British vs. American Business Letter Style

british vs american business letter

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Though the USA and the UK both speak English, the differences between the two are proverbial for being small yet significant. It’s no surprise that this would extend to letters for job application or business. There might be more than you expect!

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American Business Letter vs. British Business Letter

There are several stylistic differences in British vs American business letters, despite the fact that the two are very little separated in language. We will quickly discuss the differences here.

Firstly, in American letters everything is generally left-aligned and unindented. Sender and recipient’s addresses are neatly lined up; everything is fully flush with the left of your letter. If there is a subject, it will come between the last line of the addresses and the salutation. In the United States, you’ll use a colon after the salutation.

By contrast, in the UK, the sender’s address and name are somewhat to the right. A comma is used after the salutation, and the date listed, not first as in the US style, but across from the recipient’s name. A subject if present will be after the salutation.

Examples of Both Letter Writing Styles

Here are templates for each letter writing style. You can see the differences in practice with these examples. Feel free to use these templates to create your own letters.

American style business letter:

Nov 15, 2013

Tim Horton
1333 Road Lane
Misery, MI 12345

Jane Business
345 High Street
Truth or Consequences, NM 12345

Subject: Your Sample

Dear Ms. Business:

Here is the first paragraph, which will define the letter’s purpose. Come outright and say what you want.

For the second paragraph, a few lines of elaborating detail are sufficient if necessary.

In the third paragraph, give more detail. Thank the reader for their time. You’re done.

Regards,
Tim Horton

British style business letter:

………………………………………….Tim Horton
…………………………………………. 1333 Road Lane
…………………………………………. Misery, MI 12345

Jane Business……………………………… Nov 15, 2013
345 High Street
Truth or Consequences, NM 12345

Dear Ms. Business,

Subject: Your Sample

Here is the first paragraph, which will define the letter’s purpose. Come outright and say what you want.

For the second paragraph, a few lines of elaborating detail are sufficient if necessary.

In the third paragraph, give more detail. Thank the reader for their time. You’re done.

Regards,
Tim Horton

Get Help with Letter Writing

You’ve conquered the differences between British and American styles, but you still have general letter writing to get used to. If you struggle with editing, formatting, professional letter greetings, etc. we can help. We have tips, tricks, and helpful hints to get you on your way to better writing.

For more great help with business letter style, contact us now and set yourself up for success!

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