Compare British and American business letters

  American Style                           
British Style                               
Heading        
According to the format but
usually aligned to the left
The heading is usually placed
in the top right corner of the letter
(sometimes centred)
 Date October 19, 2005 (month-day-year)
According to the format but usually
aligned to the left two lines below the heading)
19 October 2005 (day-month-year)
Usually placed directly (or 1 blank line)
below the heading.
 Salutation Dear Mr./Ms. Smith:
Dear Sir or Madam:
Gentlemen:
After the salutation there is a colon (:)
Dear Mr./Ms. Smith,
Dear Sir or Madam,
Dear Sirs,
After the salutation there is a comma (,)
Complimentary close Sincerely,
Sincerely yours,
Yours truly,
Sincerely,
Yours sincerely,
Yours faithfully,
iDevice ikoon The Format

The format (layout) is the visual organisation of a business letter. The main business letter formats are:

  • Full-Block Style - All the elements are aligned to the left margin and there are no indented lines. This is a standard block-style format that is accepted by most businesses.
  • Modified Block Style - The return address, date, closing and signature start just to the right of the center of the page or may be flush with the right margin. All body paragraphs begin at the left margin.
  • Indented or Semi-Block Style - Similar to the modified block business letter style except that the first line of each paragraph is indented.
 
Click here and you will see an example of the full-block style letter.