Purpose and classification of business letters


Business correspondence is an integral means of communication between an enterprise and external organizations, since it is letters that connect an organization with other institutions.

Currently, a business person in the course of his activities has to maintain contact with business partners, customers and subordinates. In the age of scientific and technological progress, there are many opportunities for this: telephone, e-mail, fax, telegraph and others. But, despite the widespread use of voice communications, business correspondence has not lost its relevance.

With the help of letters, preliminary negotiations are conducted before the conclusion of the transaction. Relations between enterprises and organizations are clarified, claims are stated in letters, requests are expressed, invitations are issued to take part in certain events.

The topic of the final qualifying work is relevant , since at present official correspondence is an important part of business etiquette. It helps to establish strong ties with the consumer, improve the relationship of various services, as well as increase the turnover of an institution, enterprise, firm.

The advantages of letters are not limited to the fact that they can more clearly record the necessary information. The psychological factor is also important: a well-formed letter on letterhead makes a brighter impression than an oral message, and emphasizes the author’s respect for the addressee.

The object is business correspondence.

The subject is the preparation and execution of business correspondence in the Lugansk preschool educational institution of the combined type nursery-kindergarten No. 127.

The goal is to analyze the types of outgoing letters, their structure and design, compliance with the rules of etiquette in the content and design of business correspondence of the organization.


– select sources of information on the final classification work;

– to analyze the sources of literature on the topic of the final classification work;

− consider the purpose of classifying business letters;

− to analyze compliance with the rules of etiquette when registering business correspondence in the State Institution “LDUUYaSKT No. 127”;

– prepare a presentation and speech for the defense of the final qualification work.

Source base. Due to the insufficient number of legislative and regulatory documents of the Luhansk People’s Republic (hereinafter referred to as the LPR) in the field of office work and document management for the study of business correspondence, we will focus in our work on both the Standard Instructions for Office Work of the LPR and the State Standards of the Russian Federation.

When studying the research topic, the following local documents were studied:

− constituent documents (Charter of State Institution “LDUUYaSKT No. 127” (Appendix 1), memorandum of association, job descriptions of employees, etc.);

− Correspondence of State Institution “LDUUYaSKT No. 127” (information letter, letter of guarantee, letter of request, cover letter, etc.) (Appendix 1, 2, 3, 4, 5);

− information and reference documents;

− specific documentation generated in the activities of SE “LDUUYaSKT No. 127”.

Chapter 1 “Business Correspondence” gives a general description of the purpose and classification of business letters, analyzes the design of business correspondence, and also discusses the rules of etiquette (language and style) and the role of modern information technology in business correspondence.

In Chapter 2 “Preparation and execution of business correspondence in the State Institution “LDUUYaSKT No. 127”, the organization of document circulation in the organization is determined, a detailed analysis of the types of incoming and outgoing letters, their structure and execution is carried out, the role of the clerk in organizing work with business correspondence is determined, and also considered compliance with the rules of etiquette in the content and design of business correspondence in GU “LDUUYaSKT No. 127”.

The work uses scientific methods : theoretical, empirical, analysis, synthesis, as well as interviewing (a conversation with an employee responsible for office work), observation, study of documents.

The volume of the final qualifying work is – ? sheets.


Purpose and classification of business letters

A business letter is a short (no more than 1-2 pages) document relating to one issue (or several closely related issues) and is intended for the rapid exchange of information between enterprises (organizations, institutions), their structural divisions (officials). [13, p. 187]

Business letters are classified:

– according to the degree of accessibility of the information contained in them (according to the access restriction stamp) – ordinary and limited access (confidential);

– in terms of execution – performed within the generally accepted terms, as well as promptly and urgently;

– by volume – short, medium and long;

– according to the type of information contained in them – textual and combined (combining fragments of text with tables, questionnaires and graphic images);

– according to the style of presentation – official and private;

− in terms of completeness — with and without attachments;

– by composition – simple (concerning one question) and complex (concerning two or more questions);

– by addressing method – sent to one (special purpose) or several (circular) addresses;

– on information occasion for preparation – initiative and response letters. [13, p. 187−188]

However, the primary classification criterion for business letters is still their functional purpose.

Based on the results of research on the analysis of business correspondence by the leading Russian document specialist I. N. Kuznetsov, it is permissible to divide all business letters into three basic classification categories:

− official business letters;

− private business letters;

– written messages for internal correspondence (correspondence carried out exclusively within the organization).

In turn, it should be noted that the classification of official and private business letters, taking into account the peculiarities of their functional purpose, can be continued.

So, in the group of official business letters, one should highlight:

− letters of request;

− letters-messages;

− letters of inquiry;

− application letters;

− confirmation letters;

− letters of order;

− letters-offers (offers);

− supplementary letters;

− complaint letters (claims);

− information letters;

− letters of guarantee;

− presentation letters;

− direct mail letters (direct mail);

− short written messages (notifications, reminders)

− cover letters.

Accordingly, in the group of private business letters, the following should be distinguished:

− letters of congratulations;

− letters of invitation;

− letters of apology;

− Letters of regret and condolences;

− letters on the occasion of the presentation (at correspondence acquaintance);

− letters on the occasion of departure;

− letters to maintain contacts and relationships (image letters);

− letters of thanks;

− letters of recommendation;

− mini-letters (template letters, pendulum letters, etc.);

− postcard letters;

– letters of negative content (refusal letters, written notices of dismissal or refusal to provide a vacancy, letters expressing disapproval or condemnation of someone’s actions);

− letters to express refusal of any offer;

− Letters to appeal to various authorities in private;

– resume letters. [13, p. 188−189]

A brief description of the listed types of business letters:

A letter of request is a statement of any request related to the implementation by the enterprise of its activities (creation of appropriate conditions for this).

A letter-message is a targeted transfer to the addressee of any specific information, usually undertaken at the initiative of the author (sender organization).

Letter of Inquiry – designed to request relevant information. A feature of this type of letters is that they almost always require a mandatory reaction of the addressees in the form of a written response on the merits and, as a rule, within the time period established either by the sender of the request or by a legal document.

The letter of application serves to officially (i.e., on behalf of the organization) preliminary inform the addressee about the position of the sender on a particular issue (to express one’s attitude to its essence and the procedure for resolving it).

A confirmation letter serves solely to confirm a fact – for example, the organization received a letter sent earlier by the addressee. For this reason, this letter is used in business correspondence only as a response. [13, p. 190]

The letter of order is also a response. The functional purpose of such letters is to document the order. A letter of order can simultaneously perform the function of a cover letter – for example, if it is accompanied by a business proposal (offer, draft contract, etc.) previously sent by the addressee, supplemented with the necessary information.

An offer letter (offer) is a classic example of commercial correspondence. Such a letter is sent to the business partner in order to make him an official offer regarding the supply (additional delivery) of a particular product. [13, p. 190]

An addendum letter serves to promptly inform the addressee of any important information that was not previously transmitted to him in the previous letter for some reason. A supplementary letter is always, as it were, a continuation of the previous message.

Letter of complaint is a less frequent occurrence in modern business correspondence. The main purpose is the expression of written claims in connection with the unsatisfactory performance by the addressee of his business obligations. As a rule, it is sent to the address with documents proving the bad faith of the recipient in relation to the sender of the letter (for example, an act of substandard products).

The information letter is used to develop business relationships with new partners. It is appropriate to send such a letter to the address after a response has been received to the previous message, indicating a fundamental readiness for cooperation. The main functional purpose of the letter is to inform the addressee in order to provide him with specific information regarding the prospects for cooperation in the widest possible range of areas.

A letter of guarantee is intended to provide the addressee with written guarantees regarding the intentions or actions of the sender, one way or another affecting the business interests of the addressee. <...> Mandatory for a letter of guarantee are information about the sender – legal and actual address, bank details, as well as the presence of the word “I guarantee” in the text. [13, p. 191]

A presentation letter aims to present to the addressee any product, organization (manufacturer or distributor of products) or some socially significant event – for example, an organization’s holiday. In practice, a presentation letter is most often addressed not to a specific enterprise (official), but to the public, the general public and, in addition to informing, is designed to arouse the addressee’s interest and disposition in relation to the presented object. [13, p. 192]

Direct mail letter (DM) – used to encourage the addressee to make a purchase. The peculiarity of the letter is that, in addition to the description of the products offered, it contains – as an attachment – an order form for receiving it (by mail or by courier), and in some cases – product samples for free (trial) use.

Brief written messages are used for the purpose of laconic urgent information to the addressee in connection with a specific occasion. Among short written appeals, there are notifications, reminders and warnings sent to the address, as a rule, sequentially, with a certain time interval. A warning is used only if the notification and reminder did not achieve their purpose and the addressee did not respond to them properly.

A cover letter is a letter intended to accompany the documents (materials) attached to it. Includes a message about the sending of the relevant documents (materials), as well as a list of them with an indication of the exact characteristics (name, number of pages). [13, p. 192]

A letter of congratulations is the most common type of private business letter. A characteristic feature of the letter of congratulations is its benevolent, friendly and sincere tone. The presence in the text of the word “Congratulations …” is mandatory.

An invitation letter is the functional purpose of a written invitation – firstly, to notify the addressee of a particular solemn or business event and, secondly, to invite him to participate in it. In connection with the above, the text of the letter of invitation can be opened either with information about the event, or with the word “We invite (invite) …”. An invitation can be issued both in the form of a letter and on a special form (invitation card attached to the letter).

Letters of apology are increasingly used in everyday business correspondence. The functional purpose of such a letter is to bring a formal apology to the addressee. A feature of this letter is an emphatically conciliatory tone of presentation.

Letters to express regret, sympathy and condolences are used in everyday business correspondence in connection with not too joyful events in the life of the addressee. The functional purpose of such a letter is to show attention to the addressee, to express his support to him in a difficult, sometimes tragic moment.

A letter on the occasion of the introduction (letter of representation) is indispensable when meeting with the addressee in absentia in order to establish personal relationships with him. A feature of the letter on the occasion of the presentation is the presence of the sender’s business card as an attachment. Such a letter serves to express to the addressee (in a short, friendly form) location and, as a rule, contains an invitation to an informal business meeting.

Departure letter – intended to express gratitude on the part of the departing in relation to the remaining (receiving) party. In addition, such a letter may contain an invitation to the addressee to continue contacts (cooperation), including through a return visit, provided that this is in the interests and plans of both parties.

A letter to maintain contacts and relationships (image letter) serves to strengthen the existing business and personal ties between the participants in the correspondence. The main functional purpose of an image letter is, in the absence of a formal reason, to demonstrate your attention and respect to the addressee. In addition, the image letter can also perform an auxiliary informational function. [13, p. 194]

A letter of thanks is sent to the addressee in order to express gratitude for the attention shown by the latter towards the sender (for example, in response to congratulations), or for the efforts made by the addressee aimed at ensuring the personal or business well-being of the sender of the letter.

A letter of recommendation is a special type of private business letter that is written for the benefit of a third party who is not involved in the correspondence. The functional purpose of the letter is to properly recommend this or that person to the addressee.

Mini-letters – template letters – are actively used in business correspondence, primarily for express responses. A feature of mini-letters is the repetition (standardization) of a significant part of their content – mainly due to the use of template text – and the presence in the letter of a special form that facilitates the preparation of a response for the addressee.

Postcard letter – the functional purpose of postcard letters is to conduct private business correspondence that does not affect aspects of the business relationship of its participants. Usually contain brief personal messages. A feature of such letters is their obligatory design on a postcard (postcard with a view).

A letter of negative content is a collective group of letters, including refusal letters, written notices of dismissal, refusal to provide a vacancy, refusal to provide a cash subsidy (mitigation of debt repayment conditions), letters expressing disapproval of someone’s actions. Such letters, as a rule, are in response.

A letter to express consent or refusal is used to notify the addressee of the consent (refusal) of the sender from any proposal. It is sent in response to a letter received earlier from the addressee containing some kind of proposal (most often about participation in any event, project). The letter must contain an expression of gratitude for the offer made.

A resume letter is a sender’s resume written in the form of a standard business letter. An initiative letter sent to a potential employer. Contains the most essential information about the biography, educational level and professional experience of the sender. It must contain an indication of the vacancy for which the sender is applying, and the address (telephone, e-mail.), To which the addressee can send a response. [13, p. 196]

One of the main requirements for a letter is that it should not be long. A good letter, like a speech, should be crisp and clear. This is the second requirement for writing. It is necessary to try to avoid polysyllabic, incomprehensible (foreign, highly specialized) words and expressions in a business letter. This is the third rule of writing a business letter. [22, 138 pp.]

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