HUNTER COLLEGE READING/WRITING CENTER
BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL WRITING
Writing a Business Letter
Depending on the purpose of your business letter, there are several formats from which you can choose. The most widely used business letter formats are full block, alternate block, modified block, and memo. Remember, the format of the letter helps to establish its tone.
I. FULL BLOCK FORMAT
This is the most modern of the formats and the one most widely used; its clean direct look lends itself well to technical communication, and its simple vertical format tends to reduce the error rate since you simply do not have to be concerned about horizontal spacing to indicate new paragraphs.
Eight Components of Full Block Format
1. The heading includes the date the letter is written. If you do not use letterhead stationery, you need to include your address over the date.
2. The address above the salutation is the letter recipient's full address. This address should match the address on the envelope.
3. The salutation is the line that begins "Dear. " Use Mr. for men and Ms. for women. Try to obtain a name to
whom you can address your letter. If you cannot obtain a name, you should use "To Whom It May Concern" as a salutation. You can also include an attention line two spaces down from the recipient's address as well as a subject line (if necessary):
Attention: Technical Director
Subject: Purchase Order #41763
4. The body of your letter contains the text of your message.
5. The complimentary close should appear two lines below the last line of the body, at the left margin. Capitalize only the first letter of the first word and always end the line with a comma. You can use a variety of closures including Yours truly, Sincerely, Sincerely yours, Best regards or Best wishes.
6. Your signature should be in blue or black ink. Allow four vertical spaces for your signature.
7. The identification line contains your typed name, and, if you have one, your title. Depending on the purpose of the letter, you can position your phone number or social security number in place of your title.
8. Enclosures or distribution of the letter is placed two vertical spaces below the identification line.
EXAMPLE OF FULL BLOCK FORMAT
Category: Personal Finance