Business Letter Writing: Theory, Parts and Structure

11/04/2020 0 By indiafreenotes

A business letter is a letter from one company to another, or between such organizations and their customers, clients, or other external parties. The overall style of letter depends on the relationship between the parties concerned. Business letters can have many types of content, for example to request direct information or action from another party, to order supplies from a supplier, to point out a mistake by the letter’s recipient, to reply directly to a request, to apologize for a wrong, or to convey goodwill. A business letter is sometimes useful because it produces a permanent written record, and may be taken more seriously by the recipient than other forms of communication.

Writing for a business audience is usually quite different than writing in the humanities, social sciences, or other academic disciplines. Business writing strives to be crisp and succinct rather than evocative or creative; it stresses specificity and accuracy. This distinction does not make business writing superior or inferior to other styles. Rather, it reflects the unique purpose and considerations involved when writing in a business context.

When you write a business document, you must assume that your audience has limited time in which to read it and is likely to skim. Your readers have an interest in what you say insofar as it affects their working world. They want to know the “bottom line”: the point you are making about a situation or problem and how they should respond.

Business writing varies from the conversational style often found in email messages to the more formal, legalistic style found in contracts. A style between these two extremes is appropriate for the majority of memos, emails, and letters. Writing that is too formal can alienate readers, and an attempt to be overly casual may come across as insincere or unprofessional. In business writing, as in all writing, you must know your audience.

In most cases, the business letter will be the first impression that you make on someone. Though business writing has become less formal over time, you should still take great care that your letter’s content is clear and that you have proofread it carefully.

Parts of Business Letter

Regardless of their purposes, most business letters have some basic parts. The orderly arrangement of various parts of business letter is known as the structure of letter. The appearance of letter often reveals the character of the writer and his organization. So business letter should be arranged in a suitable manner that can draw reader’s attention. A well-structured business letter can also enhance the reputation and goodwill of the company.

A business letter will be more impressive if proper attention is given to each and every part of the business letter.

There are 12 Parts of Business Letter

  • The Heading or Letterhead
  • Date
  • Reference
  • The Inside Address
  • Subject
  • Greeting
  • Body Paragraphs
  • Complimentary Close
  • Signature and Writer’s Identification
  • Enclosures
  • Copy Circulation
  • PostScript

Let us discuss the parts of a business letter.

  1. The Heading or Letterhead

It usually contains the name and the address of the business or an organization. It can also have an email address, contact number, fax number, trademark or logo of the business.

  1. Date

We write the date on the right-hand side corner of the letter below the heading.

  1. Reference

It shows the department of the organization sending the letter. The letter-number can also be used as a reference

  1. The Inside Address

It includes the name, address, postal code, and job title of the recipient. It must be mentioned after the reference. One must write inside address on the left-hand side of the sheet.

  1. Subject

It is a brief statement mentioning the reason for writing the letter. It should be clear, eye catchy, short, simple, and easily understandable.

  1. The Greeting

It contains the words to greet the recipient. It is also known as the salutation. The type of salutation depends upon the relationship with the recipient.

It generally includes words like Dear, Respected, or just Sir/Madam. A comma (,) usually follow the salutation.

  1. The Body Paragraphs

This is the main part of the letter. It contains the actual message of the sender. The main body of the mail must be clear and simple to understand. The body of the letter is basically divided into three main categories.

Opening Part: The first paragraph of the mail writing must state the introduction of the writer. It also contains the previous correspondence if any.

Main Part: This paragraph states the main idea or the reason for writing. It must be clear, concise, complete, and to the point.

Concluding Part: It is the conclusion of the business letter. It shows the suggestions or the need of the action. The closing of the letter shows the expectation of the sender from the recipient. Always end your mail by courteous words like thanking you, warm regards, look forward to hearing from your side etc.

  1. The Complimentary Close

It is a humble way of ending a letter. It is written in accordance with the salutation. The most generally used complimentary close are Yours faithfully, Yours sincerely, and Thanks & Regards.

  1. Signature and Writer’s Identification

It includes the signature, name, and designation of the sender. It can also include other details like contact number, address, etc. The signature is handwritten just above the name of the sender.

  1. Enclosures

Enclosures show the documents attached to the letter. The documents can be anything like cheque, draft, bills, receipts, invoices, etc. It is listed one by one.

  1. Copy Circulation

It is needed when the copies of the letter are sent to other persons. It is denoted as C.C.

  1. PostScript

The sender can mention it when he wants to add something other than the message in the body of the letter. It is written as P.S.

Structure of a Business Letter

Business letter is one which appears well, is written well and communicated well.

It includes several parts and the parts are arranged in sequence to make it meaningful. Arranging various parts in proper sequence in letter is called structure of business letter. The structure is heading, opening, body and closing:

  1. Heading

Heading is used to convey a positive image of the company.   Because it includes the company’s address, phone and often email. It is not necessary to include that information again in the body of the letter. Sometimes the writer will provide a direct phone number or personal email address if the action statement calls for direct communication.

Inside Address

Two spaces below the date are the full name and business address of the person to whom the letter is addressed.  If several people are receiving the letter, all their names and addresses should appear.  The address on the letter should be the same as the address on the envelope.  As with the date, there can be legal consequences for inaccuracies.  The address on the letter is presumed to be the one to which the letter is actually sent.  If it is incomplete or inaccurate, a recipient can make the case that the letter was mailed to the incorrect address as well.


Full date must be included in the letter. The date can be any agreement being made Because the letter is a formal document, often used in contract situations, the date can be extremely important.  The letter is usually dated the same day on which it is mailed, but whatever agreements are included in the letter are considered effective as of the date of the letter.

  1. The opening


The formal greeting always starts with “Dear” followed by the person’s title and last name, and ending with a colon.  This requires finding out whether the recipient is properly addressed as Mr., Ms. Or Dr. Attempts to avoid the issue (i.e. Substituting the title with the person’s first name, using impersonal phrases like “Mr. Or Ms” or “To Whom It May Concern”, or eliminating the salutation entirely) indicate that the writer doesn’t actually know the recipient of the letter at all, making the letter a “form” letter, a much less formal document.

  1. Body

Context Paragraph

The first paragraph of the letter will define the context, providing a clear statement of the letter’s topic and purpose.  Avoid starting a letter flowery language that doesn’t explain what the letter is about. In social letters or in letters written for businesspeople, it is appropriate to begin a letter with a question about the family or a comment about recent weather or world events.  U.S. businesspeople, however, generally prefer to find out right away why the letter has been written.)

Content Paragraphs

The typical letter uses one to three paragraphs to provide the information relevant to its purpose.  Each paragraph should cover a single topic or point.  In the case of a long letter that covers multiple pages, it is appropriate to break the information into sections with internal headers or bullets to provide clarity.

Action Paragraph

The final paragraph of the letter provide a clear, straightforward statement of the action that will be taken be the writer, requested of the reader, or expected by a third party.

  1. Closing

Two spaces below the final paragraph of the letter, a traditional closing line, generally “sincerely” or “respectfully,” ends the letter.  If the situation calls for a warmer tone, the closing might be “cordially,” “best wishes,” or “regards.”


A four-line space allows room for a written signature immediately below the closing, then the sender’s full name is typed, with the full business title (sometimes with the department or division as well) on the next line.  The signature on a business letter signifies that the writer is taking responsibility for fulfilling any commitments being made.  Thus, even when the sender and recipient know each other well, a full signature is used.

When writing on behalf of a team or department, type the group’s proper name immediately above the written signature of the team’s representative.