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How to Write Letters
Business Letter Formats Everyone Should Know
Most business letters must include a return address (letterhead or your name and address), date, an inside address (receiver’s name and address), a salutation, body paragraphs, and a closing. However, there are several ways to format this information. For example, return addresses can be centered or begin at the left margin or begin at the horizontal center of the page.
There are four basic business letter formats.
Features Sample Letter Full Block All letter parts begin at the left margin. Full Block Modified Block Indented Paragraphs Date, signature, and closing begin at the horizontal center of the page. All body paragraphs are indented. Indented Paragraphs Blocked Paragraphs Date, signature, and closing begin at the horizontal center of the page. All body paragraphs begin at the left margin. Blocked Paragraphs Simplified All letter parts begin at the left margin. This format includes a subject line but omits the salutation and signature. Simplified
Format for Writing Professional Letters
There are several formats for writing professional letters. There are two basic styles of letters: block form and indented form. The samples below will help you determine which style you prefer.
Check Writing Letters for more details on block, indented and simplified letters.
Full Block Form
Name of Receiver
When writing a letter using block form, no lines are indented. Include your name, address, and phone number where you can be contacted, as well as the date. You then include the name and address of the person you are sending the letter to.
With new paragraphs, just skip a line instead of indenting.
Add your phone number where you can be contacted in the last paragraph. If the receiver needs to use a relay service to call you, briefly explain that you are deaf/ hard of hearing and that s/he can call you through relay. Give the receiver his/her state relay number and explain that s/he will need to give the operator your number. Then give him/her your number.
Indented Paragraphs Form
When writing a letter using indented form, indent each paragraph. First include your name, address, phone number, and the date. This information should be located at the top of the page, either in the center, or indented on the right side of the paper. You then include the name and address of the person to whom you are sending the letter.
At the end of the letter, place your signature on the right side of the page. Don’t forget to provide any relay information if necessary.
Blocked Paragraphs Form
When writing a letter using blocked form, indent each paragraph. First include your name, address, phone number, and the date. This information should be located at the top of the page, either in the center, or indented on the right side of the paper. You then include the name and address of the person to whom you are sending the letter.
Simplified Style Form
SUBJECT LINE (use capital letters)
When writing a letter using simplified style form, put the date on the left. Then, put the receiver’s name, and his/her title, company name, and address.
Write a subject line instead of a salutation. The subject line must be in all capital letters.
At the end of the letter, put your name and title, all in capital letters.
YOUR NAMEYOUR TITLE
If you are using block format, you can place your address anywhere on the letter. You can place it at the top of the page (top center or top right side), or you can put your address at the end of the letter after your signature and name, regardless of which format you use.
If you are using block form, you can place the date on the left, in the center, or on the right. However, if you are using the indented form, it is usually better to place the date on the right or on the left. Do not put it in the center.
With the indented form, you can put your signature on the right or left side of the page.
If you want to make your letter stand out, boldly type your name in a larger font at the top of the letter and type your address just below it in a smaller font. Example:
1345 Main Street
Anytown, VA 22879
1345 Main Street
Anytown, VA 22879
The word processing program on your computer might have some standard letter templates that can help you. These programs generally have many different style and format options. Check your template feature or the help desk on your word processing program to see your options. Some keywords you can try are:
create a letter
write a letter
Sourced by Janel Muyesseroglu
Gallaudet Interpreting Services (June 1999). GIS Web. [Online]. Available: http://www.gallaudet.edu/~gisweb/ [June 23, 1999].
Maggio, R. (1990). How to say it. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.
Webster’s New World Office Professional’s Handbook. (5th ed.). (1996). New York: Macmillan.
Yate, M. (1997). Cover letters that knock’em dead. Holbrook, Massachusetts: Adams Media Corporation
Developed by Patrick Peters and Koon Wei Ho
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