Hints of Business Correspondence

A very large part of business in the world is conducted by means of correspondence. Therefore, it is extremely important to be able to write good business letters — letters that represent one's self and one's organization to best advantage.

Writing good business letters is a matter of detailed and often quite specialized technique, which is not so complicated as you have been let to fear. All you need is the supply of visiting cards, some good paper, a pen, a typewriter, personal computer and some good will.


General Rules of Business Correspondence


— You should be familiar with two kinds of letters:

business letters and personal letters. Business organizations usually use printed letter-head for their business letters. Private business letters are typed on plain paper.

— You should answer all letters promptly: within ten days at the outside. If you can't fully answer them within that period, the least you can do is to acknowledge them and explain your delay.

— Let everyone involved know what action has been taken on a letter.

— You should always write a thank-you note to anyone who has given you a letter of introduction, reporting at the same time how well you were received or what results the introduction produced.

— You should sign and send out only the letters that are well typed, well spaced, faultlessly neat and inviting to the eye, i.e. letters that make a good first impression. The letter you write is always a mirror which reflects your appearance, taste and character.

When writing a business letter in English, be careful not to use an old-fashion commercial instruction book as a guide. The style of writing is changing rapidly. Every year it gets simpler and less formal. Business correspondents prefer simple English to express what they want to say as effectively as possible. But a writer of a business letter must create a good impression, so a few words to promote a feeling of friendship and good will be just to the place.

However, compliments must not be exaggerated, as they may produce the opposite effect, and the reader may feel that the writer is being insincere.

The following is to be remembered when writing a business letter in English:

1. Make a new paragraph for a new subject.

2. Say what you want to say in the simplest, clearest way.

3. Don't say aggressively.

4. Don't exaggerate compliments.

5. Remember that real feelings will have more effect than pretended ones.


Vocabulary to Study and Use

1.Currency rate валютний курс

2.Letter of guarantee гарантійний лист

3.Freely convertible currency вільно конвертована валюта

4.Contractual price договірна ціна

5.Dear sirs/madams шановні панове/пані

6.We beg to inform you that ми маємо за честь повідомити вас, що.

7.We shall do our best to ... ми зробимо все можливе, щоб ...

8.We shall be glad to answer ми будемо раді відповісти

9.I look forward to corporate я розраховую на співробітництво

10.Please let us know ... будь ласка, повідомте нас ...

11.We'll ask you to wire us ... просимо телеграфувати нам ...

12.I am sorry to have caused you so much trouble шкода, що я завдав Вам стільки турбот

13.We are delighted that... ми дуже раді, що ...

14.Best wishes (yours sincerely) найкращі побажання, щиро Ваш (yours truly)

15.It was a great pleasure for з великим задоволенням отримали Вашого листа від…

us to receive your letter of…

16. We would welcome the opportunity ми вітаємо можливість ......

17.I enclose some information додаю деяку інформацію

18.May I take an opportunity to wish you дозвольте скористатися нагодою і побажати Вам ...

19.May I have the pleasure of inviting you to visit our firm? чи не міг би я запросити Вас відвідати нашу фірму?

20.Your expences will be met by our firm ваші витрати будуть сплачені нашою фірмою




Exercise 1. Fill in the blanks with the necessary words:

1. It was a great pleasure for us to ... your letter of May 21 (receive, get, send).

2. We would welcome the ... to co-operate with you (opportunity, desire, reason).

3. We would like to ... your catalogues periodically (recommend, get, receive).

4. May I have the ... of inviting you to visit our firm (pleasure, decision, permission).

5. We would ask you to wire us ... other day (some, any, every).

6. We would like to continue this ... with an educational program (trend, tradition, communication).


Exercise 2. Complete the following sentences:

1. A very large part of business in the world ... .

2. Writing good business letters is ... .

3. Business organizations usually use ... .

4. You should answer all letters ..... .

5. Let everyone involved know ... .

6. You should always write a thank-you note ... .

7. I received many letters from ... .

8. When I want to send a letter I usually go to ... .

9. We send telegrams at ... .

10. May I have the opportunity to wish you ... .

11. It was a great pleasure to receive ... .

12. Would it be possible for you to tell me … .

13. We beg to inform you that … .

14. Please, let me know how … .


Exercise 3. Translate into English

1. Дозвольте скористатися нагодою і привітати Вас зі святом.

2. Ми будемо раді відповісти на будь-які запитання, що цікавлять Вас.

3. Ми розраховуємо на співробітництво з Вами.

4. Чи не могли б Ви повідомити нам подробиці про Вашу фірму?

5. Маємо честь повідомити Вас, що ми готові підтримувати співробітництво з Вашим підприємством.

6. Я хочу надіслати рекомендаційний лист.



Dialogue. Read and dramatize the following dialogue:

— Where can I hand in the letter, sir?

— They deal with it on the first floor, madam. Window 3, please.

— Is this the right window for posting registered letter?

— No, madam, you have to apply to the next window.

— What's the charge for a registered letter?

— It will cost 50 cents.

— When will this letter be received?

— It will be delivered in three days.

— Thank you.



Make up your own dialogues according to the pattern.


1. Why is it extremely important to be able to write good business letters?

2. What should you remember writing a business letter in English?

3. What kind of expressions do business correspondents prefer?

4. What are the main points to be remembered when writing a business letter in English?




Business letters may be written in:

— The first person singular: «I must apologize for the delay in fulfilling your order of November 20. I shall see that the spare parts are sent immediately».

— The first person plural: «We must apologize ...»

— The impersonal passive: «The delay in fulfilling your order is regretted. The spare parts will be sent immediately...»

Note: The first person singular can be used only by a person of authority as he is reporting his personal actions and opinions and yet they represent those of the firm and organization.

The impersonal passive is inclined to be cold and distant; the first person forms are therefore usually to be preferred.




Exercise 1. Translate into Ukrainian:

1. It was a great pleasure for us to receive your letter.

2. We would welcome the opportunity to co-operate with you.

3. We would like to receive your catalogues.

4. May I have the pleasure of inviting you to visit our firm?

5. May I take this opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year?

6. We would like to continue this trend with an educational exchange among educators of our two countries.

7. We are happy to receive your letter.

8. The problem to be solved was of great importance,

9. He supposes us to sent letters by air-mail.
10. The members of the committee are reported to come to an agreement.

Exercise 2. Put questions to the text and retell it


An ordinary business letter comprises the following principal parts

1. The Date

2. The Inside Address

3. The Opening Salutation

4. The Subject Heading

5. The Opening Paragraph

6. The Body of the letter

7. The Closing Paragraph

8. The Complimentary Closing

9. The Signature

10. Enclosures, Postscripts and Copies sent.


In English business letters the date (day, month, year) is typed on the right-hand side. It is customary to type the date in full, not just in figures, e.g. 2nd Apr, 1990 which is pronounced «the second of April, nineteen ninety». The name of the month may be abbreviated: January to Jan, February to Feb, March to Mar, April to Apr, June to Jun, August to Aug, September to Sept, October to Oct, November to Nov, December to Dec. Only May and July are written in full.

In American business letters the date is written in the following way: Apr 2, 1990 which is read «April second, nineteen ninety».

The name of the month should not be stated in figures, as it may easily confusing, because in the USA it is the practice to write dates as seen above in a different order: month, day and year.

e.g. 9.2.90 means on the second of September, 1990.



The name and address of the company written to are usually typed on the left-hand side against the margin, all lines starting at the same margin, not diagonally.

Firms are addressed as Messrs (the plural of Mr) only when the firm's name includes a personal name without any other courtesy title and only when the firms are partnerships.

eg Messrs Brown & Smith,

25 High Holborn, »

London, W.C.L


Sir James Brown & Co.,

14, Manor Gardens




The Brown Electrical Co.,

26, Exton Square,



Messrs is never used when addressing a registered company whether a public limited company (PLC) or a private limited company (LTD). It is recommended to address the correspondence
directly to the company's representative for whom it is intended —
the managing director, the sales manager, the export manager, and so on, in which case company is specified, but not addressed. The name of the company becomes part of the address in the same way as the name of the street or town. If we do not know which of the company's officers will deal with our letter, we should address it to 'The Company Secretary', since by the Companies Act every registered company must have one.

e.g. The Secretary

Brown & Co.PLC.


If the letter is addressed to a person whose exact address is unknown, it may be sent to an organisation (for example the Trade Delegation or a firm), who can pass the letter on or send it to the person. In these cases the words «Care of» (in care of) should be written before the name of the organization (the Trade Delegation or the firm).

e.g. Mr. F. Popov

C/O The Trade Delegation of the USSR

32, Highgate West Hill,

London, n.6,



After the name of the company the number of the house and the name of the street are given, then the name of the town and of the county. In case of big towns in Great Britain no name of a county is required, but small towns usually need an indication of a county in the address, especially as the names of small towns are often duplicated (for example, in Great Britain there are two Richmonds — one in Surrey and one in Yorkshire).

In Britain the recommended form of postal address has the Post Town in capital letters, followed by the country in small letters, followed by postcode (whose system has now been introduced). The use of the code as part of the address (e.g. CRO 5BL for Croydon) speeds delivery by enabling letters to be sorted mechanically.

When writing letters to other countries, always give the name of the country, even if the town is the country's capital. There is, for example, a London in England and another in Canada, a Boston in England and another in the USA, a Triply in Libya and another in Lebanon, a Blantyre in Scotland and another in Malawi.

For the same reason, when writing to firms in the USA you must
add the name of the State after the name of the town: CHICAGO 111 (Illinois), PENNSYLVANIA, VA (Virginia). The name of the city New York is usually followed by N.Y. (New York) or NJ. (New Jersey).



The Salutation varies according to circumstances and should be in harmony with the Inside Address and the Complimentary Closing. If the letter is addressed to the company (which is not recommended, but very often done), the form of addressing is: Dear Sirs,: if the letter is addressed to an individual, the most usual forms are: Dear Sirs, or Dear Madam, (it applies to both married and single women). These are the usual greetings in English business letters. Americans prefer «Gentlemen», and if they use «Dear Sirs:», «Dear Madam:», they use them with a colon instead of a comma.

When the correspondent is unknown to you and may be either a man or a woman, always use the form «Dear Sir». If the correspondent is known to you personally, or if your firm has traded with his firm for some time, you may use a warmer and more friendly greeting «Dear Mr Brown,».




The Subject Heading indicates the subject-matter of the letter (its topic), thus enabling the reader to see immediately what the letter is about, and is placed just after (below) the salutation (since it forms part of the letter) and in the middle of the page. In front of it the wording «Re-» (short of the Latin 'in re') meaning 'regarding' was formerly used. Now it is out of date. 'Abt' (short of 'About' may be used. Or the Subject Heading is just underlined, it is sometimes written in capital letters.

The title to a letter, however, is not always required and the date of a letter referred to in the first line of the answer is often indicative enough of what the subject is.


Dear Sir,

Abt: Order #342 Of 3rd Apr, 1999

Dear Madam,

YOUR ENQUIRY of 5th MAY, 1999

Dear Mr Brown,

Abt: the arrival of our inspectors.




The Opening Paragraph will often state the subject-matter of the letter by giving the date of the letter, which is being answered, and the writer's feelings on the subject: pleasure, regret, surprise or gratitude. A short opening sentence will often attract attention more successfully than a longer one.


Vocabulary to Study and Use

1. In reply to your letter of 2nd March У відповідь на Ваш лист від 2березня цього року

this year we would like to inform you... повідомляємо Вам, що...

We thank you for your letter Дякуємо за Ваш лист від 3 червня і повідомляємо Вам,

dated 3rd Jun and write to tell you... що...

2. We are sorry to have to remind you... Нажаль, ми маємо нагадати Вам, що...

То your regret we shall have to… Нажаль, ми змушені...

We regret to inform you that… Вимушені повідомити Вас, що..

3. We are happy to tell you… З задоволенням повідомляємо Вам, що..

We are surprised to learn that Ми були здивовані, коли дізналися, що...

Further to our letter of 3rd Jun... На додаток до нашого листа від З червня...

With reference to the enquiry of Посилаючись на запит від 4 липня 200..року,.

4th July, 200...We refer to your Order # 256 and... Ми посилаємося на Ваше замовлення за номером 256 та...

We have received your letter Підтверджуємо отримання вашого листа від 13 березня...

dated 13th mar...

We thank you for the letter of 13th mar... Дякуємо вам за ваш лист від 13 березня...




It’s text, it’s message. A letter should only deal with one specific subject as several subjects may require attention in different departments and may complicate the filling system. Business letters should be simple and clear, polite and sincere, concise and brief. That means using simple, natural, short words and sentences; admittance of mistakes openly and sincerely; using concise words and sentences instead of wordy ones; and avoiding repetition or needless words and information. Express yourself in a friendly way and with a simple dignity.

To make a letter easier to read and to a certain extent more attractive, divide it into paragraphs, each paragraph dealing one idea, one aspect of the subject or giving one detail.

If several paragraphs deal with the same subject-matter (topic or theme), they should fit together smoothly, i.e. each new paragraph

giving a new aspect of the topic under consideration should follow the previous one naturally. This is done either by numbering the paragraphs or by using connective words, such as: however, still, yet, but, nevertheless, otherwise, on the contrary, again, also, in addition, besides, so, therefore, in this way, in short, as a result, on the other hand, and some others.

If a letter is lengthy, the paragraphs may be given headings, which may be typed in ordinary or capital letters, followed by a full-stop, colon or a dash.

If the headings are typed in ordinary letters, they should be underlined to distinguish between heading and text. If more pages than one are written, they should be numbered.

The second and following pages are typed on blank sheets (without the letterhead). The name or initials of the recipient should be placed at the top of left-hand margin of all continuation sheets, followed by the date after the page number.

Apart from those phrases and sentences expressing regret, gratitude and other feelings, given above and used in «The Opening Paragraph» and the following may be useful:


1.To express apologies and regrets Для вибачення та виразу жалю

We regret being unable to... Нажаль ми не можемо...

Unfortunately we cannot... Нажаль ми не можемо...

Please accept our apologies for... Вибачте нас за...

We express our apology that... Ми вибачаємося...

We offer (make) our apology... Ми вибачаємося...

2. To express gratitude Для виразу вдячності

We would be very much obliged.... Ми були б дуже вдячні...

I shall be grateful to you... Я буду Вам вдячний...

We shall appreciate it if... Ми будемо Вам вдячні, якщо...

We are indebted to the Chamber of Ми зобов’язані за Вашу адресу торгово-промисловій Commerce and Industry for your address... палаті...

We owe you address to... Ми зобов'язані за Вашу адресу..


3.Тo express request Для виразу прохання

Please let us know... Просимо Вас повідомити нас.

We would ask (request) you to... Ми б попросили Вас...

We'd be obliged if... Ми б були зобов'язані, якщо...

We'd be glad to have your latest catalogue... Ми були б раді отримати ваш останній каталог...

Kindly inform us of the position просимо Вас інформувати нас про хід виконання

of the order замовлення

4. То express confirmation Для виразу підтвердження.

We confirm our consent to the alternations... Підтверджуємо свою згоду на дані зміни...

Please acknowledge receipt Просимо Вас підтвердити отримання нашого рахунку-.

of our invoice фактури




The closing Paragraph contains a statement of the writer's intentions, hopes and expectations about future actions, i.e. it serves as a summary of what has been discussed before and what is going to be the next step.

Useful Phrases

We look forward to trading with you / to the mutual З нетерпінням чекаємо розвитку торгівлі

benefit of our companies з Вами / взаємовигоди для обох сторін

We hope that you will act as requested Сподіваємось, що Ви будете діяти за нашим


We hope to establish fruitful business relations Сподіваємось встановити корисні ділові

with your company відносини з Вашою фірмою

We look forward to hearing from you soon З нетерпінням чекаємо на вашу відповідь

в найближчому майбутньому

Your prompt (early) reply will be appreciated Ми будемо вдячні Вам за Вашу швидку відповідь



It is a polite way of ending a letter. The expression used must suit the occasion and match the opening salutation.

The standard form (formal)

Dear Sir(s),

(or Dear Madam),

Your faithfully,

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