Expository Writing- The Business Letter


Yesterday we looked at the types of expository writing that are present in the CSEC English A 2018-2023 syllabus

A Letter Defined

A letter is a written correspondence between two persons or a person and a company or between two companies. Letters can be formal or informal. Informal letters are also known as friendly letters. Whereas, formal letters are also known as business letters.Today were are only going to focus on business letters.

Types of Business Letters

They are many types of business letters. These include but are not limited to:

  1. Letter of Complaint
  2. Letter of Requests
  3. Letter of Apology
  4. Application/Cover Letter

These are the four major types that might occur in Section B of the CSEC English A Exam.

Examining the Four Types of Letters

Letter of Complaint

letter of complaint is written to deal with a problem situation when other attempts have failed to rectify the situation.

Letter of Request

A letter of Request is a formal way of asking a person or company for something. It would be that you are asking for sponsorship for an event or you are asking your principal to permit an event. 

Letter of Apology

There are formal or informal letters of apology. However,a formal letter of apology is a way of expressing regret towards a past action or occurrence. This can be done to or by a manager, teacher, principal or a company to a client.

Application/Cover Letter

An application/cover letter is a written document submitted with a resume’ which explains the position the applicant is applying for as well as highlight skills and traits that the applicant might have that is not highlighted in the resume’. 

Structure of the Business Letter

The structure of letters evolve over time and there the structure of the business letter is no different. There are three different structure that I currently teach my students to use. You might also be familiar with them. These are:

  1. The Indented Format
  2. The Semi-Block Format
  3. The Block Format

NB: The difference between the semi block and the block letter format is that the paragraphs for the semi- block letter format is indented. Whereas,  paragraph for the block letter format is formed by skipping lines.

Also note that the block letter format is often used when typing a letter. This is not often employed when one writes a letter.

At all times remember to check to ensure that all of the following is present in your business letter.

  • The sender’s address (your address)
  • Date
  • Receiver’s address
  • Greeting
  • Subject Line
  • Body of the report
  • Closing


I have noted with increasing worry the following errors being made by students. The following are things that you should not  do when structuring your business letter:

  1. Do not abbreviate addresses, names, and other words.
  2. Do not put a colon (:) between dear and the name of the person.
  3. When using the block or semi block format do not put a date after the receiver’s address.
  4. If you are using the indented format the closing should be on your right.
  5. If you are using the block or semi block format the closing should be on the right.
  6. Use Dear Sir/Madam when you do not know the name of the person you are sending the letter to.
  7. The receiver’s information should be structured as follows:


               Mr. John Brown,             (Name of the Receiver’s)

               Manager,                           (Position of the Person)

               Brown’s Auto King,         (Name of the Company)

               17 John’s Road,                ( Address)

               Spanish Town,                  ( Address)

               St. Catherine.                    ( Address)

Come back tomorrow when we will drive into the various types of business letter.

4 thoughts on “Expository Writing- The Business Letter”

  1. Good afternoon. For the BLOCK format you said that the closing should be on the right but, our teacher told us that it should be on the left so which is correct?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *