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BUSINESS CORRESPONDENCE AND CORRECT FORMS
A large part of the world's business is at the present time carried on by correspondence. It necessarily follows, then, that a business letter, in order to get results, should be well worded, correctly spelled, and tastefully arranged. While good wording is of primary importance, the mechanical arrangement should not be underestimated.
"There is a great deal in the first impression," and it not infrequently happens that a letter that is neat and tastefully arranged, although it may contain poorly-constructed sentences, carries more force with it than a letter that is well worded, but otherwise lacking in the minor details that go to make up a pleasing, attractive, and finished business letter.
The principles of correct expression have been treated in the preceding lessons; hence in the lessons to follow we shall confine ourselves principally to the mechanical part of the subject.
As in everything else, custom has decreed that the business letter shall follow certain conventional forms based upon convenience and clearness, and the wise letter-writer will not depart far from these prescribed forms. The business letter consists of six distinct parts, as follows:
1. The heading
Study very carefully the model letter given on the following page, noting the relative positions of the different parts.
June 3, 1909
Mr. W. C. Jackson,
Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Mr. B. A. Hayes, the bearer of this letter, has been in our employ in the restaurant business for over a year, and in that time has proved himself worthy of confidence. His work was always carefully and honestly performed, and it is with pleasure that we give him this letter, regretting the fact that his health compels him to give up his present position.
You will find Mr. Hayes ever honest, energetic, and willing in all ways to make your wishes his first care.
Further correspondence will be cheerfully answered.
B. M. FOSTER & SON,
Through the influence of the foregoing letter you have secured the position with the American Lumber Company. In the blank space below, write a letter to Mr. Foster thanking him for his letter of recommendation.
THE PARTS OF A LETTER
The heading of a letter consists of the name of the place at which the letter is written and the date when it is written. When the writer's address is a large city, the street number or the number of the post office box should be given; if his address is a small town, the county should be given. The heading should be placed at least two inches from the top, and should not extend to the left of the middle of the page. It may consist of one, two or three lines, according to the information it contains. The different parts of the heading should be separated by commas. A period should be placed at the close and after all abbreviations. (See models.) Business firms usually use printed letterheads, in which case the stenographer merely fills in the date, which should be on a direct line with the printed heading.
THE ADDRESS The address of a letter consists of the name, the title, and the place of business or residence of the person to whom the letter is written. Only one title should be used. Titles and degrees, or words representing the person's official capacity, however, may be used when one does not include the other. In formal business letters the address should be placed at the top, but in letters to friends it
may be written in the lower left corner. The address may consist of two or three lines, according to the length. The parts should be separated by commas. A period should be placed at the close and after every abbreviation. (See models.)
The salutation is the term of respect or politeness with which a letter is always begun. The salutation depends on the degree of familiarity existing between the correspondents. The terms usually used in business correspondence are: “Dear Sir," "Vy dear Sir," "Dear Sirs," "Gentlemen,” “Madam." "My dear Madam," and "Vesdames.” It is regarded as exceedingly vulgar to abbreviate any part of the salutation; as, "Gents," "Dr. Srs.," etc. The salutation should follow the address, and should be followed by a colon. Only the first and last words should be capitalized. (See models.)
THE BODY OF THE LETTER
The body of the letter is the written message which the letter contains. The position of the letter on the page has much to do with giving it an attractive