Business Letters (Part 1): The Language of Basic Business Letters

Business letter writing is a very common practice in our organization, but only some units in the MOF write business letters in English. We use business letters to convey any number of non-personal purposes, such as negotiations, contract agreements, questions regarding certain things or to arrange meetings. Sometimes we also need to write them to promote our unit, share updated information or just communicate with users and other units. We should know that the basics of good business in English are very easy to learn, provided you follow a few simple tips. This article will provide some phrases that are commonly found in any standard business letter. The phrases are used as a kind of frame and introduction to the content of business letters. At the end of this article, we can also learn some tips on the guidelines for business letters. Once we understand these basics, we can use this guide to various types of business letters for our organization needs. The Start

If we do not know who we are writing to, use:

Dear Sir or Madam,

or we address the letter to the position that we contact to;

Dear Personnel Director,

Dear Head of HR Department,

Dear the Director of STAN,

If you know the addressee and have a formal relationship with, use the complete name or the family name:

Dear Dr. Pangaribuan,

Dear Mr. Indra Raharja

Dear Ms. Feni iranawati,

It’s very important to use Ms for women unless asked you are asked to use Mrs or Miss.

If the addressee is a close business contact or friend, we can use his or her first name:

Dear Frank,

Dear Stefhanie,

The Reference

With reference to your advertisement in the Times / your letter of 23 rd March / your phone call today, …

Thank you for your letter of March 5th .

The Reason for Writing

I am writing to inquire about
/ apologize for
/ confirm


Could you possibly…?

I would be grateful if you could …

Agreeing to Requests

I would be delighted to

Giving Bad News


I am afraid that

Enclosing Documents

I am enclosing

Please find enclosed

Enclosed you will find

Closing Remarks

Thank you for your help.

Please contact us again if we can help in any way /there are any problems /you have any questions.

Reference to Future Contact

I look forward to …
hearing from you soon / meeting you next Tuesday / seeing you next Thursday.

The Finish

Yours faithfully, (If you don’t know the name of the person you’re writing to)

Yours sincerely, (If you know the name of the person you’re writing to)

Best wishes,

Best regards, (If the person is a close business contact or friend)

Ok now we have read some phrases in a formal business letter. The next is a sample letter using some of these forms:

Pusdiklat Keuangan Umum

Jalan Pancoran Timur II No. 1 Jakarta 12770

021-7996109 Fax:


August 29, 2011

Jason Flintstone

Education Manager

TOEFL Specialists Inc.

Jalan Proklamasi 17 Bandung

Dear Mr. Flintstone:

With reference to our telephone conversation today, I am writing to confirm your request for our Handbooks for DTU TOEFL (iBT) Preparation.

The books will be delivered within two days via TIKI and should arrive at your institution in about three days.

Please contact us again if we can help in any way.

Yours sincerely,

Ilhan Lasahido

Head of Planning and Development Division


Here’s How:

• Use block style – do not indent paragraphs.

• Include address of the person you are writing to at the top of the letter, below your company address.

• After the address, double space and include date

• Double space (or as much as you need to put the body of the letter in the center) and include the salutation.

• Include Mr. for men or Ms for women, unless the recipient has a title such as Dr.

• State a reference reason for your letter (i.e. ‘With reference to our telephone conversation…’

• Give the reason for writing (i.e. ‘I am writing to you to confirm our order…’)

• Make any request you may have (i.e. ‘I would be grateful if you could include a brochure…’

• If there is to be further contact, refer to this contact (i.e. ‘I look forward to meeting you at…’)

• Close the letter with a thank you (i.e. ‘Thank you for your prompt help…’)

• Finish the letter with a salutation (i.e. ‘Yours sincerely,’)

• Include 4 spaces and type your full name and title

• sign the letter between the salutation and the typed name and title


• Keep the letter brief and to the point

• Do not use shortened verb forms – write them out (i.e. ‘don’t instead of do not’)

•  Always keep a copy of correspondence for future reference

That’s all for now. In the next edition, we are going to learn the parts of business letters and some examples of them. See you later.

2 thoughts on “Business Letters (Part 1): The Language of Basic Business Letters

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