Sample Block Letter

     

Letterhead

  Business Communication Center  
  Michael F. Price College of Business
307 W. Brooks, Room 208, Norman, OK 73019
 
     

Dateline

  September 25, 2000

 

     

Inside Address

  Ms. Eudora Beesknees
Visual Concepts, Inc.
5432 Island Avenue
Lawton, OK 73505

 

   

 

Salutation

  Dear Ms. Beeskness:

 

   

 

 

Thank you for your August 29th letter requesting information on how to write a business letter using the block letter format.  Block format is the most common style of business letter, and I am using it in this letter.

As you can see, each part of a block letter begins at the left margin.  Although the paragraphs are set flush left on the page, the text along the right margin is ragged and not justified so that the letter is easier to read.  The paragraphs are single-spaced, but the lines between paragraphs are double-spaced.  In other words, each paragraph is separated from the one above it by one blank line, as are the paragraphs of this letter.

By following these tips and using this letter as an example, you can apply the block format correctly in your business letters.  Enclosed is our free brochure of helpful tips for other common business communication tasks.  If I can be of further assistance, please contact me via E-mail at teacher@ou.edu or by phone at (405)325-5595.

 

 

Complimentary Close
 

 

Sincerely,

 

Handwritten Signature
 

 

 

Sender's
Name

 

Ima Goodteacher

 
 

 

 

Reference Initials
 

 

IG:bt

 

Enclosure Notation

 

Enclosure: Brochure

 
     

Tips to remember:

1. Set the top margin to 0.5 inches, but set the left, right, and bottom margins to 1 inch.
2. Place the dateline two blank lines below the letterhead.  Spell the date fully, such as September 20, 1999.  Don't use 09/20/99.  Avoid th and rd as well.
3. The space between the dateline and the inside address is generally two blank lines but may be increased for short letters.
4. The salutation should be two blank lines below the dateline.  Always place a colon at the end of the salutation, as shown in the sample letter above. 
5. Well-organized letters contain three parts:
  • The first part is the OPENING.  It is generally only one paragraph long and it tells the reader why you are writing.
  • The second part is the BODY.  In one or more paragraphs, give the reader the necessary details and explanations.   This is often a good place to use graphic highlighting, such as bullets, numbers, tables and boldface type to improve readability.
  • The third part is the CLOSING.  This is where you should mention specific action information, such as deadlines and schedules.  Be courteous in the closing.  The closing paragraph should not be confused with the complimentary close (see below) which is a component of the signature block.

 

6. The signature block begins two lines below the letter's last paragraph and includes the complimentary close, the sender's handwritten signature, and the sender's typed name (three to four lines below the complimentary close).  Sincerely is the most common complimentary close.  Always place a comma at the end of the salutation, as shown in the sample letter above.  
7. Reference initials contain the sender's initials in all uppercase and the typist's initials in lower case. Reference initials should only be used if someone other than the sender typed the letter. 
8. Use enclosure notations only when you are enclosing something with your letter.  The notation may be abbreviated as encl. or spelled out fully as Enclosure.  Enclosure notations should appear two lines below the reference initials and may also identify a specific enclosure, such as Enclosure: Writing Tips Brochure.

Adapted from Business Communication: Process & Product, by Mary Ellen Guffey, South-Western College Publishing

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