English letter has been playing an important role in our everyday communication. An effective letter could help us to express ourselves clearly and further the relation with customers, thus gaining benefits. Therefore, how to write an elegant and formal letter is very crucial for business person. It shows your sincere attitude and professional skills. However, many people ignore some details for English letter writing and result in some unnecessary trouble as well as loss.

Here, I am going to introduce some requirements for English letters’ structure, so as to help to improve your letter writing skills

1. Envelope.

Similar to Chinese one, there are 3 parts for English envelope. It includes the address of sender (addresser), the address of receiver (addressee) and the stamp. However, except the same location (upper right corner) for stamps, the format of address for both sender and receiver is different. As for English letter, we should write the address of sender in the upper left corner while we write receiver’s address in the middle part or to the lower right corner of the center.

The following is a typical example for your reference:

June Ge

Room 902, No. 5, Songpingshan Road (M) stamp

Shenzhen 518110

P. R. China

Prof. Bruce Grand

Room 201, No.704, 5th Avenue

New York 10451 NY


2. Heading

Heading contains the address of sender and date, both of which are located at upper right corner in the letter.

Generally, we write the address from little place to great one, which is against Chinese way of expression. House number and street takes up one line (if they are too long, 2 lines are also acceptable). City/town and zip code take up a line; county name takes up another line.

As for date, it lies in the last line of heading. American way to express date is Month-date-Year while British way is Date-Month-Year. For example, June 11, 2011 in British English and 11 June, 2011 in American English. In order to avoid misunderstanding, month should be written in English instead of Arabic numerals, for if you write 6, 11, 2011, Englishman may think that it’s November while American people think June.

3. Inside address

Inside address contains the name and address of sender, both of which are located at upper left corner in the letter.

This address must be the same with the one on the envelope, so that wrong receiver can send the letter back to sender or to the right receiver according to the inside address once letter is wrong sent.

Name of receiver is on the first line; title on the second; the address on the third line with the same principle of address writing for heading.

—to be continued