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Copies / copies line

When copies are sent to people other than the named recipient, c.c. (casbon copy) is added, usually at the end of a letter, before the name/s of the recipient/s of the copies.

If a letter is written to a certain person but is sent for information to others, it is helpful to all concerned to indicate who has been sent copies by using wording such as:

Copies to Mr J Edwards, Mrs R Richards

The copy for each individual can be marked by a tick against the name to save any confusion when sending the letters out.

Sometimes the abbreviation ‘cc’ is used in place of ‘copies to’, though in fact this relates to rather outdated technology; ‘cc’ stands for ‘carbon copies’ from the days when carbon paper was used to produce copies of typed letters.

Similarly, you may see ‘bcc’ on some letters. Use this if you do not want the recipient to know who has received copies: ‘bcc’ stands for ‘blind carbon copies’ – information hidden from the main recipient but shown on the copies. For example, ‘bcc Mr J Edwards’ would appear on Mr Edwards’ copy of the letter, but not the copy sent to the addressee.

These abbreviations are used in email, and mean exactly the same thing.


Try to avoid postscripts in letters. If your letter has been well planned as suggested in the next chapter, last-minute thoughts and additions should be unnecessary.

Common letter layouts

There are three main layouts used in business letters; fully blocked, semi-blocked and fully indented. Nowadays, the majority of business letters and most other typed or word-processed letters are in blocked style. The indented style is a more traditional format and is now rarely used for business letters. However, some people still prefer the indented style for both formal and informal letters, especially those that are handwritten. We will look at them in order of popularity and formality.

Fully blocked layout

This layout has been heavily influenced by American and European usage and therefore is ideal for international communications. ‘Fully blocked’ means that paragraphs are not indented and a double line space is put between each paragraph. Everything – even the signature block – is ranged to the left-hand side of the page.

The example also has what is known as an ‘open punctuation’ style; basically, it uses minimal punctuation. No punctuation is used outside the main text of the letter unless essential for sense (for example, if the town and county names in an address are put on the same line they should be separated by a comma or two spaces). Dates are shown without -st or -th endings, and no full stops are used in abbreviations, contractions or acronyms (for example, Mr Jones, NATO. BSc or MP).

Figure 5

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