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Parts of a Business Letter: Attention Line


Ensuring that a business letter arrives in the hands of the proper person requires care and precision. Sometimes, a little “nudge” doesn't hurt either, especially if you're sending a letter to a large company with many employees and departments. Such a nudge can take the form of an attention line, which should be above the salutation.

Sender Information First

Create a centered letterhead on your business letter that includes, on separate lines, your name, address, city, state and ZIP code as well as your email address if you wish. Since this information is supposed to stand out, use a font size slightly larger than that in your letter, or about 12 points. Alternatively, include this information at the very top of the letter. Format your letter in several ways -- block, modified block and semi-block -- but block format is the most common and the easiest on the eyes. Block format calls for a letter to be left-justified and single-spaced with a double space between paragraphs.

Follow Suit

Write the date and then double-space. On separate lines, type: the company name, company address, company city, state and ZIP code. Double-space and write the attention line. Type: “Attention:” and the person's name or department to which you wish to direct your letter. For example, you might write, “Attention: Leon Smith, Accounting Manager” if you know the person's name and title or simply, “Attention: Accounting Manager” if you don't know the person by name. Double-space again and write a salutation.

Word of Caution

Some people abbreviate the attention line by writing "ATTN:" Since this is not a common abbreviation, spell out the word. You are writing the attention line to ensure that your letter arrives in the proper hands; don't risk using an abbreviation that might unwittingly foil your best intentions.

About the Author

With education, health care and small business marketing as her core interests, M.T. Wroblewski has penned pieces for Woman's Day, Family Circle, Ladies Home Journal and many newspapers and magazines. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northern Illinois University.

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