Business Letter

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  • Topic: Letters, Writers, Letter
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  • Published : September 28, 2012
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TE AM FL Y

The

Business Letters
THIRD EDITION

AMA Handbook of

The

Business Letters
THIRD EDITION JEFFREY L. SEGLIN WITH E D WA R D C O L E M A N

AMA Handbook of

American Management Association
New York • Atlanta • Brussels • Buenos Aires • Chicago • London • Mexico City San Francisco • Shanghai • Tokyo • Toronto • Washington, D.C.

Special discounts on bulk quantities of AMACOM books are available to corporations, professional associations, and other organizations. For details, contact Special Sales Department, AMACOM, a division of American Management Association, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019. Tel.: 212-903-8316 Fax: 212-903-8083 Web site: www.amacombooks.org This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Seglin, Jeffrey L., 1956– The AMA handbook of business letters / Jeffrey L. Seglin with Edward Coleman.—3rd ed. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. @Bookz ISBN 0-8144-0665-3 1. Commercial correspondence—Handbooks, manuals, etc. 2. Letter writing— Handbooks, manuals, etc. I. Coleman, Edward, 1968– II. Amacom. III. Title. HF5726 .S42 2002 651.7 5—dc21 2001053995

2002 Jeffrey L. Seglin All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. Although this publication is subject to copyright, permission is granted free of charge to photocopy the pages that are required by each user and to print and use pages from the enclosed CD. Only the original purchaser may make photocopies and print and use pages. Under no circumstances is it permitted to sell or distribute on a commercial basis material reproduced from this publication. Except as provided above, this publication may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in whole or in part, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of AMACOM, a division of American Management Association, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019. Printing number 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

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Contents
Preface to the Third Edition xiii Preface to the Second Edition xv Preface to the First Edition xvii

PART I. The Basics
Approaching This Book Approach of This Book 1 2

1

CHAPTER 1.

Planning the Letter

3
6

Researching the Facts 4 Analyzing the Subject and Reader 5 Knowing Your Objectives and How to Accomplish Them

CHAPTER 2.

Components of an Effective Letter
13

8

Language—Clarity vs. Ambiguity 8 Tone—Personality 11 Focus of Attention—The ‘‘You Attitude’’ Length 15

CHAPTER 3.

Structure: The Parts of a Letter
17

16

Dateline 16 Reference Line 17 Personal or Confidential Note Inside Address 18 Attention Note 20 Salutation 21 Subject Line 22 Paragraphs 22 Continuation Sheets 23 Complimentary Close 24 Signature Block 25

vii

viii
Identification Line 26 Enclosure and Attachment Notations Distribution Notation 27 Postscript 28 27

CONTENTS

CHAPTER 4.

Appearance of the Letter
31

29

Stationery 29 Various Formats for Letter Writing Full Block 31 Block 33 Semiblock 34 Simplified Letter 34 Official Style 37 Hanging Indented 38 Envelopes 40 Memorandums 40 Faxes 42 E-Mail 42 Notes 45

CHAPTER 5.

Grammar

46
49 49

Grammar 46 Wrong Pronouns 47 Pronouns and Antecedents Subject and Verb Agreement Dangling Modifiers 51 Split Infinitives 52 Parallel Structure 52 Punctuation 53 Capitalization 53 Spelling 53 Jargon 53 ´ Cliches 54 Wordiness 54

CHAPTER 6.

Word Processing
56

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