In Order to write a good commercial letter, following principles should be carefully observed.
- The writer of the letter should clearly know in his mind what he wishes to convey to the reader.
- Each and every sentence should be clear in its expression so that there is no chance of ambiguousness.
- Each letter should be as brief as possible. The receiver does not have much time as he is to go through a number of letters every day.
- To be accurate is in your hands and an accurate statement is always appreciated by the reader.
- Be courteous and considerate. This is very important never lose your temper because apart from its annoying your receiver, this will always be a written statement with him.
- Answer promptly. As far as possible, all letters should be replied on the day of their receipt or at the most, next day.
- Use simple language, Always use simple and easy language.
- Spelling punctuation and paragraphing, it may look ridiculous to refer to these matters as they appear very simple, yet a mention has to be made about them as the experience shows that quite a number of letters received are almost illegible awing to these defects. For each subject, a separate paragraph should be used.
Parts of a business letters
A business letter is generally divided into the following six parts:
1. The Heading
2. The inside Address
3. The Salutation
4. The Body of the letter
5. The complimentary close
6. The signature
1. Heading: It comprises on the date and location where the letter was written it also indicates the postal address and date on which the letter was written. The address may appear either in the center or on the right-hand side of the letter. The date however generally appears on the right-hand side proper spacing between the name of the firm and its address and between the address and the date is of paramount importance. A few examples of a heading are given below.
1. ABC Trading Company (________________,)
City, state, Zip Code
2. XYZ Trading Company (________________,)
Address, City, State, Postal Code
Note: It is necessary to write “City, State” when the letter is communicated from country to another country.
2.Inside Address: This comprises name and address of a person or the firm to whom the letter is written and appears on the left-hand
the side of the letter. This corresponds to the address on the envelope whit the only difference that in some cases, the number and name of the street are omitted. This, however, is unwise it may become difficult to locate a reference with the copy of the letter. Proper spacing and punctuation are necessary here as well. The word Steven is generally prefixed to a partnership firm or &Co.
Messrs Steven Trading Co;
Address, City, State, Postal Code
3. Salutation: This appears below the name and the address of the recipient (to whom the letter is written).
The various words used as salutation are:
Sir, Dear Sir, Sirs, Madam, Gentlemen, Dear Mr.- Dear Miss, Dear Mrs.
A salutation in business is followed by a comma (,) Sir: This has become very formal nowadays and is not generally used except by government offices.
Dear Sirs: This type of salutation is used in case of letters addressed to companies or partnership firm where the word Messrs is generally used, and where the letter is addressed to a firm and not to the manager or any other person.
Dear Miss, Dear Mrs. Dear Mr.: These are used only where the writer knows the recipient well and wants to give a personal (friendly) touch rather than being formal as usual.
4. The body of the letter: It is that portion of the letter which contains the message or the information which the writer wants to communicate. The body of the letter should be dealt with in a separate paragraph.
The first paragraph should introduce the subject matter of the letter and where it is a reply, the reference number and date should be clearly mentioned. In the subsequent paragraphs, different topics may be discussed.
5. The complimentary Close: This should always agree with the salutation and it must always be followed by a comma.
The most common forms of complimentary close are:
- Yours faithfully
- Yours truly
- Yours very truly
- Yours respectfully
- Yours Sincerely
- Yours obediently
- Your obedient servant (this form is now seldom used.)
Examples of suitable complimentary close to salutations are:
Sir, Your obedient servant,
Madam, Your obedient servant
Gentlemen, Your obedient servant
My Dear Sir, Yours very truly,
My Dear Sirs, Yours very truly,
Dear Madam, Yours very truly,
Dear Mr. Yours sincerely,
Dear Miss, Yours sincerely,
Dear Mrs. Yours sincerely,
6. Signature: The complimentary close will be followed by the signature of the writer. As far as possible, the signature should be legible; otherwise, the name of the writer should be typed. In some cases, the name of the firm of the company is also mentioned immediately after the complimentary close, but before the signature. Designation of the writer may also be used wherever possible.
Specimen of Structure of a commercial Letter
Some Important Sentences for Openings of Business Letters
AS one, as deeply affected as ourselves, by the present paper crisis that has overtaken the publishing industry, you are aware of the enormous increase in the cost of production of all the dailies and periodicals.
Five years’ experience as a stenographer in the personnel department of a larger industrial firm, qualify me, I believe, for a position with your firm.
I am glad to inform you that your application for admission to this association has been approved.
I m sorry but I cannot accept the book you have sent. It is not the one I ordered.
Jasmine gave me your letter. It was good of you to write me and I appreciate your kind message.
Owing to transport and other difficulties we have decided to close our existing showroom from 5th September.
Sorry! The fault is entirely ours and we must apologize.
Thank you for your order. The goods have been dispatched today and should reach you in about 10 days.
We are glad to have your letter of 4th July along with your quotation.
Will you please let us know if you supply your books on sale or return basis.
Your estimate for painting and decorating my office is satisfactory.
Some Important Sentences for Closings of Business Letters
All the information sent by you will be kept strictly confidential.
Best wishes for the success of your research!
Hurry! The offer last for a week more, Send your orders per return.
I have today returned your book and demand for immediate replacement of a proper copy or refund of my amount.
I look forward with great pleasure to seeing you again in our city, early next month.
Make sure you don’t miss this extraordinary offer. Send back the enclosed card duly signed.
We hope the goods wills safely reach you in good time and that you will have the fullest satisfaction.
We invite you to the opening ceremony on Tuesday, the 5th July at 3 P.M.
We shall be glad to have addresses of Amsterdam manufacturers with whom we can correspond on the subject.
We shall be grateful for prompt compliance of the order as the goods are needed urgently.
We’ll be looking for your cheque in the next week or so.
We, however, do hope that you avoid such unpleasantness in business and will send us your cheque per return.