Examples of How to Write English Business Letters
English Business Letters
Writing English business letters is not the easiest task. Especially for foreigners finding out how to write English business letters properly it can be challenging. Here you learn how to do it the right way. I will take you through every step first with examples sentences. At the bottom of the hub you can find the best websites for Business Example letters that are completely pre-written. You can use those as a reference point.
Looking for informal letters? Read about that in my How to write informal letters in English with Examples
Some Basic Tips / Advice on the structure, content and use of language
When writing an English Business letter it is very important to use correct and proper language. Remain polite at all times. It is probably usually better to be a little conservative (especially when you are from say The Netherlands (very straightforward) and you are writing to English or American people. It is also important to formulate short and clear sentences.
Format of a Business letter in English
The Structure or format of an English Business letter is rather simple. In the first paragraph you mention the reason of why you are writing. There you can also introduce yourself. In the next paragraphs you write about what you said you would write about in the first paragraph. In the final paragraph you formulate a concluding paragraph with a closing sentence. (More about this below).
Examples of common punctuation and spelling mistakes
The not correctly inserting of the ' in verbs. For instance: wont in stead of won't.
The use of the word can and can't. It is better to say could or cannot.
Not inserting the comma before and when you start a new clause in a sentence. Always use a comma there.
Address in an English Business Letter
Your own address:
In an English letter the address should be on the top left. Some companies and organisations prefer to put the company's name and logo on top in he middle. When you choose to do this, the date is supposed to be on the right.
Example of your own address
- For the individual:
- Name: Bill Gates
- Number & Streetname: 33 Prettystreet
- Postal Code & City: DD 108 London
- Country: The United Kingdom
If you would like you can also add an e-mailadress, website or phonenumber. Instead of the personal name you can also put your company's name or organisation's name.
Address of the recipient of the business letter
- Name: Mr. Mark Evans (always use the person's correct title - more below)
- Number & Streetname: 33 Mainstreet
- Postal Code & City: LK 203 Brighton
- State: East Sussex
- Country: United Kingdom
The date comes straight after the address of the addressee. There is no need for city names. Just the date will be enough. The first letter of each month is always with a capital letter.
Example of the date of an English business letter
- English letter: 17 September, 2012
- American Letter: 16 September, 2012
Opening of a business letter
In an English business letter it is important to use the write titles for addressing the receiver. You have to bear in mind that married women are addressed with Mrs and unmarried women are called Miss. You can also choose to use Ms. when you are not quite sure. Moreover, in English there is no dot after Mr or Miss, but in American English there is.
Potential titles: Mr, Dr, Mrs, Miss, Ms
Also remember that the academic titles not necessarily correspond with the titles in your country of origin.
Salutation in an English Business letter
The salutation in an English Business letter is almost always Dear,. When you know the name of the recipient, you should use his full name.
Examples of salutations
- Dear Mr. Black,
- Dear Professor Black,
- Dear Dr. Black,
- Dear Donald Black,
- Dear Ms. Black,
If you do not know the name of the recipient:
- Dear Sir / Madam,
- If it is an abstract person you can use the following salutations:
- Dear Customer,
- Dear Resident,
- Dear All,
- Dear Student,
Opening Sentences - examples
- Thank you for your letter regarding the ...
- We are writing in response to...,
- With reference to your letter of 20 December, we..
- In reply to your letter of..., we
- I am writing to enquire about...,
Closing sentences - examples
In the closing paragraph you conclude with a final closing sentence. Usually you use this to repeat your most important point or to make plans for meeting again. Also to make clear what kind of actions you except from the recipient.
- If you have any further enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact us,
- We look forward to building a strong business relationship in the future,
- We look forward to the meeting on the 4th of November,
- Once again, We are terribly sorry for taking up so much of your time,
- Once again, we apologise for any inconvenience,
- Once again, thanks for your attention and your valuable time,
- We await your reply with interest,
- We look forward to hearing from you,
- We look forward to seeing you,
Signature - English Business letter
When you know the name of the recipient:
- Your sincerely,
When you do not know the name:
- Your faithfully,
- Your Signature
- Name ( + title)
- (can also choose to add your job position)
An example of a Business Letter in English on paper
How to approach it from a Dutch perspective: Business Letter in English