Business Letters

In this lesson, we are going to look at the differences between writing a business email and writing a business letter. We are going to concentrate on how to write a business letter. We will focus on the layout, content and common expressions used. At the end of the lesson, you will write your own business letter incorporating new knowledge. Let´s begin!


Business Letters Vs Business Emails

How much and what do you know?


A. Look at the following statements and decide whether they are True or False. Correct the False statements.

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1)Emails are more popular than letters in today's business world.
2)Sending letters is cheaper than writing emails.
3)The language found in emails and letters is the same.
4)Emails are generally shorter than letters.
5)The structure of an email and a letter is the same.
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B. Why do you think emails are more common than letters in todays business world? Write 3 reasons. 

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Business Letters

Here is some advice to help you write a business letter. Read the advice and then answer the questions.

  1. Plan what you are going to write before you start writing. Know why you are writing and how you want the addressee react to your letter.
  2. When you are writing, make your letter look professional. Use the correct format for writing business letters. When you start, make sure you include your own address and the name and address of the person you are writing to.
  3. Try to use uncomplicated language and keep your sentences short. A complicated letter  which is difficult to read will not give the right impression.
  4. Keep your ideas in clear paragraphs. Ideally one idea per paragraph. Always start your letter stating why you are writing, then develop your letter and eventually end the letter stating what you expect the addressee to do.
  5. Once you have finished your letter, always re-read it and check for any spelling, punctuation or grammatical errors. 


A. Choose the most appropriate answer according to the text:

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  1. Before writing you letter you need to know
  2. You can make your letter look professional from the start by including a greeting and a suitable ending
  3. When writing a business letter, you should
  4. The content of your letter should be
  5. When you proof read your letter you should always
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B. Here a list ofthe most common business letters which are written in the business world. Put them into the correct categories.

  • Letter or rejection
  • Letter to request for action
  • Letter of dismissal
  • Letter of apology
  • Letter of complaint
  • Letter of reference
  • Letter of application
  • Letter of appointment


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C. The following business letter has been mixed up. Look at the picture, in the boxes below enter the correct letter order.


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E. What is the purpose of the each paragraph in the letter? Use your imagination.

  1. I booked tickets for my boss and three of his VIP clients to see the production of the women in Pinkon Thursday 15th December.  The main reason we chose this production was because of the excellent reviews that it had received in the Production Weekly magazine.
  2. However, unfortunately, my boss´s VIP clients were unable to make it to London on the 26th December due to the closure of Heathrow airport. As a result, my boss's VIP clients did not get to see the performance that they had thoroughly been looking forward to seeing.
  3. When I went to the theatre on the day of the performance, I explained the unfortunate situation to the Box Offce, and they said were unable to do anything with the tickets. For this reason I am writing to you. I enclose the tickets which they were unable to use, with the hope that we can exchange them for tickets to view the production on another date.
  4. My boss's VIP clients are hoping: to return on Wednesday 4th February and we would love for them to have the opportunity to see the fantastic production. Could you please tell me if this would be a possibility? 


F. match the purpose to the correct paragrah

  • Request for action
  • Background information
  • Explaining the situation
  • Reason for writing

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1)Paragraph 1:
2)Paragraph 2:
3)Paragraph 3:
4)Paragraph 3:
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Focus on Vocabulary

Put the expressions into the correct columns.



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Writing Task

Write a business letter to the director of Blue Ink. Here is the situation:


Now write your letter (120-150 words) Remember to inlcude 3/4 paragraphs:

  1. Background Information
  2. Reason for writing
  3. Explaining the situation
  4. Request for action



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