How to start and end a business letter or email

A common mistake in ending an email is to write "Bye" or "Bye Bye". As this is not a standard way of ending business emails, it makes your writing look unprofessional. Here are some widely used phrases for starting and ending correspondence in British English.

1. Formal letter of application (for a job)

Dear Sir / Madam

I am writing to apply for…

End:

I look forward to hearing from you
Yours faithfully

2. Formal business correspondence (for example: letter of enquiry)

Dear Mr Smith (Dear Ms Smith)

I am writing to enquire about your prices

End:

An early reply would be appreciated / I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely

3. Formal letter of reference

To whom it may concern

I write with reference to Ms Smith…

End

Yours faithfully

4. Business email – friendly

Dear (+ first name)

Just a quick note to remind you about

End

Best wishes / Kind regards

5. In-company email request

(no salutation)

Could you…

End

Thanks / Cheers

More Business Letter Writing Help

For more help with business writing, take a look at my new ebook Business Writing Essentials. Designed to help you write business emails, letters and reports quickly and confidently, it's packed with tips, guidelines and ready-to-use letter and email templates – find out more.

There are two Business Writing books that I recommend for letter writing. The first is How to Write It – The Complete Guide to Everything You'll Ever Write. Business correspondence veteran Sandra E. Lamb shows you how to craft just about any kind of letter or email including proposals, reports, employee communication, orders and credit collection as well as job search and social letters. More than 400 pages of practical advice and ready-to-use samples. Highly recommended.

Just as comprehensive is 300+ Successful Business Letters for All Occasions but this book focuses on samples rather than instruction and is packed with hundreds of example business letters and emails with complete formatting guidelines. Recommended if you're looking less for theory and more for quick and easy samples to speed up your working day.

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