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The first thing to know concerns the parts of a business letter

Match English names of business letter parts with their Russian equivalents.


1) the letter head or heading а) подпись
2) inside name and address b) основная часть письма
3) attention line с) приветствие
4) date d) строка "внимание"
5) salutation е) шапка письма
6) subject line f) адрес получателя письма
7) the body g) дата
8) complimentary close h) тема делового письма
9) signature i) заключительная часть письма
10) enclosure j) приложения

В. Read about business letter parts and answer the questions that follow.

1. The letter head or heading includes the following information: the name and address of the firm sending the letter, its telephone number, telex and telefax.

2. Inside name and address. This is the address of the person receiving a letter. It is typed on the left. The addresses are written as follows:


Ms J. Simpson   Ms A. Arafel
Foreign Rights Manager   Product Information Manager
Chapman & Hall Ltd.   McCraw-Hill Book Co
11 New Fetter Lane   1221 Avenue of the Americas
London EC4P 4EE   New York, N.Y. 10020
England   USA

3. The attention line. It is used either when you don't know the surname of a person, only his position in a company (Attention: The Personal Manager) or when the letter is addressed to a certain person in a company. Compare:


British For the attention of Mr. E. Wilson


Attention: Mr. E. Wilson

4. The date. There are differences between British and American ways of writing the date. Compare:


British American
12th December, 20_________ December 12, 20____
12 December 20  
12 Dec. 20____  

5. The salutation is the greeting with which every letter begins. It is typed on the left. The British use a comma after it, while the Americans — a colon. Compare:


British American
Dear Sir, Dear Sir:
Dear Madam, Dear Madam:
Dear Mrs. Smith, Dear Mrs. Smith:
Dear Sirs, Gentlemen:

6. The subject line is typed immediately below the salutation in the centre. It helps to ensure that the letter is passed without delay to the right person.


Dear Sir,      
  Your order no. 7658 / 83

7.The body. As business letters are written on behalf of a firm,
use "we" and "our" instead of "my" and "I". Do not use the sort
forms like "we'll", "we've", etc. in all formal and business letters.

Extra spacing is used between paragraphs to separate different points more effectively.

The right margin should be as wide as the left one.

Try to use short sentences and short paragraphs because it is easier to read and understand such a letter.

8. The complimentary close depends on how well you know the
reader. It can be formal, semi-formal (polite but distant) and informal.
The complimentary close must match the salutation:



Salutation Closure Comment
Dear Sirs, |    
Dear Madam, I Yours faithfully, formal
Gentlemen: j    
Dear Mr. Francis, Yours sincerely, semi-formal
Dear John, Yours, informal

9. The signature. Always sign the letter by hand and in ink. Always use the same style: you cannot sign "TOM WILSON" on one occasion and "T. Wilson" on another. Do not use a title with a signature.

A woman writing to a stranger should indicate if she is married or not by adding "Mrs." or "Miss" in brackets in front of her signature: (Miss) Alice H. Brooks.

Sometimes in front of a name there is the abbreviation "p.p." (from per pro — "for and on behalf of). Secretaries often use it when they sign letters on behalf of their directors:


Yours faithfully,  
(Mary Thomson's sig nature)
p.p. J. Mill  
Managing Director  

10. The enclosure. If there are enclosures, the word "Encl." is typed at the end of the letter, with a short description of the enclosure: Encl.: Price-list.

C. Match letter parts with their names.

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