Chapter V - Letter Writing Page 02


Leroy, Mass., September 5, 1910. Messrs. Brown and Jones, Denver, Col. Gentlemen:


4 Seminole St., Fort Smith, Ark. September 6, 1910. Mrs. Mary J. Robinson, Lansing, Cal. Dear Madam:

The "Mr.," "Mrs.," "Madam," and "Miss" are titles of courtesy and should not be omitted. The abbreviation "Esq." for Esquire is sometimes used; but the two titles Mr. and Esq. should never be used with one name, as "Mr. John Smith, Esq."

If a man is known by a military or other title, always use it, but never precede it with "Mr." nor follow it with "Esq."

Clergymen should always be addressed as "Rev.," the abbreviation for Reverend. If he is a doctor of divinity, add D.D. to the name, as "Rev. John Smith, D.D."

Medical doctors may be addressed as "Dr. John Smith," or "John Smith, M.D."


The greeting or salutation is a term of courtesy or esteem used in addressing the one to whom the letter is sent.

"Sir" is the formal greeting, and is used in addressing officials, or any strange male person. "Sirs," or "Gentlemen" may be used in the plural. "Dear Sir," or "My Dear Sir," is the usual form of greeting when a business letter is addressed to an individual.

Where the writer is acquainted with the person addressed, the usual form of greeting is "Dear Mr. Smith."


If writing in response to a letter received, the writer should begin in some such way as this:

Mr. Thomas Brown, Newburg, N. Y. My Dear Sir:

Your favor of the second inst. is just to hand. In reply permit me to state, etc., etc.

This should be followed by the necessary statement, set forth in clear, simple words.

Be sure of yourself.

The secret of good writing is clear thinking.


There is much in the proper ending of a letter. In the ordinary business letter the usual ending may be, "Yours truly," "Yours very truly," or "Yours respectfully." Other endings used in writing to business acquaintances are, "Yours sincerely," or "Very sincerely yours," or you may substitute the words "Cordially" or "Heartily" for "sincerely."


The name of the writer should be so clear and distinct as to leave no doubt as to the spelling.

The name should always be written in the same way.

If your name is George W. Brown, do not write it at one time as here given, and again as G. Washington Brown, or G. W. Brown.

Adopt one form and stick to it.

If you are writing for a firm or for another as clerk or secretary, always sign the firm name, and below it your own name preceded by the word "per," meaning "by" or "through."

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