Principles of Writing Business Letters

The format of a business letter is different from other styles. Expect the tone to be less casual and the information kept straight to the point. Keep the intended audience in mind at all times. Like all types of writing, however, planning is a must. First organize your thoughts, then put pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard.


The tone of a business letter is formal. Avoid casual words and slang. Write the letter as if you applying for a job and not as if you were talking to a friend. Avoid phrases such as, "you know what I mean," "it's cool," and "you know that." Stay away from the light, conversational tone found in emails and messages to friends. This will help you project professionalism in your writing.

Intent and Clarity

Jump right in and state the intent of your letter in as few words as possible. Write short and clear sentences. Do not use complicated words when a simpler word will do. Include just enough information so that your message is clear and concise, while still allowing the sentences to flow and maintaining a tactful and polite tone.

Pronoun Use

Writing a business letter in the first and second person is acceptable. Using "I" and "you" help to create a connection between the author and reader of the message. When printing your message on paper that includes your business's letterhead, use the pronoun "we." The usage of this word could imply that the opinions or information presented in the letter are those of the entire company rather than just you.


The proper format of a business letter includes the date, addresses of the writer and recipient, greeting, body, closing and signature. The recipient may not view your letter as professional if each of these sections is not included.

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