==Business Letter Activities ----

Anatomy of a Business Letter:
There are two main types of business letters:
  • Full Block Style - Align all elements on the left margin
  • Modified Block Style - Down the middle of the page align the return address, date, closing, signature, and typed name; align other elements on the left margin
Example 1 (below and left) is showing a Modified Block Style business letter, example 2 (below and right) is showing a full block style
example letter
example letter

The following letter parts are basic to all business letters, and are listed in the proper sequential order below.

Letterhead - Stationary printed at the top of the page including the company name, logo, full address, and other elements such as trademark symbols, phone & fax numbers, and an e-mail address. Usually, letterhead takes up about 1.5" at the top of the document.
Dateline - The date is the month (spelled out), day, and year. Business letters can and may be used as a legal document, so the correct date is very important. Most word processing documents will insert the date automatically for you. If you are using Microsoft Word, click - Insert, then Time and Date. Press Enter four times after the date.
Letter Address - The complete address of the recipient of the letter. The letter address usually includes the personal title (Mr., Mrs., Dr., Professor, etc.), first name, and last name of the recipient followed by the company name, street address, city, province, and postal code. Press Enter twice after letter address.
Salutation - The word Dear followed by the personal title and last name of the recipient (Dear Mr. Smith). Use the first name only if there is a close relationship between the sender and recipient (Dear Joan). Press Enter twice after the salutation.
Body - The text that makes up the message of the letter. Single-space the paragraphs and double-space between the paragraphs. Press Enter twice after the last paragraph.
Complimentary closing - A phrase used to end a letter. Capitalize only the first letter. If there is a colon after the salutation, there must be a comma after the complimentary close. Press Enter four times (or more) after the complimentary close to allow for a written signature.
Name and title of writer - Type the first and last name of the sender. The sender's personal title (Mr., Ms., Dr., etc) should be included. Use a comma to separate the job title if it's on the same line as the name. Do not use a comma if the job title is on a separate line. Press Enter twice after the name or title.

John Smith, Coordinator


John Smith

Reference initials - The initials of the person who keyed the letter (xx). Use lower case letters. Use your initials in place of xx. Press Enter twice after the reference initials if addition letter parts follow.
Enclosure notation - An enclosure notation indicates that something is included in the envelope with the letter. The notation may include a description of the items.

Enclosure (Enc.)
Enclosure: Application form
Enclosure: 3

Special Letter Parts - Other special features may be included within a business letter depending on the needs of the document. Click the link below to view the special letter parts of a business letter.

Special Letter Parts

Act. 1
Act. 2