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Business Letter Writing In General

( Originally Published 1918 )



Importance. Ask any business man what is the most important factor in the transaction of his affairs and he will unhesitatingly tell you it is his business correspondence. Measured by results, nothing in the whole realm of business can even approach it. By letter writing nine-tenths of all the business of the country is conducted, goods sold, accounts collected, complaints adjusted service rendered.

As the morning paper puts us at once in intimate touch with the happenings of the whole round world, so our morning's mail puts us in touch with the things that are transpiring in connection with our own business, wherever that business reaches.

We can see no farther than the horizon that bounds our own little world but through our business letters we reach out to the ends of the land and of the world for that matter and there we buy and sell and get gain.

Multiplying Sales Effort. The salesman who makes twenty calls a day has about reached the limit of human, individual endeavor. His zone of influence is necessarily limited. His progress seems disappointingly slow, when measured by the extent of the market that awaits. Add nine more salesmen, each making as many calls, and they have seen but two hundred possible customers. Add another forty, making a total of fifty salesmen, and at most, they have not seen a thou-sand. But at what an expense per call ! Yet on the other hand, at the cost of but a few cents apiece, not only one thousand, but many thousand can as quickly be reached at a single stroke.

Overnight the manufacturer, who finds production running ahead of sales, can present a special offer to practically his entire jobbing trade that will convert his accumulated stock into cash, where weeks would probably be consumed in personal calls by the sales force.

Overnight the jobber can have in the hands of each dealer customer a "special" that will move the goods that have tarried too long, owing possibly to the neglect of the salesmen to push the items.

Overnight the retailer can call to the attention of his patrons some unusual advantage in the prompt buying of certain merchandise specially priced.

Distance No Barrier. Two cents will place a business message on the desk of a man in San Francisco or Boston or any point in between.

The number of miles intervening between the sender and the recipient makes no difference, save in time of delivery. Wherever the mails go, there may business be done by correspondence and at the lowest sales cost possible. It makes the world one's market, and the business letter the supersalesman of all time. By the use of the business letter it is as easy and as cheap for a concern in Bloomington, Illinois, to sell to a firm in Seattle, Washington as in Chicago. In selling by mail the location of the buyer and seller count for practically nothing. The volume of one's business is limited only by the number and the quality of one's business letters. Customers are wherever people live and it costs but a two cent stamp, first class postage, to state your message, only about one fourth of a single street car fare today.

Prompt Audience. Who is there that does not know by experience, the hours that are lost in waiting in the outer office or reception room for an audience with the man he has come, perhaps a hundred miles or more, to see. Appointments made in advance may shorten or avoid the delay, but the fact remains that with the average sales-man close to an hour a day is consumed in waiting to see the buyer.

With the business letter that is all avoided.

The mail, as it comes to the office, is given the right of way. In the larger offices it is handled by the mail clerk and at once distributed to the ones who have the particular matters in charge. There is no delay. There is no waiting. There are no appointments to be made in advance. In most, cases, even if a caller is at the desk of a business man when the mail is brought to him, the caller is asked if he will wait a moment while he "runs through the mail." This has been called the "courtesy of the mail," and is coming to be recognized and appreciated more and more by business men who are seeking every avenue towards larger sales.

Reaches Inaccessible Points. Trade sticks close to the highways of travel, especially as concerns the great army of traveling salesmen. The men on the road try to figure how many towns they can make in a day. This means that towns off the main line and with no direct rail communication are slighted to a very great degree. But every business concern knows that all through this territory there is business to be had for the going after, attractive in the aggregate, even if it be too costly to send salesmen to cover it personally.

This is where the business letters come in, to gather up this trade and reap- the profits that it holds. Into these smaller and more inaccessible towns comes the mail, laden with the same offers that the traveling salesmen make to the dealers in the larger and more favored communities, and through these letters their goods are sold and these districts derive all of the benefits and advantages of the other places in the line of modern merchandise. To business letters is due, more than to any other single factor, the wide-spread use of up to date merchandise and equipment in those sections of the land more or less remote from the marts of trade.

Support Personal Sales Efforts. Even the work of the salesmen themselves, in the territory which they cover is made much more effective by the judicious use of business letters. By this means, manufacturers are able to keep their products constantly before the minds of their jobbers; jobbers are able to keep their trade informed and both are enabled to reach out and draw the trade of the community to the stores of the retailers that carry the line. The fact that this kind of "missionary work" is done more by the manufacturers than by any other class only goes to show how Widespread is its influence, and how the sales manager, from his desk at the factory, is able to carry on any number of intensive sales campaigns in all parts of the country, sending his reinforcements into the battle line to support both his own salesmen and those of his jobbers, as well as the sales efforts of the dealers themselves.

Keeping Salesmen "On Their Toes." Jobbers, as well as manufacturers, are making most effective use of business letters to keep their own sales force keyed up to the highest degree of efficiency. Sometimes daily, if a campaign that is particularly important, is under way, the sales manager will write his men', putting all possible enthusiasm into his letters that his sales force may catch it and bend to the task with redoubled effort. In not a few instances the sales manager will announce prizes for the largest volume of orders turned in within a given period of time, and daily he will write the men informing them of the standing of each and urging those who are lagging to speed up and be numbered among the real contenders. Thus the sales manager is in effect always with his men, giving them advice and encouragement-and all done through his letters

Creating Consumer Demand. Jobbers and dealers usually express a preference for goods that are in demand. In the handling of such lines they save time in their selling, as the customer comes in and asks for a particular article by name, and the sale becomes nothing more than what has been called a "take down and wrap up" transaction. There is no requirement for any sales effort on the part of either jobber or dealer. There are no sales talks to be made and no demonstrations. An inexperienced clerk can handle the customer as well as the proprietor.

With the new goods, this is different. They must be called to the attention of the customers. They must be shown, demonstrated. This takes both time and real sales ability, or the items are very apt to linger on the shelves, increasing their ultimate cost week by week by interest on the investment, by their proportionate share in the rent, heat, light and general overhead of the store.

To new goods the business letters come as a most effective method of creating this much-desired "consumer demand." The very people who should become interested in the new product are made acquainted with its advantages in a most direct and personal way. The manufacturer practically invades the home or the office to have a personal talk about his product. He may present his catalog, testimonial letters, illustrations, descriptions, along with his personal message. He has the distinct advantage of doing this in the absence of all competing products that might divert the attention or lessen the force of his sales argument. He has aroused the interest of the recipient, and if he will state the names and addresses of those dealers who locally handle his products, he has, to a very large degree, created such an interest as will result in requests for his products on the dealers themselves, and by that very act put his own goods on more nearly an equal footing with long established brands and overcome the objection of the dealers towards new goods.

Making Collections: Letters are the greatest collection agency in existence. No one in business can afford to make personal collections where the mails will bring in the tardy dollars. Whether it be the manufacturer, the jobber or the dealer, the collection letters keep the credit department in constant and close touch with all overdue out-standing accounts. To those who sell on installments, collection letters take care of all but the persistent delinquents. They remind the debtor of the past-due account; they seek the reason for nonpayment ; they warn of the necessity of resorting to other measures; they forward collection drafts; they place the accounts with attorneys as a last resort.

It is safe to say that outside of letters to sell merchandise, collection letters are the most important class of business correspondence, and at the same time, the one class that is more abused and the fruitful cause of the loss of patronage through unskillful handling.

Credit Inquiries. To the credit department of a business, letters inquiring of other business houses as to the standing and ability financially, of prospective customers, and their disposition to make prompt payment of their obligations, are of prime importance. In proportion to their use, and the care in accepting new accounts, is the subsequent load taken off the collection department, and the house is enabled to determine the class of customers with whom it wishes to do business and extend credit.

Adjusting Complaints. Humanity is frail. It happens in the best regulated concerns that some times a shipment will go out that is not right. Guard against them as one may, complaints will come in, and when they do, there is the place where a customer will either be saved or be lost. One cannot go to see every customer who has a complaint to make, and adjust the matter on the ground. It must be done in one of two ways : either entirely by letter, or by a representative of the house who may be in the immediate territory, and even then, the instructions to the salesmen must go forward by letter.

So it falls upon business letter writing to build up business and keep the wheels of industry turning.

Demand for Skilled Correspondents. As business men have realized the increasingly important part that business letter writing plays and is destined to play in their affairs, there is an in-creasing demand for skilled correspondents to whom may be intrusted so vital a part of their organization. Not every person, even with a good command of English, is qualified to become a good correspondent. Business correspondence is a science, with its rules and principles, that must be studied and mastered, the same as any other calling. It requires vision; it requires a thorough knowledge of human nature and of the things that influence others to act as you would have them act; it requires the ability to see a given matter from the viewpoint of the "other fellow"; it requires tact and diplomacy to a very great degree; it requires, in many cases, firmness, but of a kind that gives no offense ; it re-quires ability to discern honest intentions from knavery.

Because of these things, one who has mastered them can make a place for himself in any concern that will grow in importance and remuneration both to the house and himself, as the years go by.

Knowledge of Products. No matter how skilled one may be in business letter writing, no matter how tactful, no matter what successes he-may have attained in the past, he should not undertake business correspondence without first being well grounded and familiar with the products of the house by which he is employed. Many a man has made a decided success as a correspondent in a line with which he was perfectly familiar, and by reason of such success has been called to another concern, and there has made a dismal failure, wholly unable to repeat his past brilliant performance. When the causes have been ascertained, they have almost invariably been found to be a lack of acquaintance and familiarity with the products of his employer, which prevented him from writing letters that would or could produce sales or handling complaints or any of the other phases that are constantly coming up in the course of business letter writing. Know the goods. Spend ample time in the factory to study how they are made and why they are made as they are. Know about competing goods as well, and so be able to point out the advantages of your own. Know what to do when they "fall down," if they do. No correspondent can have too much knowledge about the goods his house sells, for especially in mail order houses or departments, he is pre-eminently a salesman who makes his sales talks on paper instead of face to face, and hence he must be equally as well fortified with the facts and the intimate knowledge of his line as the best man in the field.

Some of the leading concerns insist that their correspondents spend part of their time in the factory before devoting all of their activities to letter writing, so important do they consider it that their correspondents know from personal experience every step in the manufacture of their products. Others send their men out into the field that they may get at first hand the attitude of the trade and so be able to write from the viewpoint of the dealer and the user.

Letters as Written Conversation. Too many business letters are stiff and formal, stereotyped, abounding in time-worn, set phrases that mean nothing. They are cold, impersonal and devoid of any intimation that they are any other than what they are, routine communications, from letters and the like, without a trace of interest in the welfare of those to whom they are sent.

The successful business letter must be as personal as one's conversation. The more closely it approaches what one man would say to an-other, face to-face, the better the results. Therefore write as you would talk. Make the letter a personal message to the particular person addressed. Make it abound with facts and arguments that appeal to his own interest rather than your own. Make him feel, from the out set, that you have shut out all the other customers or prospects of the house, and have devoted your entire time and attention for a while to furthering his interests and those of his customers.

One of the strongest grasps a salesman can have on his trade is to be able to make the customer feel that he has a personal friend and advocate in some one connected with the concern from whom he buys who is interested in him and in his welfare, and who has an interest in seeing that his orders receive the proper attention. This same feeling must be created by the successful correspondent, and it is done by making the letters brim full of consideration for the mail customer, making him realize that this unseen writer is ever alert and watchful for his interest, one to whom he can appeal in time of need, so that, though unseen, a real, personal friendship exists.

Bury Self Interest Too many business. letters abound in "we" and "our" with no thought of "you." Self-interest protrudes on all sides, and then the senders wonder why they do not pull business, continued patronage, loyalty. Service is the keynote in selling, for it is an acknowledged axiom in business that those who serve best sell most. In this connection it must be borne in mind that there is only one buyer and he the consumer. All others are sellers, like the manufacturer, the jobber and the dealer. The manufacturer makes in order to sell. The jobber and the dealer buy in order to sell again. There-fore in writing sales letters to the jobber and the dealer do not fail to approach them from the standpoint that they, like your own house, are sellers, buying only in order that they may sell again and at a profit. They must be shown where their own best interests lie in buying your goods ; that they can be quickly resold at an attractive profit; that they are of a kind and quality and at a price that makes them sought after, and once used, are repurchased because of their own merit.

In writing to the consumer, here again self-interest of the seller must be effaced and that of the buyer urged. Every business letter writer must keep constantly in mind that no one makes a purchase unless he believes that it is to his best interests to do so, and in thus making up his mind he has no thought of the seller save in being able to secure what is wanted at a satisfactory price.

So in sales letters bear heavily on the advantage to the buyer of your goods, whether jobber, dealer, or the ultimate consumer, and coupled with a sense of a real, personal interest in the buyer, orders will flow in and loyal patronage established.

Educational Requisites. Manifestly, a good command of English and a mastery of the rules of composition are the first essential requisites for a business correspondent. The education acquired by attendance at our grammar schools will give the necessary foundation, but upon that must be built the superstructure. What this is depends upon the individual. As has so often and truly been said, every man is the architect and builder of his own fortune. Education is available to every person. All that is required is the determination to acquire it and by it to fit one's self for the better paying positions that are awaiting the man who can fill them.

Outside of the courses in English composition there is nothing more important than familiarity with the best writers. Reading acquaints one with literary style, expands one's vocabulary and makes it easy to clearly express one's thoughts and ideas on paper.

Simple Rules for Writing. Although one may have the ability to express his thoughts in writing, there are a number of fundamental rules that must be mastered and observed in order to construct a correct letter. These include punctuation and the use of the characters most commonly employed in correspondence. They also have to do with the structure of the letter, and the more important ones are given below.

The Comma (,) denotes a slight pause and divides a sentence into its component parts. It must be used in sentences which would otherwise be misunderstood.

The Colon (:) is placed between the chief di-visions of a sentence when these are but slightly connected and is also placed between clauses when the connection is so slight that any one of them might be a distinct sentence. In didactic writing it often substitutes the period.

The Semi-Colon (;) indicates a shorter pause than the colon and also divides compound sentences. When a clause especially explains the meaning of some other expression, it is separated from that expression by a semi-colon, and one is used to divide a sentence into sections when the parts are not independent of each other, enough to require a colon.

The Period (.) denotes the close of a sentence. It is placed after every declarative or imperative sentence.

All abbreviations and initial letters standing alone are followed by a period; used also to separate whole numbers from decimals and after the enumeration of letters or figures.

The Interrogation Point (?) is used after every sentence or part of a sentence containing a question.

The Exclamation Point (!) is used to denote wonder surprise, or astonishment.

The Dash () indicates a sudden change in the subject. One is usually placed before the answer to a question when they both belong to the same line. Often used instead of the parenthesis.

Quotation Marks (" ") indicate the words of an author or speaker quoted. Every quoted passage should be enclosed in quotation marks. Quotations consisting of more than one paragraph have the first quotation mark at the beginning of each paragraph, but the second is used only at the close of the last paragraph.

When one quotation includes another, the latter is enclosed by only one of each of the first and last marks, (").

The Parenthesis ( ) is used to enclose an explanatory remark, which might be omitted without injuring the grammatical construction of the sentence.

The Hyphen (-) is used to connect the syllables or parts of a compound word, and to connect a word broken at the end of a line, when the re-, <> mainder follows on the next line.

The Caret (A) denotes that some word or letter has been omitted by mistake; as going

I am going to New York.

Brackets [ ] are used chiefly to give an ex-planation, or to supply an omission; as, Yours [the United States] is a great country.

The Apostrophe (') placed between letters and above them in a word denotes a contraction, as o'er. It is also used before or after the letter s to denote the possessive case; as, John's book, James' house.

The Brace connects several words with one common form.

The Paragraph (jj) begin a new subject.

The Section () is used to subdivide chapters.

The Asterisk (*), Parallels (II), Dagger (t), Double Dagger (t) are used as reference marks.

The Commercial A (@) used in market quotations, means "at" or "to."

The sign "V" means per, and' "lb" means pound.

The Sign (%) mean per cent.

The Ellipsis (* * *) or () denotes the omission of letters or words.

The Index (`) points to something of special importance.

Underscore is a line or lines drawn under words in writing that is intended for printing. One line denotes italics; two lines, small capitals, and three lines, large capitals.

Spelling. Very few rules for spelling can be given to which exceptions are not so numerous as to render the rule of little value, but the following are a few of the more general:

Words ending in e drop that letter before the termination able, as in move, movable ; unless ending in ce or ge, when it is retained, as in change, changeable, etc.

Words of one syllable, ending in a consonant, with a single vowel before it, double that consonant in derivatives; as ship, shipping, etc. But if ending in a consonant with a double vowel before it, they do not double the consonant in derivatives, as troop, trooper, etc.

Words of more than one syllable, ending in a consonant preceded by a single vowel, and accented on the last syllable, double that consonant in derivatives, as commit, committed, but except chagrin, chagrined.

Capitalization. Of the rules regarding the use of ,capitals, the following will be found to be the most useful:

The months of the year and the days of the week begin with capitals.

The pronoun I, and the interjection O, are always capitals.

Every direct quotation should begin with a capital letter.

All titles of persons begin with capitals.

All the principal words in the titles of books should begin with capital letters.

The several chapters or other divisions of any book begin with capitals.

Common nouns personified begin with capital letters.

Any word particularly important may begin with a capital letter.

In all kinds of advertisements nearly all the leading words usually begin with capitals.

In accounts each article mentioned should begin with a capital.

Proper nouns and adjectives derived from proper nouns begin with capitals as: a Greek, a Hebrew, a Christian.

The national or geographical personal qualities used as nouns or before nouns, relating to merchandise, do not require a capital, as: oriental rugs, castile soap, india ink, etc.

Verbs derived from nouns that have lost their reference to the noun should be printed with small letters as: to galvanize; to japan. An exception to this rule, however, is such words as: Christianize, Romanize.

In the titles of corporations and societies the first word and all other important words should begin with a capital letter.

Words of primary importance, indicating a remarkable change in government or religion, are commenced with capital letters, as: the French Revolution, the Declaration of Independence.

All quotations consisting of a complete sentence should begin with a capital letter excepting where the quotation is preceded by the word "that," as: He said that "every man who kills time which he is paid for may not steal chickens from his neighbor, but he is just as big a thief as the man who does."

In writing resolutions, the word immediately following "Resolved" should begin with a capital letter, as: Resolved : That ---

Business Stationery. In recent years more Careful attention is being paid to the style, character and appearance of business stationery. The reason is that first impressions are apt to be the lasting ones, and the business letter must necessarily arrest attention before its message can be read.

Quality, beauty, artistic design, appropriateness, all these flag one's attention and make one pause, first to examine and then pass judgment upon. Not that the character of the stationery used affects the message, but keen business men receive impressions from the general appearance of the letter, favorable or otherwise, before a line is read.

Correct, neat, attractive business stationery is to the written message as the salesman's clothes are to his spoken word. Thoughtful business men would no sooner send out cheap, shoddy looking, ill printed stationery than to send out a salesman whose clothes suggested they had been used as pajamas the night before.

Usage has established certain kinds and classes of stationery for different lines of business, and a departure from those standards, especially if the departure is downward, has a most unfortunate effect.

Take for instance banks, insurance companies and financial houses generally. They aim to give every impression of strength and solidity as reflected through their stationery. They use the finest grades of bond paper with engraved letter-heads.

Legal firms likewise are most careful as regards the appearance of their stationery. Large manufacturing concerns seek to convey the impression of greatness, often embodying illustrations of their plants at the top of their letterheads.

Mail order houses and concerns sending out large volumes of letters make use of cheaper qualities and lighter weights, owing to the number of enclosures that usually accompany them.

Commercial artists, engravers and printers usually give evidence of their artistic ability in the make-up of their stationery, but outside of these, the use of colors and elaboration often produces an unfavorable impression.

While tinted stock may in some instances be appropriately used, white is always proper and in good taste.

Parts of a Letter. For convenience in explaining the form of a letter we call the different parts by the following names:

1. Heading (Place and Date).

2. Address.

3. Salutation.

4. Body of Letter.

5. Complimentary Closing.

6. The Writer's Signature.

The diagram on the following page will show clearly their position :

Heading. The top of the sheet in all mercantile, banking and professional stationery bears an engraved "letterhead" giving the name of the concern, its street number and the name of its city.

A personally written letter should give similar information, written to the right hand side of the sheet and about two or two and one-half inches from the top. There is no objection to using two or more lines for the heading if required.

The Address of a letter consists of the name and title of the person or firm to whom you are writing, the residence, or place of business, as the case may be, to which the letter is to be sent.

The inside address, as this may be called, will be the same as the address on the envelope, excepting that on the inside address the city and state may be written on the same line. Begin the address on the left-hand side of the sheet, one inch from the edge of the paper, and on the line following the one on which the heading is writ-ten. The second line of the address may begin an inch farther to the right than where the first line is begun but preferably at the margin.

The Proper Use of Titles.---Two titles of courtesy should not be joined to the same name; as, Mr. John Hartley, Esq.; nor should a title of courtesy be used with a professional or official title: as Mr. J. B. Wilson, M. D., or Hon. Henry Weston, Esq. One exception to this rule, how-ever, is permitted where a clergyman's initials or first name is not known, to write, Rev. Mr.(--), giving only the surname.

The Salutation is the complimentary term used to begin the letter. The forms most in use are

Sir, Dear Sir, or My Dear Sir. In addressing a firm, Gentlemen should be used. Dear Sirs is obsolete when used in connection with a firm or corporation, although it may properly be used when addressing an association of individuals. If the person addressed be a woman, old or young, married or single, the salutation should nevertheless be Dear Madam. When the person written to is known to the writer to be an unmarried woman, and rigid formality can properly be waived, it is proper to address her by her name, preceded by Dear Miss, as Dear Miss Brown. Likewise it is entirely proper to address a married woman as Dear Mrs. Williams, where in addressing her husband the salutation of Dear Sir would be used.

In business letters never adopt Dear Friend or Esteemed Friend or any similar salutation. It smacks too much of over-familiarity and vulgarity, and the recipient is rarely deceived. It used to be much in vogue with certain mail order houses, but has properly fallen into disuse.

Follow the salutation by a colon. The dash is not used today by the best correspondents.

The Body, of the Letter should begin directly below the end of the salutation on a new line. Usually that indentation from the margin is followed throughout the letter for each succeeding paragraph. But if the salutation is lengthy, as My dear Mr. Throckmorton, the body of the letter should begin about an inch to the right of the left hand margin, and all succeeding paragraphs using the same indentation.

Of late there is a growing tendency to disregard indenting paragraphs and beginning them at the margin, but leaving an extra space between the paragraphs.

Line Spacing. With all typewritten letters of but a relatively few lines, double space should be used. Longer letters should be single spaced, but with a double space between the paragraphs, whether they be indented or not.

Length of Lines. More and more care is being given to the appearance of business letters. Many things that formerly were looked upon as trifles are being recognized as really important factors in business correspondence. Neat, trim looking letters always command attention. Nothing de-tracts so much from neatness as ragged lines on the right hand margin of a letter. Care should be exercised to preserve an equal margin on both sides of the sheet as far as possible.

Close of a Letter. The inherent weakness of most letters is the closing sentence or paragraph. No matter how strong, convincing, clear and concise a letter may be, there is nearly always present the temptation to besmudge it with some inane, meaningless platitude beginning with "Hoping" or "Trusting" something or other, as though the writer were in doubt and wanted to avoid making some positive statement concerning the subject matter of the letter.

The safe rule is when you have said what you had, to say, stop. If you still feel that some less abrupt ending should be employed, don't make it apologetic or clothed in doubt, but let it ex-press a conviction, like "We have every assurance that this will fully meet your requirements."

The Complimentary Close of a business letter uses the expression "Yours truly," "Very truly yours," "Very truly," or the like. "Yours very respectfully" or "Respectfully yours" have been dropped as too stiff and formal for ordinary business correspondence, and reserved for use when writing a superior or some public officer, or in applying for a position. "Cordially yours" is the accompaniment of intimate acquaintance and friendship of long standing, where the relation-ship accords with the phrase cordial. "Gratefully yours" may be used if the writer is under obligation to the person written to, or "Fraternally yours" if to a member of the same order or society.

In official letters a more formal style is used: as, "I have the honor to be, Yours very respectfully."

The complimentary closing should always be consistent with the salutation. For example : to begin a letter with a formal "Sir" and close with "Sincerely yours" would show very bad taste.

The Signature is the name of the writer or the firm or company he represents. It should be written under the complimentary closing and should end just at the right-hand edge of the sheet.

It should be written very plainly. Many writers have a habit of making their signature the most unintelligible part of their letters, presuming that because their name is familiar to themselves it is to everybody else.

A lady writing to persons with whom she is not acquainted should always prefix the title, Miss or Mrs., in parenthesis, to her signature.

Folding. The letter sheet should be folded so as to nearly fill the envelope. To fold a sheet of letter paper to fit the No. 6 or 6 1/2 envelope, turn the bottom of the sheet up to the top, making one fold, then fold equally from the right and from the left, making the letter, when folded, a little narrower than the envelope. If the envelope is held with the left hand, back up, and the letter inserted as folded, all the receiver has to do when he opens the envelope is to withdraw the letter and turn back the folds, and he has it before him right side up. This is important.

Sealing.-Be particular to seal your letter properly, especially if it contains money or other enclosure.

A letter of introduction or recommendation should never be sealed when entrusted to bearer. Sealing would discredit the bearer.

The Envelope Address.-The name and title should be written on the center of the envelope lengthwise. When street and number are given, or the direction "In care of ," they follow on the second line, the city or town on the third, and the state on the fourth or lower right-hand corner of envelope.

The envelope should be placed before the writer with the flap farthest from him, otherwise it will be addressed upside down; and the letter should not be inserted until after the address is written.

The envelope used for business purposes should have either written or printed upon its upper left-hand corner the name and address of the sender, with a request for return in a certain number of days if not called for.

Opening Letters. Letters are properly opened by inserting a knife or other convenient instrument under the flap at the end and cutting along the top of the envelope.



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