Business Letter Format - What You Need to Know



Business letters have three common formats. Master each business letter format and you will have structures for your writing that looks professional and appealing on the page.

Letters have up to seven parts, depending on the letter in question.

They are always in the same order:

  1. Letterhead
  2. Date
  3. Recipient name and address
  4. Greeting
  5. Body
  6. Closing
  7. Post script
Some businesses require a particular format for letters. Others allow you to choose the format you prefer.

The styles are:

  • Block Style
  • Modified Block
  • Semi-Block Style

Block Style

Block style is the simplest business letter format. In block style, the information is all left justified, except the letterhead, which is usually centered, depending on the style of the stationery.
Date

Recipient Name
Recipient Address
City, State ZIP

Dear Recipient:

Here is the body of my letter. No indenting of the paragraphs. Instead, double space between the paragraphs so they don't all run together. It's very easy to master.

Thank you for reading.

Sincerely,


Writer

P.S. This is the end of this sample.

Modified Block Style

In modified block style, the date and closing of the letter are to the right of the page. Otherwise, the style looks like block style.
                                                               Date

Recipient Name
Recipient Address
City, State ZIP

Dear Recipient:

Here is the body of my letter. No indenting of the paragraphs. Instead, double space between the paragraphs so they don't all run together. It's very easy to master.

Thank you for reading.

                                                               Sincerely,


                                                               Writer

P.S. This is the end of this sample.

Semi-Block Style

The third style of business letter format is semi-block style. This one differs from the other two in that the first line of each paragraph is indented. Otherwise, it is identical to modified block style.
                                                               Date

Recipient Name
Recipient Address
City, State ZIP

Dear Recipient:

       Here is the body of my letter. Indent the paragraphs. You will still, double space between the paragraphs so they don't all run together. It's very easy to master.

       Thank you for reading.

                                                               Sincerely,


                                                               Writer

P.S. This is the end of this sample.
Semi-block style is most commonly used for personal letters, but still appears in business correspondence. Block and modified block styles are the most popular business letter formats in use today.

As you get more comfortable with creating professional letters, you will find you prefer one format more than the others. This is not a problem unless your employer expects you to use a different format. Odds are, if that is the case, you will become comfortable with that format as well.


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