Letter writing: How to write formal business letter format

Business letters are not written to businessmen only; we write these to officials (e.g. postmaster, health inspector, newspaper editor, bank manager) also. A good business letter must be brief and clear. Say what you want to say and no more, no less. Here we are with How to write formal business letter format with a few hints to write business letters.

A business letter contains the ‘inside address’. This is the same as the address on the envelope, but it is written against the left-hand margin. For an example see the first letter below.

Here are some forms of salutation for business letters:

  • A firm or Dear sirs, (If you know the man, a company or say Dear Mr. Kapur) or a shopkeeper
  • Officers, Sir, Dear Editor, Newspaper Dear sir, Dear Mr. Mayor, Editors, etc. Dear Mr. Chairman, etc

Here are some forms of subscription for business letters:

  • Firm, shop, etc. Yours faithfully, very truly yours, yours truly
  • Officers etc.  Yours faithfully, yours truly, yours obediently, respectfully yours, [If the letter is begins with a personal name, we use ‘Yours sincerely’,]

We said earlier that a personal letter has three main parts whereas a business letter may have four parts. These are:

Reference: here we write a sentence about the reason for the letter:


1. Many thanks (thank you) for your letter of February 16.

2. I read your advertisement no.56 in “The Hindu” this morning. Sometimes the reference is put above the body of the letter in this form: Ref: Your letter dated….. Subject: Our order no. 24 of 18-3-2013

Further reference: Here we introduce our purpose in the letter.

Examples: (after 1 above) I have a few things that may interest you (after 2 above) I should like to apply in response to it.

Main purpose: Here we state briefly and clearly what we ask for or refer to, etc. this is the body of the letter.

Conclusion: Here we end the letter with some polite remark. Examples: I hope you will be able to help us soon. We shall appreciate an early reply.

Here now are some specimen letters. Study them carefully.

A letter to the postmaster asking him to redirect your letters to your changed address
An application for a post in a bank
A letter to your headmaster for three day’s leave (of absence) from school
A letter inviting a prominent citizen to address your school on Republic Day
Letter to the editor of a newspaper complaining about the bad roads and drains in your locality

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