Parts of Business Letters

Parts of Business Letters


A business letter consists of 11 parts. They are letterhead, date line, inside address, attention line, salutation, body of the letter, complimentary closes, signature line, and enclose reference. However, most of the letters we write today usually consist of seven parts of business letters which are letterhead, date line, inside address, salutation, body of the letter, complimentary closes, and signature line. A personal letter can consist of less than those of mentioned above. See the following image to see different parts of business letters and their location in the letter.



Letterhead  | Parts of Business Letters


The first part of a letter is a letterhead. It consists of a name and address of a firm that sends a business letter. It sometimes consists of telephone number, address of branch of offices, names of CEO and It is usually printed on the top of the paper.

Examples :


115 Downing Street


Phone     : 1499
President: Francois Carlos          Established : 1999

Date Line | Parts of Business Letters


The second part of a letter is a date line. It consists of date, month, year or (month, date, year). If there is no letterhead, make sure you put  the name of the city before the date line. Examples :

23rd November, 2017    or  November  23rd, 2017

28 July, 2017                 or    July 28, 2017

If there is no letter head in a letter, you must write a full address of the sender, example:

115 Downing Street, London

June 28th, 2017

Inside Address | Parts of Business Letters


The third part of a letter is an inside address. It usually consists of 3 or 4 lines:

The name of a person or the firm you are   writing  to.

Number, the  name of the street

The name of city ( A country when applicable)

Examples :

Mr. Prana Pramudya

115 Downing Street


Mmes. Robert Thompson & Audrey

112, Downing Street

London E.C. 2, England

Attention Line

The fourth part of a letter is an attention line. Business letters are usually  more addressed to companies than to one person. But, sometimes this form of written communication should take place between company and  company  or between company and a person and vice versa. In this situation we need to use what people call “attention line”. We mostly use attention line for the following three reasons :
  1. We want the letter directly delivered to a certain person in a company.
  2. We do not know the person’s name we are writing to and we decide to write to the company they work in.
  3. We want the letter to reach the person we are writing to faster.
Attention line is usually put after the inside address. Example:

Gifted Restaurant
16771 Fifteen Avenue
New York, N. Y.

Attention  :  Miss Rachel White


The fifth part of a letter is a salutation. It is usually to greet the recipient in a polite manner. American and British people have different customs in writing the punctuation for the salutation. See the difference:

British Style


Dear Sir,


Dear Sirs,

Dear Madam,



American Style



Dear Sir:



Dear Madam:


If you know the person you are writing to, you can use the style below which is more personal or informal:

Dear Mr. Brown,

My dear Madam Tiara,

Subject Line

The sixth part of a letter is a subject line. A subject line is usually capitalized and underlined:






Body of The Letter


The seventh part of a letter is the body. A  good letter body should fulfill the following requirements :

Concise / short : Never make up sentences just to make a letter look longer.

Simple : Avoid making up complex sentences. Try to make up a simple sentence.

Systematic : Always put your ideas in order from A to Z. ( From opening paragraph to closing paragraph there should not be any repetitions)

Body of the Letter usually consists of 3 paragraphs :

the opening paragraph

the content paragraph

the closing paragraph


Complimentary Closes

The eight part of a letter is complimentary closes. Complementary closing/closes usually consists of 2 lines:

Closing Words/Expressions

Name of Firm

Yours truly,
Wisnu & Ninda LTD
Truly Yours,
Wisnu & Ninda LTD

Signature Line | Parts of Business Letters

The ninth part of a letter is a signature line. A business letter signature line   usually consists of   signature  of  the     person    who    writes    the business letter.   Below the signature we usually put our  name.  Below our name, sometimes we put our  title  or  position  in  the  company   or institution  we work in.   Mostly,  this  is  just  to inform the person who has not known us before.
Examples :

Adam Williams
Customer Relation Manager


Adam Williams

Identification Initials | Parts of Business Letters


The tenth part of a letter is an identification initials. Identification Initials are usually used by large-sized companies for administrative purposes only. These initials mainly have two functions :
a. to give information about the secretary or the author of a business letter.
b. to provide data in case of some incidents or errors.
Identification Initials are generally put at the left-hand bottom, just after the signature line. They are sometimes put at the same line with the date line.
Example :
J.B./m. h.
The identification initials mean that the author is Jack Brown and the secretary/clerk is Meredith Harrison.

Enclosure Reference | Parts of Business Letters


The elevent part of a letter is enclosure reference. When our business letter has one or more attachments, such as price list, collection letter, brochure, invoice, resume etc., we must make sure that we state it in the main letter. The statement that we send another paper other than the main letter is called enclosure reference. This enclosure reference is usually shortened as Enc. or ENC. or Inc. or Encl. or Incl..

Example :
Encl.   : 1 (one) Illustrated price list
Incl.    : 1 (one) Invoice
Enc.    : Our 2010 Catalog
Inc.     : Cheque no. 954646/B

See our collection of business letter samples here.


Business Letter Elements


Business Letter Closings

Layout of Business Letters

Letter Phrases

Optional Business Letter Parts





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