription. It contains the sender’s name and address (on the left), the receiver’s name and address (on the right) and mailing instruction (if any) on the top of the envelop.

● Standard Elements

  • Letterhead or heading
  • Date
  • Reference number
  • Confidential or personal notes
  • Inside Address
  • Attention line
  • Salutation
  • Subject
  • Body of the letter
  • Complimentary close
  • Signature
  • Post Script
  • Enclosures
  • Identification initial
  • Carbon notation
  1. Letterhead: this contains the return address with the organization’s name, full address, email, telephone, and fax numbers. Sometimes, it may be necessary to include a line, after the address and before the date for phone number, fax number, email address, or something similar. Often a line skipped between the address and date. Letterheads are in fact designed with a lot of creativity and imagination, as they create the first glance brand image of the organization.

▪ However, when you write your job application letter, you cannot have the company’s letterhead; you can write your address first and then the receiver’s address with one line space in between. These addresses should be well aligned with the left hand margin as shown below.

Snigdha Mathews

245, Civil Lines

Mirza Ismail Road

Jaipur 302004

25 January 2019

The Managing Director

Torrent Pharmaceutical Ltd.

Ahmedabad- 380009

2. Date:

↪ Date is written two spaces below the heading. There are two styles of writing date.

-British style= ordinal numbers= DD-MM-YY

2nd July, 2008. — closed punctuation

2nd July 2008- open punctuation

-American style= cardinal numbers= MM-DD-YY

July 2, 2008 — closed punctuation

July 2 2008- open punctuation

Note: Abbreviations shouldn’t be used while writing months and if used, use them correctly; for example, Jan. Feb. Mar. Aug. Sept. Nov. Dec. etc…

3. The Inside Address

↪ This is the address you are sending your letter to. Make it as complete as possible so that the letter reaches to the right person in time. Before writing the recipient’s address, leave one line space. Include titles and names if you know them. This is always written on the left margin.

Dr Judith Briganja


Department of Biotechnology

Agricultural University, Hisar

Mr Deepka Gilhotra

Assistant Manager

Amul Dairy Products


4. Attention

↪ An attention line refers the letter to the person or department in charge of the situation covered. The word Attention is followed by the name of the individual or department. Do not abbreviated the word Attention.

↪ The attention line is placed two spaces below the last line of the name and address of the addressee, either write it with the left margin of the letter or in the center of the page.

The General Manager

Shine Gems Limited

Jawahalal Nehru Marg

Meerut- 250006

Attention Mr Dilip Dewan

Attention: Dept. of English

5. Salutation

↪ This is nothing but greeting. The greeting in a business letter is always formal. It normally begins with the word ‘dear’ and always includes the person’s last name. For example,

Dear Professor Chakraborty

↪ Use a first name only if the title is unclear i.e. if you do not know whether the person is male or female, it is better to address as,

Dear Soumya or Dear Steller

6. Subject/ Subject line:

↪ Subject line can be considered as an optimal as well as essential part of letter. However, the subject line is omitted in many official letters. But , it would be preferable to include the SUBJECT LINE.

↪ It contains the purpose of the correspondence. It is positioned below salutation line.

↪ In some business or official letters the subject line is positioned between inside address and the salutation. The subject line should be very compact and concrete in nature.

7. The Body of the letter:

↪ The body is written as text. A business letter is never handwritten. Skip a line betwee the paragraphs. Skip a line between the greeting and the body and also between the body and the close.

↪ The Body of the letter contains the actual contents of the business or official letter. Bodny of the letter is divided into THREE PARTS.

1.Operating paragraph or lead

2.Main paragraph

3.The closing paragraph

8. The Complimentary close:

This short, polite closing ends with comma. It is either at the left margin or its left edge is in the center. It begins at the same column the heading does.

9. Signature Line:

Skip two lines and type out the name to be signed. This includes a middle initial, but does not have to. Women may indicate how they wish to be addressed by placing Miss, Mrs. Ms. Or similar title in brackets before their names. The signature should start directly above the first letter of the signature line in the space. Use blue or black ink.

10. Enclosure notation:

↪ It is located with the notation enc., encl., enclosure (3), or 3 encs.

11. Postscript

↪ It is included two spaces below last text on the page. It is written as P.S. and then a short sentence. A postscript is an afterthought, that occurring after the letter has been written and signed.

12. Reference Number

↪ It is useful to refer to the previous letters which are related to the current letter. Adequate space might have been provided for this reference number in the letterhead.

13. Carbon Notation:

↪ When other people are to receive a copy of the same letter, their names are noted either by their ranks or by alphabetically. It is written below the enclosure. Type or write “CC” before names if sending a “Carbon Copy” and “PC” for photocopy.

14. Confidential and personal notes:

▪ Type these words on the left-hand side just above the Recipient’s Address in capital fonts as written above. This means that the letter should be opened and read only by the addressee. That means that this letter contains some important and confidential matter which others should not read. By typing these words, I make it clear that others have no business with the letter.

15. Identification Initial:

↪ When a letter has been dictated to an assistant it should be initialed. Both writer and assistant are acknowledged with their personal initials. The writer’s will appear in uppercase letters and the assistant’s will appear in lowercase letters in one of the following ways:

·EIB: pjc

  • IMK/pjc

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