Differences Between Business Letters and Social Letters

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Elements of Business Letters
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Elements of Business Letters
ELEMENTS, STYLES, AND FORMS OF BUSINESS LETTERS

This chapter deals with the definition of business letters, differences between business letters and social letters, elements of business letters, styles or forms of business letters, punctuation styles, and C’s of business letter writing.

DEFINITION OF BUSINESS LETTERS

Business letters, as the term suggests, are letters used for business purposes. These purposes are to sell, to buy, and to promote business relationships. Ordinarily, they are written by people who intend to effect business transactions, by people whose ultimate goal is to prosper in business and industry.

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BUSINESS LETTERS AND SOCIAL LETTERS

Business letters and friendly letters are the two main types of letters. While they share similarities, they differ in many ways. Their differences are enumerated in the table below.

POINT OF CONTRAST
BUSINESS LETTERS
SOCIAL LETTERS
Elements
basic parts (heading, inside address, salutation, body of the letter, complimentary close, and signature) and miscellaneous parts heading, salutation, body of the letter, complimentary close, and signature Form/Format

purely block, modified block,
semi-block, hanging-indented, indented, simplified, and memorandum styles indented and semi-block styles
Purpose
business purposes: to sell, to buy, and to promote business relationships to promote or to cease friendship, love, and other social relationships Language
business and technical
layman’s language
Style
impersonal
personal
Point of View
usually third-person, sometimes first-person or second--person usually first-person or second-person
Emotionality
devoid of emotions
emotion-laden
Objectivity
objective/impartial
subjective, with prejudices and biases
Subject/Contents
commerce and industry, business-related subjects
family, love, and other non-business topics
Tone
serious/heavy
light/amusing

The example of a social letter below and that of a business letter on the next page illustrate the differences between the two.

SOCIAL LETTER

October 24, 2008 } DATE LINE

Dear Jess, } SALUTATION

I really treasure and nurture the bond of friendship we have with Paz.

You’re one of the best gifts of God to us, as you demonstrate acts of kindness and humility, and you’re blessed with wisdom by God.

I pray that God will continuously sustain you and your family with His everlasting and agape love.

May you continue serving God through your students because, as a mentor, you affect eternity and you’ll never know when it stops.

May God bless your plans and even the work of your heart and hands.

God bless! Happy birthday!

Your friend, } COMPLIMENTARY
CLOSE

Ma’am Julie Aquino } SIGNATURE

ELEMENTS OF BUSINESS LETTERS

BASIC ELEMENTS

Unlike a social or friendly letter whose parts are limited to heading, salutation, body of the letter, complimentary close, and signature, a business letter is composed of basic and miscellaneous parts. Its basic elements (Menoy, 2009) are the following:

1. Heading—consists of the sender’s address and the date line (month, day, and year); 2. Inside address—consists of the name of the addressee (recipient), his designation, his company and its business address; 3. Salutation—serves as the welcome part of the letter;

4. Body of the letter—gives the details of the communication and consists of the introduction (purpose), the body (discussion/elaboration), and the conclusion (token of appreciation/call for action/building of goodwill); 5. Complimentary close/ending—serves as the farewell part of the letter; and 6. Signature—consists of the name of the signatory (sender) and his designation.

1234 Bagong Lipunan Street, Tambo SENDER’S
Paranaque City, Metro Manila ADDRESS HEADING
June 5, 2008 } DATE LINE

The Regional Technical Director
Land Management Services
Department of...
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