Write the date out: 11 January 2008 (11.01.08)
In American English, the date can be written: February 12, 2007 (2/12/07)
The subject line should clearly define, using a few words, what the topic of your email is. Replies to the email should use the same subject line, so that entries are listed under the same thread in chronological order. Only a new topic requires a new email with a new header.
The salutation greets the person you are writing to. If you know the name of the person you are writing to, use it. The most common forms are the following:
Dear Mr Samson / Dear Ms Samson
If you call Ms Samson ‘Heather’ in a professional setting, then use ‘Dear Heather’ as your salutation. ‘Dear Heather Samson’ is now used as a more personalized version of a formal letter.
People who receive a letter addressed to them by name tend to take more ownership of the task. If, however, you don’t know the person’s name and you have to address a company or a department, use one of the following salutations:
Dear Sir or Madam / Dear Sir / Dear Madam
Dear Sales Department / Dear SBB (considered by British colleagues to be ‘very American’)
The body of the letter consists of the written message organised into paragraphs. Business letters in English have particular patterns which will help you to present your message clearly.
This is a polite way to end your letter. The first letter of the first word is capitalized. The most common and accepted closings are:
Yours sincerely Sincerely Sincerely yours
There are two main styles of punctuation.
OPEN: No punctuation is used, except in the body of the letter.
STANDARD: The salutation is followed by a colon (:) and the closing is followed by a
General rules of punctuation apply to the body of the letter.
Please note the following rules for the abbreviation of formal titles:
RULE: If the abbreviated word ends with the same letter as the full word, leave the abbreviation point out. Otherwise, put it in.
Doctor Smith = Dr Smith
Mister Smith = Mr Smith (DO NOT write out “Mister” in an address block)
Professor Smith = Prof. Smith
Mrs Smith (only if you know that she is married AND prefers Mrs to Ms)