Britische und amerikanische Geschäftsbriefe

How to write British and American business letters

Auch ohne DIN 5008 können Sie perfekte Briefe schreiben.

When you have to write a letter in English, you have the choice between writing in British (UK) or American (US) English. UK-English is used in most English-speaking countries, US-English is more or less restricted to the USA.
However, some companies which have adopted English as their corporate language mix the two forms.

The biggest differences are in

  • the way the date is written
  • the greeting and complimentary close
  • the general layout of the letter
  • the spelling of certain words punctuation


The date

In UK-English, the day comes before the month – so 05.04.2005 is the fifth day of April. In US-English, the month comes before the day, so the same date
would be the fourth day of May.  To be on the safe side, Secretary Today recommends always writing the month out in full – 5 April 2005 (UK), April 5, 2005 (USA).

Greeting and complimentary close

In the UK

● If you don’t know the name of the recipient you write:
Dear Sirs, Dear Sir or Madam,
Dear Sir or Dear Madam and close with Yours faithfully
● If you know their name, you write Yours sincerely

In the USA

● If you don’t know the name of the recipient you write:
Gentlemen, Ladies and
Gentlemen, Dear Sir and close with Respectfully yours, Sincerely yours, Truly yours
● If you know their name, you write Sincerely yours

In both UK and US English, you write Regards, best regards, kind regards if you know the recipient personally.


The general layout

There is no DIN 5008 to tell you where to put the different parts of a letter, like the date, reference line, etc.



Word endings

UK                                           US
-our (colour, odour)               -or (color, odor)
-tre (theatre, centre)             -er (theater, center)


UK                                                                 US
no punctuation after greeting                       colon after greeting
no punctuation after complimentary close     comma after complimentary close


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