The form of business letters is different from the form of private correspondence. Business letters are written on official paper with a letterhead, with full address of the sender printed at the top. The letter itself starts with the address of the addressee, on the left-hand side of the page. Below it you must fill in the numbers in „You reference:…“ and „Our reference:…“, for example the number of abbreviation under which copy of the letter has been field and the initials of the member of the staff or his typist. The date is written on right-hand side of the page.
In the letter to the firm, the formal greeting is „Dear Sirs“ in Britain and „Gentlemen“ in the USA or Canada. In a business letter to a stranger you write „Dear Sir“ or „Dear madam“. After the greeting is comma in British letters and colon in US letters. The message begins for example „We are pleased to inform you that…“ It is useful to make the message as clear and short as possible.
The letters is closed with „Yours sincerely“ in Britain and „Yours truly“ in the USA or Canada. After this phrases comes comma. When some materials is enclosed, this must be indicated. For example there are two items, you write „2 encl.“ or „Enclosures: 2“ below the left on the signature. If the name does not indicate whether the writer is man or woman, it is not uncommon to add in brackets (Mrs.), (Miss) o (Ms), if the writer is women.
The envelope of a business letter looks as I’ll describe you now. So, at the left top corner is the return address, which is in personal correspondence on the back of the envelope. Under this are postal intruditions, such as „By air mail“, „Printed matter“, „Please forward“, „Express post“ and other. In the left lower corner are special instructions as „Personal“, „Attention of Mr. X“. The address of addressee is on the right side. If the address isn’t permanent, it is written „c/o and after this is written the other address“ The postage stamps are in the top right-hand corner.
A personal letter is more cordial than business letter. There are greetings such as „With kindest regards to you both“, „Best wishes“, „With my best wishes“. In informal letters you may ask the addressee to pas greetings on to others: „Please remember me to you wife“, „Please give your parents my kindness regards“. The sender’s address is placed above the date, in the top right-hand corner, not below the signature as in Czech letters.