Sample Letter of Recommendation


John Smith National Attorney 257, Park Avenue South New York, NY 12345-6789   1st May, 2007   To whom it may concern:   Richard worked under my supervision as a real estate attorney from Feb. 01, 1999, until Feb. 29, 2004. His responsibilities included handling corporate, real estate, intellectual property, and governmental affairs of our clients. During the course of his employment, Richard proved himself to be an able employee, a hard worker, and a brilliant lawyer.   I was quite impressed by Richard's ability to complete all work assigned to him on time. His suggestions were always thorough and comprehensive, and his fact checking always accurate. We sometimes allow our assistants to do some cases on their own, but Richard' talents prompted us to assign him more pieces than normal. His theoretical knowledge is clear, concise, and evocative.   Overall, Richard is a very meticulous and able employee. I certainly believe he has what it takes to make a wonderful attorney someday, and I am sad to see him leave. I strongly recommend Richard for any mid-level legal position in financial consultancies.   Regards,     John Smith CMD National Attorney  


Unit 6 Enquiry Letter/Request Letter and Answer Letter


Letters of Enquiry/Request

General information

Letters of enquiry orrequest are written in order to obtain information about a business related topic. They often need to bring about a certain action. For example, a writer may want to test out the demand for a product from a supplier with their customers, before they include them in their inventory. They are usually used in external correspondence between business people at two different companies but they can also sometimes be used between two corporate units, for example a subsidiary company in the Netherlands and their Head Office in the UK.

Enquiry letters often only deal with one enquiry at a time. These are sent separately to facilitate administration and to make it easier to both archive the letter and then process the order or carry out the action required.

Thetone of business letters in English is can be quite informalor casual, because the people involved often have an established relationship and have been in business for a while. Enquiry letters are often examples of business-to-business communication.




Enquiry letters usually have a very straightforward structure. The writer first provides a context for the reader, i.e. he or she states at the beginning why they are writing the letter or they identify themselves by referring to a previous contact, and then they go on to state the action they would like to see completed or their request for further information. Sometimes writers also include extra information before their request or action point, to explain or justify to the reader they need the information or action. The structure of the letter looks like this:


Extra information if necessary

Request for information or action



Letters often begin with Dear Ms Sears and end with Yours sincerely. This is British English and is used when the writer knows the name of the person they are writing to. The American equivalent would be Sincerely. When a writer does not know the name of the person they are writing to, then they can use Dear Sir or Madam for an individual or Dear Sirs for a company, in British English, and Gentlemen (without Dear!) in American English. The letter would then end with Yours faithfully in British English and Yours truly in American English. British writers also often use Best wishes, Your sincerely, if they know the person they are writing to well in business, and American writers often use Regards.

Writers usually only includes detail of their position within the company, and not the name of company. Writers only include details of their company name in the signature if they are making a first contact via a letter.

Ms is the title used for professional women both in the UK & the US, unless the writer knows that the woman is married and that she wishes to be addressed as Mrs.

Months and days of the week always begin with a capital letter in English. In the UK the day comes before the month, e.g. 12 September 2007. In the States, this is often reversed, e.g. September 12, 2007.

Sample Enquiry Letter/Request Letter


R Piper and Sons 21 Med Rd, Swansea, Glamorgan 3ST 1DR VAT no. 216 3768 30 Tel. Swansea 58441 www.piper.com.uk   Your ref.: Our ref.: 54/3   Ms J. Sears Dorith Inc. 54-59 Riverside Dublin DR 1 1JW Eire   12 September 2000   Dear Ms Sears,   Thank you for your last delivery. Not only did we receive all goods in mint condition, we also managed to sell them in record time.   You will be pleased to hear we will place a repeat order for the beds. In addition, we have had enquiries into matching bookcases and tables which are listed in last year's summer catalogue (p. 45). In view of these questions we would like to test the demand for them. We would therefore like to receive 10 units of each, on approval, before placing a firm order.   I have enclosed an order (P 34-1) for the bookcases and tables and I look forward to hearing from you.   Yours sincerely, Matthews B. Matthews Purchaser   Encl. Order P 34-1


3. Frequently made mistakes!

Grammar 1: Notice that I look forward to is followed by the gerund or -ing form of the verb (to is a preposition, not part of the infinitive of the verb).

Grammar 2: Notice that a writer uses the Past Simple tense in we also managed to sell them for an action that is no longer going on, but the Present Perfect for we have had enquiries for something that started in the past, but is still going on.



Style tip 1: Writers often use I as well as we in business letters in English. For example I am writing to, is a very common way of starting a business letter.



Language Development

Exercise 1. Letters of request.

We often write asking for things. Polite forms are relevant to the verbs

will would

can could

shall should

may might


    I   We   should would appreciate welcome your early prompt speedy advice answer assistance co-operation reply  
be most very grateful for     if  
you would could advise answer assist co-operate reply  


    Your   early prompt advice answer assistance co-operation reply     would be appreciated welcomed helpful advisable



I. - is highly complimentary.

II. implies the recipient is usually slow to respond.


Practice the above formulae using the following:

(a) help (noun)

(b) help (verb)

(c) co-operate

(d) co-operation

(e) suggestion

(f) suggest

(g) inform

(h) information

(i) notification

(j) notify

For ideas: market research of(the new product), results of testing (the clock-television), promotional campaign of (the new pump), possible reduction in the price, extra supplies of manganese, development of the new models of tractors, sign a contract.

Kindly write send return reply refer to reconsider
    Please be (so) good kind helpful obliging   enough       to

e.g. Kindly inform us of your arrival.

Please be good enough to remit the money soon.

Please be so obliging as to let us have your new address.



Exercise 2. Polite requests

Use different formulation of please for each of the following,

e.g. by return of post.


(a) the bill.

(b) a stamped addressed envelope.

(c) me of your arrival time.

(d) notify the local police.

(e) the damaged goods.

(f) me at the office.

(g) our agent in Frankfurt.

(h) the outstanding amounts.

(i) us on your mailing list.

(j) before the next meeting.


Exercise 3. Asking for a reply

Rearrange (a) (f) in order of politeness, from 1 (most) to 6 (least). Discuss.

(a) I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.

(b) Please give the matter your urgent attention.

(c) Your prompt reply would be appreciated.

(d) We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

(e) Kindly treat this as a matter of urgency.

(f) We require your reply at once.



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