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A business letter is usually used when writing from one company to another, or for correspondence between such organizations and their customers, clients and other external parties. The overall style of letter depends on the relationship between the parties concerned. Reasons to write a business letter include: to request direct information or action from another party, to order supplies from a supplier, to identify a mistake that was committed, to reply directly to a request, to apologize for a wrong, or to convey goodwill. A business letter is useful because it produces a permanent written record, is confidential, and formal.
There are two main styles of business letters:
Side, top and bottom margins should be 1 to 1 1/4 inches (the typical default in programs such as Microsoft Word). One-page letters and memos should be vertically centered.
No special character or font formatting is used, except for the subject line, which is usually underlined.
[SENDER'S ADDRESS] (optional) [SENDER'S PHONE] (optional) [THE SENDER'S E-MAIL] [DATE]; [RECIPIENT W/O PREFIX] [RECIPIENT'S COMPANY] [RECIPIENT'S ADDRESS] (Optional) Attention [DEPARTMENT/PERSON], Dear [RECIPIENT W/ PREFIX]: [First Salutation then Subject in Business letters] [CONTENT.] [CONTENT.] [COMPLIMENTARY CLOSING (Sincerely, Respectfully, Regards, etc.)], [SENDER] [SENDER'S TITLE] Enclosures ([NUMBER OF ENCLOSURES])
Business letters conform to generally one of six indentation formats: Standard, Open, Block, Semi-Block, Modified Block, and Modified Semi-Block. Put simply, "Semi-" means that the first lines of paragraphs are indented; "Modified" means that the sender's address, date, and closing are significantly indented.
In a standard format letter, (1) uses a colon after the salutation, (2) uses a comma after the complimentary closing.
In an open format letter, (1) uses no punctuation after the salutation, (2) uses no punctuation after the complimentary closing.
In a Block format letter, (1) all text is aligned to the left margin, (2) paragraphs are not indented.
In a Semi-Block format letter (1) all text is aligned to the left margin, (2) paragraphs are indented. (3) paragraphs are separated by double or triple spacing.
In a Modified Block format letter, (1) all text is aligned to the left margin, except for the author's address, date, and closing; and (2) paragraphs are not indented. The author's address, date, and closing begin at the center point.
In a Modified Semi-Block format letter, (1) all text is aligned to the left margin, except for the author's address, date, and closing; and (2) paragraphs are indented. The author's address, date, and closing are usually indented in same position