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- Business Hints for Men and Women - 6/31 -

The "Mr.," "Mrs.," "Madam," and "Miss" are titles of courtesy and should not be omitted. The abbreviation "Esq." for Esquire is sometimes used; but the two titles Mr. and Esq. should never be used with one name, as "Mr. John Smith, Esq."

If a man is known by a military or other title, always use it, but never precede it with "Mr." nor follow it with "Esq."

Clergymen should always be addressed as "Rev.," the abbreviation for Reverend. If he is a doctor of divinity, add D.D. to the name, as "Rev. John Smith, D.D."

Medical doctors may be addressed as "Dr. John Smith," or "John Smith, M.D."


The greeting or salutation is a term of courtesy or esteem used in addressing the one to whom the letter is sent.

"Sir" is the formal greeting, and is used in addressing officials, or any strange male person. "Sirs," or "Gentlemen" may be used in the plural. "Dear Sir," or "My Dear Sir," is the usual form of greeting when a business letter is addressed to an individual.

Where the writer is acquainted with the person addressed, the usual form of greeting is "Dear Mr. Smith."


If writing in response to a letter received, the writer should begin in some such way as this:

Mr. Thomas Brown, Newburg, N. Y. My Dear Sir:

Your favor of the second inst. is just to hand. In reply permit me to state, etc., etc.

This should be followed by the necessary statement, set forth in clear, simple words.

Be sure of yourself.

The secret of good writing is clear thinking.


There is much in the proper ending of a letter. In the ordinary business letter the usual ending may be, "Yours truly," "Yours very truly," or "Yours respectfully." Other endings used in writing to business acquaintances are, "Yours sincerely," or "Very sincerely yours," or you may substitute the words "Cordially" or "Heartily" for "sincerely."


The name of the writer should be so clear and distinct as to leave no doubt as to the spelling.

The name should always be written in the same way.

If your name is George W. Brown, do not write it at one time as here given, and again as G. Washington Brown, or G. W. Brown.

Adopt one form and stick to it.

If you are writing for a firm or for another as clerk or secretary, always sign the firm name, and below it your own name preceded by the word "per," meaning "by" or "through."


Never use scraps of paper or soiled paper to write on if better can be had. The materials of a letter affect the receiver, particularly if a stranger, just as one is affected by the garb of a stranger before he speaks.

Use a good pen and black ink.

Fold your paper so that it will fit the envelope.

Avoid blots and erasures; they indicate carelessness or unbecoming haste.

Address your letter distinctly.

Here is a good form:

Mr. George W. White, Boston, 1101 Sioux St. Mass.


At some time or another one has to write a letter of introduction, and sometimes he has had to pay for it.

If you should give such a letter to a man to introduce him to another with whom you trade, the law has held that the introducer is responsible for any reasonable bills the introduced may contract with the receiver of the letter.

Never give a letter of introduction to a man you are not sure of.

In addressing a letter of introduction which is to be handed in person, do it in this way:

Mr. George W. Brown, Washington, D. C. Introducing Mr. Henry Wilson.

This shows on its face the nature of the communication.

Here is a good form:

111 Payne Ave., Montrose, Ill. September 27, 1910. Mr. Norman R. Lloyd, Chicago, Ill. Dear Mr. Lloyd:

This will introduce my esteemed friend Mr. Thomas T. Fletcher, of this town. Mr. Fletcher contemplates opening a drug store in Chicago. Should he do so he will prove an acquisition to your City. Any favor you can render him will be much appreciated by, Yours faithfully, George W. Brown.


Every man of standing and every employer of labor is at times called on to certify to the character, or to give a testimonial to some esteemed employee who is about to seek his fortune in another place.

If you are about to hire a stranger, it adds to your confidence and to his chances if he have a testimonial as to character and fitness from his last employer, or from some man whose word you value.

The letter of recommendation is usually of a general character and not addressed to any particular. It should open in this way:

"To whom it may concern."

Follow this with your testimonial and sign it.


The President of the United States is addressed as: "His Excellency," William H. Taft, Executive Mansion, Washington, D. C.

Cabinet officers, Senators, Congressmen, members of the Legislature, and Mayors of cities are usually addressed as "Hon.," the abbreviation of honorable.

The title "Hon." like "Esq." is often misused. After all titles of courtesy are not obligatory, unless we regard the unwritten law of custom in such matters as binding.

The very best kind of a letter, and perhaps the hardest to write, is that in which the writer appears to be talking to us face to face.



Try to understand clearly the meaning of all the business terms you have to use.

The terms "bill" and "invoice" usually mean the same thing, that is, a "bill of sale." This applies to goods sold, or services rendered.

The merchant sends you an itemized invoice of the goods you ordered and he has shipped.

The carpenter sends you an itemized bill of the work done by your order.

Such a document should be regarded not as a "dun," but rather as a record of the contract or transaction.

In the foregoing case the merchant and the carpenter are the

Business Hints for Men and Women - 6/31

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