Basic Elements of a Formal Letter with Reference Line

A formal letter with reference line is a type of business correspondence. A reference line is located at the line at the top of a business letter. It tells the reader who is the author of the letter.

The Purpose of a Reference Line

Most people send a formal letter with a reference line when they have a body of correspondence between them. This correspondence may grow to be so much that they need a way to keep track of it.

This is where the reference line comes in. Let’s say you have a customer complaint, and you write to a company. When you receive a response from them, you may see a reference line. This line would be referring to your original letter.

The formal letter with reference line is the way that the company acknowledges that they have seen what you wrote to them.

In the example above, the customer has written a letter to a company, and in response, they send a letter back. In both cases, there will be a reference line.

Look professional with a formal letter with reference line

Nearly every piece of paper generated in a business environment will have a reference line. For some situations, the reference line may be something a little longer than others.

If you have a business, your correspondence appears more professional to recipients with a reference line. Think about how your correspondence will appear when you open them with their response.

You should also use a reference line if the recipient has requested specific information, such as a job number or invoice number. You should also use a reference line if you’re replying to their letter. This makes it easier for the recipient to get a speedy response to you.

Where Does the Reference Line Go?

Believe it or not, there is actually some debate about this. This debate is centered on whether you are writing in the US or the UK.

Reference lines typically appear after letterhead, above the date, and on the left margin in British English. In American English, it appears at the bottom of the page and is usually left-justified.

To Wrap Up

Many business letters do not have a reference line. They are not always considered necessary. However, it’s helpful for keeping track of any correspondence. This is whether they are letterheads or keeping tabs on a particular file or project.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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