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RESEARCH GUIDES ACC Home Page

Writing Effective Business Letters: Parts of a Business Letter

Guidelines for writing business letters that will transact business quickly, effectively, and courteously

Parts of a Letter

4455 Turnbolt Ave 
Austin, Texas 78713
RETURN ADDRESS:  Always provide your address so that your reader can contact you.
23 February 2008 DATE:  The date is useful for record-keeping.
Underwood Computers
11213 Technology Blvd
Houston, Texas 77078
RECIPIENT ADDRESS:  Give the reader's name and address as they appear on the envelope in which your letter is mailed.
Dear Mr. Underwood: SALUTATION or attention line:  Address the reader by name punctuated with a colon. When writing to a manager you do not know by name or to a department, use an attention line. (Example: "Attention Claims Manager.") Avoid stuffy "Dear Sir" or "Dear Madam" salutations.
I am writing this letter to express my appreciation for the wonderful assistance we received from your staff during the past month. INTRODUCTION:  Begin your letter with a short statement of your subject and reason for writing.
Your salespersons did a terrific job in analyzing our company's needs and providing us with options which were well within our budget for the project. The equipment was shipped in a timely fashion and the installation was as easy as we were told it would be. When a few minor problems arose, your technical assistance staff were very responsive and the problems were quickly resolved over the telephone. YOUR TEXT:  Explain your subject fully and clearly. Be accurate and don't waste your reader's time with unnecessary details.
Please thank all of the people who were instrumental in getting the project up and running on time. Your assistance meant a great deal in our being able to finish according to our published timeline. CLOSING:  End your letter by saying something helpful or courteous to your reader. If you thank your reader, explain why.
Sincerely, COMPLIMENTARY CLOSE:  "Sincerely" is a good choice. Punctuate your close with a comma.
signature example YOUR SIGNATURE
Joseph Goodenhour A TYPED COPY OF YOUR NAME

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