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Q: What are the elements of a business letter?

Answer: Apart from the main content or message, important elements of a business letter are:

  • Letter Head or Heading
  • Reference Number
  • Date
  • Inside Address
  • Mode of Address
  • Salutation
  • Body of the letter
  • Complimentary Closing
  • Signature
① Letter Head or Heading: Heading contains information about the firm, its address etc. Usually it provides email, telephone number, fax, website details etc. If it is registered company, it is good to provide Company Identifier (CIN) number also.

② Reference Number: Usually every business letter carries a reference number which the receiver may refer in future correspondence.

③ Date: Date acts as quick reference in future and helps in order filing. It is an important field.

④ Inside Address: It is the name and address of the organization or an individual to whom this letter is addressed or sent.
⑤ Mode of Address: To address an individual we use prefix like Ms., Mr. or Mrs etc. If it is a company we may use Messrs (M/s) etc.

⑥ Salutation: A complimentary greeting before starting the message or body text. It is written below the mode of address after some line space.

⑦ Body of the letter: Main content or message of the letter to be communicated.

⑧ Complimentary Close: Also called subscription. A polite way to end a letter. e.g. yours truly, yours sincerely etc.

⑨ Signature: It is generally put just below the complimentary close. The signature line may include a second line for a title, if appropriate. A practical necessity. It is the assent of the writer to the subject matter of the letter.