Different Letter Format Styles For Essays

Sample Letters

Summary:

This resource covers the parts of the basic business letter and provides three sample business letters.

Contributors:Elizabeth Angeli and Allen Brizee
Last Edited: 2010-08-08 03:53:30

If you are using letterhead, do not include the sender's address at the top of the letter; instead, begin with the date.

Block Format

123 Winner's Road
New Employee Town, PA 12345

March 16, 2001

Ernie English
1234 Writing Lab Lane
Write City, IN 12345

Dear Mr. English:

The first paragraph of a typical business letter is used to state the main point of the letter. Begin with a friendly opening; then quickly transition into the purpose of your letter. Use a couple of sentences to explain the purpose, but do not go in to detail until the next paragraph.

Beginning with the second paragraph, state the supporting details to justify your purpose. These may take the form of background information, statistics or first-hand accounts. A few short paragraphs within the body of the letter should be enough to support your reasoning.

Finally, in the closing paragraph, briefly restate your purpose and why it is important. If the purpose of your letter is employment related, consider ending your letter with your contact information. However, if the purpose is informational, think about closing with gratitude for the reader's time.

Sincerely,


Lucy Letter

Modified Block Format

(Tab to center, begin typing) 123 Winner's Road
                         New Employee Town, PA 12345

                                                      March 16, 2001

Ernie English
1234 Writing Lab Lane
Write City, IN 12345

Dear Mr. English:

The first paragraph of a typical business letter is used to state the main point of the letter. Begin with a friendly opening; then quickly transition into the purpose of your letter. Use a couple of sentences to explain the purpose, but do not go in to detail until the next paragraph.

Beginning with the second paragraph, state the supporting details to justify your purpose. These may take the form of background information, statistics or first-hand accounts. A few short paragraphs within the body of the letter should be enough to support your reasoning.

Finally, in the closing paragraph, briefly restate your purpose and why it is important. If the purpose of your letter is employment related, consider ending your letter with your contact information. However, if the purpose is informational, think about closing with gratitude for the reader's time.

(Tab to center, begin typing) Sincerely,


(Tab to center, begin typing) Lucy Letter

Semi-Block Format

123 Winner's Road
New Employee Town, PA 12345

March 16, 2001

Ernie English
1234 Writing Lab Lane
Write City, IN 12345

Dear Mr. English:

(Indent) The first paragraph of a typical business letter is used to state the main point of the letter. Begin with a friendly opening; then quickly transition into the purpose of your letter. Use a couple of sentences to explain the purpose, but do not go in to detail until the next paragraph.

(Indent) Beginning with the second paragraph, state the supporting details to justify your purpose. These may take the form of background information, statistics or first-hand accounts. A few short paragraphs within the body of the letter should be enough to support your reasoning.

(Indent) Finally, in the closing paragraph, briefly restate your purpose and why it is important. If the purpose of your letter is employment related, consider ending your letter with your contact information. However, if the purpose is informational, think about closing with gratitude for the reader's time.

Sincerely,

Lucy Letter

Use the menu below to view examples of business letter format.

Block Form

 

5 Hill Street
Madison, Wisconsin 53700

March 15, 2005

Ms. Helen Jones
President
Jones, Jones & Jones
123 International Lane
Boston, Massachusetts 01234

Dear Ms. Jones:

Ah, business letter format-there are block formats, and indented formats, and modified block formats . . . and who knows what others. To simplify matters, we're demonstrating the block format on this page, one of the two most common formats. For authoritative advice about all the variations, we highly recommend The Gregg Reference Manual, 9th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001), a great reference tool for workplace communications. There seems to be no consensus about such fine points as whether to skip a line after your return address and before the date: some guidelines suggest that you do; others do not. Let's hope that your business letter succeeds no matter which choice you make!

When you use the block form to write a business letter, all the information is typed flush left, with one-inch margins all around. First provide your own address, then skip a line and provide the date, then skip one more line and provide the inside address of the party to whom the letter is addressed. If you are using letterhead that already provides your address, do not retype that information; just begin with the date. For formal letters, avoid abbreviations where possible.

Skip another line before the salutation, which should be followed by a colon. Then write the body of your letter as illustrated here, with no indentation at the beginnings of paragraphs. Skip lines between paragraphs.

After writing the body of the letter, type the closing, followed by a comma, leave 3 blank lines, then type your name and title (if applicable), all flush left. Sign the letter in the blank space above your typed name. Now doesn't that look professional?

Sincerely,

 

John Doe
Administrative Assistant

Indented Form

5 Hill Street Madison, Wisconsin 53700 15 March 2005 Ms. Helen Jones President Jones, Jones & Jones 123 International Lane Boston, Massachusetts 01234 Dear Ms. Jones: Ah, business letter format--there are block formats, and indented formats, and modified block formats . . . and who knows what others. To simplify matters, we're demonstrating the indented format on this page, one of the two most common formats. For authoritative advice about all the variations, we highly recommend The Gregg Reference Manual, 9th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001), a great reference tool for workplace communications. There seems to be no consensus about such fine points as whether to skip a line after your return address and before the date: some guidelines suggest that you do; others do not. Let's hope that your business letter succeeds no matter which choice you make! If you are using the indented form, place your address at the top, with the left edge of the address aligned with the center of the page. Skip a line and type the date so that it lines up underneath your address. Type the inside address and salutation flush left; the salutation should be followed by a colon. For formal letters, avoid abbreviations. Indent the first line of each paragraph one-half inch. Skip lines between paragraphs. Instead of placing the closing and signature lines flush left, type them in the center, even with the address and date above, as illustrated here. Now doesn't that look professional? Sincerely, John Doe

For further information about letters see Writing Cover Letters.

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