What are the components of letter?


The components of a letter constitute the different parts of a letter. The following parts usually constitute the structure of a business letter.

  1. Heading
  2. Date
  3. Reference
  4. Inside address
  5. Attention line
  6. Salutation
  7. Subject
  8. Body
  9. Complementary close
  10. Signature
  11. Enclosures
  12. Post scripts
  13. ‘CC’ or Carbon copy notation
  14. Reference initials

1.Heading: The heading which is also known as ‘head address’ or “letter head” contains information relating to the name of the organization and its address. It is usually given at the top center or top right side of the paper. Following information are provided in the

The firms name, address, trade mark, telephone number, telex number, Ethics-mail address etc.

  1. Reference Number: The number which the receiver refers in all future correspondence is called reference number. It is usually printed below the date line or on the same line where the date is written to the right The purpose of reference number is to enable replies to be linked with the previous correspondence and to send replies to these letters to the proper official or department.
  2. Date: The date consists of day, month and year. The date finds its place either at the starting of left margin or at the closing of the right margin as the style adopted. Date enables quick references in future and helps in prompt action and orderly filing.
  3. Inside address: The inside address contains the name and address of the organization or the individual to whom the letter is written. It is written below the reference time starting from the left margin. The inside address makes a record on the copy which helps in identification for filling purpose.
  4. Attention line: Attention line is placed below the attention time and above the salutations and is underlined. It indicates the name of those for whom the letter is meant.
  5. Salutation: Salutation means to greet the addressee. It is the complementary greeting with which the writer begins his letter. It is written

below the inside address or attention line leaving some space. It starts from the left side margin. It may or may not end with comma depending upon the style of the letter.

  1. Subject line: Subject line tells what the correspondence is about. It is placed just below the salutation line. It usually begins at the left margin and may also begin from the center. It may contain apart from the subject any specific identification material i.e. date of previous letter, invoice number etc.
  2. Body of the letter: It is that part of the letter which contains the message to be converged. It is the most important part of the letter and usually consists of three to four paragraphs. The first (or the opening paragraph) begins the letter and builds up a relationship with the The second paragraph contains the proper subject matter. It is the main paragraph of the letter. The third paragraph is an extension of the second paragraph.

The fourth (or the closing paragraph) brings the letter to an end. It must be natural and logical must be final and complete. Closing with an important statement, a question, an offer or a request leaves the door open for further communication.

  1. Formal Close: It is also known as subscription. It is merely a polite way of ending a letter. It is written below the last paragraph of the body of the letter, either at the left side or at the right side, depending on the style of letter. The subscription should be corresponding to the salutation.
  2. Signature block/slot: Signature is the assent of the writer to the subject matter of the letter and is a practical necessity. It is usually hand written and contains the writers name, status, department, firm etc. Signature is put just below the complementary close.
  3. Enclosures: Sometimes some documents like price list catalogue etc are attached with the letter. Enclosure mentions the documents which are

enclosed or attached with the letter. The enclosures usually find their place at the bottom left margin.

  1. Postscript: PS as t is commonly known as is something written after the letter is closed. It is usually done when the writer forgets to put in some information or message in the main part. It should be very precise and to the point.
  2. ‘CC’ or Carbon Copy notation: When copies of the letter are meant to be sent to more than one person it is mentioned under “CC” or carbon copy notation. The names of the person to whom copies are to be sent should be written adjacent to the left margin.

    14. Reference initial: When typed initials are put it refers to reference initials. These are useful for office checking. They are typed adjacent to the left margin.



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