Do you struggle with the first sentences of business letters? Review these examples. They will give you ideas on how to start your business letters and email messages.
- To respond to a letter of complaint:
Thank you for writing to us about your experience in our copy center last week.
- To say thank you:
Thank you so much for contributing the one-year corporate club membership to our auction.
- To confirm an agreement:
I am happy to write to confirm our agreement about the summer workshop.
- To provide a reference:
Sallie Dell has asked me to provide information to you in support of her job application, and I am pleased to do so.
- To share information:
I received some important information from Dr. Owens, and I believe it will be useful to you as you analyze the marketing data.
- To explain a change in policy:
Because we value our relationship with you, I wanted to personally explain a new policy we will implement in February.
- To request: I am applying for graduate schools in marine biology, and I would be very grateful if you would write a letter of reference for me.
- To deny a request:
Thank you for writing to ask about attending the conference in Baltimore. I wish I could approve your request.
- To respond to a job advertisement:
I fully meet or exceed the requirements of the Business Analyst III position, and I am pleased to apply for it.
- To report on a site visit:
Suzanne Villareal and Dale Cunningham visited the site on January 12, and they were very impressed with your safety program and hazardous materials policies. This letter covers their observations.
- To apologize:
Please accept my apology for missing the meeting yesterday. I am very sorry that I was unable to attend.
- To congratulate:
Congratulations on successfully passing your bar exam. You are now officially an attorney!
These sentences have three things in common:
- They get to the point. Each one answers the reader’s question “What’s this about?”
- They are concise without being blunt.
- They contain positive language: thank you, please, contributing, happy, pleased, congratulations, grateful, successfully, impressed, etc.
First sentences can sometimes seem difficult to craft. If you feel stymied, just skip the first sentence and go on to the second. Once you see what you have written, return to the beginning. Then set the stage with your opening sentence.
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