Monday, July 26, 2010

Parts of a Letter.

The Complimentary Closing follows the body of the letter, on the line below the last line of the letter, and consists of the words of respect or regard used to express the writer's feelings toward the person written to. They are in a sense conventional and are often used without thought as to their meaning. The most common forms in business use are: "Respectfully," "Respectfully yours", "Yours very respectfully," "Yours truly," "Yours very truly," "Yours faithfully," "Sincerely yours," etc. "Gratefully yours" may be used if the writer is under obligation to the one written to, or "Fraternally yours" if a member of the same order or society.

In official letters a more formal style is used: as, "I have the honor to be, Yours very respectfully."

The complimentary closing should always be consistent with the salutation. For example: to begin a letter with a formal "Sir" and close with "Sincerely yours" would show very bad taste.

The Signature is the name of the writer or the firm or company he represents. It should be written under the complimentary closing and should end just at the right-hand edge of the sheet.

It should be written very plainly. Many writers have a habit of making their signature the most unintelligible part of their letters, presuming that because their name is familiar to themselves it is to everybody else.

A lady writing to persons with whom she is not acquainted should always prefix the title, Miss or Mrs., in parenthesis, to her signature.

Folding.-- The letter sheet should be folded so as to nearly fill the envelope. To fold a sheet of letter paper to fit the No. 6 or 6½ envelope, turn the bottom of the sheet up to the top, making one fold, then fold equally from the right and from the left, making the letter, when folded, a little narrower than the envelope. If the envelope is held with the left hand, back up, and the letter inserted as folded, all the receiver has to do when he opens the envelope is to withdraw the letter and turn back the folds, and he has it before him right side up. This is important.

Sealing.-- Be particular to seal your letter properly especially if it contains money or other enclosure.

A letter of introduction or recommendation should never be sealed when entrusted to bearer.

The Envelope Address.-- The name and title should be written on the center of the envelope lengthwise. When street and number are given, or the direction "In care of Mr. ______" they follow on the second line, the city or town on the third, and the state on the fourth or lower right hand corner of envelope.

The envelope should be placed before the writer with the flap farthest from him, otherwise it will be addressed upside down and the letter should not be inserted until after the address is written.

More than five million letters and packages reach the dead letter office at Washington every year because they are improperly directed, therefore great care should be exercised in addressing envelopes.

See examples of addressed envelopes.

The envelope used for business purposes should have either written or printed upon its upper left-hand corner the name and address of the sender, with the request to be returned in a certain number of days if not called for.

Opening Letters.-- Letters are properly opened by inserting a knife or other convenient instrument under the flap at the end and cutting across the top of the envelope.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

32 Common Faults in Writing and Speaking Corrected.

I admire the elegance of older grammar standards, but I have to wonder how anything was ever accomplished keeping a bus full (busful? ha) of rules together.

"I shall walk no further" should be "I shall walk no farther." Further refers to additional quantity.

"I have no farther use for it" should be "I have no further use for it." Farther refers to distance.

"Is that him?" should be "Is that he?"

"If I was him" should be "If I were he."

"Better than me" should be "Better than I."

"I am very dry" should be "I am very thirsty."

"Both of these men" should be "Both these men."

"He had laid down" should be "He had lain down".

"I have got the book" should be "I have the book."

"If I am not mistaken" should be "If I mistake not."

"It was her who called" should be "It was she who called."

"Lay down or set down" should be "Lie down or sit down."

"When I get off from a car" should be "When I get off a car."

"It spread all over the town" should be "It spread all over the town."

"If I was him I would do it" should be "If I were he I would do it."

"He is down in the basement" should be "He is in the basement."

"I know better; that ain't so" should be "Pardon me, I understand differently."

"I see him every now and then" should be "I see him occasionally."

"I never play it if I can help it" should be "I never play if I can avoid it."

"His works are approved of by many" should be "His works are approved by many."

"I went to New York, you know, and when I came back, you see, I commenced attending school," should be "I went to New York, and when I returned I commenced attending school."

"It is me" should be "It is I."

"We enter in" should be "We enter".

"I don't think so" should be "I think not."

"What are the news?" should be "What is the news?"

"He fell on the floor" should be "He fell to the floor."

"He is in under the wall" should be "He is under the wall."

"Two spoonsful of tea" should be "Two spoonfuls of tea."

"A new pair of boots" should be "A pair of new boots."

"I had rather ride" should be "I would rather ride."

"I only want five dollars" should be "I want only five dollars."

"Continue on in this way" should be "Continue in this way."

"I expected to have seen him" should be "I expected to see him."

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Thursday, July 8, 2010


The Materials.--
Good pen, ink, and paper. For business correspondence three styles of paper are in general use, viz.: commercial note, about 5x8 inches; pocket note, about 5½x8¾ inches, and letter paper, which is usually 8½x11 to 13 inches. The smaller sizes for short letters and the larger for long ones.

The envelopes most commonly used are Nos. 6 and 6½.

Parts of a Letter. -- for convenience in explaining the form of a letter we call the different parts by the following names:

1. Heading (Place and Date). 4. Body of Letter.
2. Address. 5. Complimentary Closing.
3. Salutation. 6. The Writer's Signature.

The following diagram will show clearly their position.

Heading.-- The heading indicates where and when the letter was written and should contain information the person written to will need in directing his reply. It should be written to the right-hand side of the sheet and about two or two and one-half inches from the top. There is no objection to using two or more lines for the heading if required.

The Address of a letter consists of the name and title of the person or firm to whom you are writing, the residence, or place of business, as the case may be, to which the letter is to be sent.

The inside address, as this may be called, will be the same as the address on the envelope, excepting that on the inside address the city and state may be written on the same line. Begin the address on the left-hand side of the sheet, one inch from the edge of the paper and on the line following the one on which the heading is written. The second line of the address should begin an inch farther to the right than where the first line is begun.

The Proper Use of Titles.-- Two titles of courtesy should not be joined to the same name; as, Mr. John Hartley, Esq.; nor should a title of courtesy be used with a professional or official title: as, Mr. J.B. Wilson, M.D., or Hon. Henry Weston Esq. One exception to this rule, however, is permitted where a clergyman's initials or first name is not known, to write Rev. Mr. (----), giving only the surname.

The Salutation is the complimentary form used to begin the letter. The forms most in use are Sir; Dear Sir or My Dear Sir. In addressing a firm, Sirs, Dear Sirs, Gentlemen or My Dear Sirs. If the person addressed be a lady, Madam, or Dear Madam. If she be a young, unmarried lady, Dear Miss, or it is quite correct to omit the salution where doubt exists as to whether she be married or not, or if the writer has no acquaintance with her.

Follow the salution with a comma and dash, and never write Gents for Gentlemen, or Dr for Dear, etc.

The Position of the Salutation depends somewhat on the number of lines in the address. The examples on next page will illustrate this and the form of letters in general.

The Body of the Letter is that part which contains the message or information to be imparted. In this, good form, penmanship, spacing and paragraphing should receive due care.

The body of a business letter should begin on the same line following the salutation.

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Correspondence is the interchange of thought by means of letters.

A large per cent of the world's business is transacted by correspondence, and in these days of rapid transit and cheap transportation friends and relatives become widely scattered and their only means of keeping in touch with one another is through letter writing.

To be able to write a good letter is therefore not only an accomplishment but an important necessity.

It is the opinion of competent judges that a man's habits and qualities as a business man may be fairly estimated from familiarity with his business letters, and his social correspondence is likewise an index to the trend of his thought, and his general character. It is safe to say that the majority do not appreciate the value of the ability to write a good letter.

First in Importance. -- Perhaps the matter of first importance in a letter is the expression of the proper ideas in the proper language.

Next to That an easy, graceful style of writing, with words correctly spelled, and sentences properly punctuated. Improper punctuation often renders the meaning unintelligible or the opposite of what was intended altogether.

Classes of Letters.-- Letters are usually divided into two general classes, Social and Business.

Social Letters are those that grow out of social and personal relations: as, letters of affection, friendship, congratulation, sympathy, introduction, condolence, etc.

Business Letters, as the term implies, are such as are written regarding matters of business of whatever kind.

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Monday, February 1, 2010

The Practice of Short Selling Sometimes Abused.

That the practice of "short selling", though ordinarily legitimate, is sometimes perverted so as to work an injury to the public is shown by the following extract from a message of Governor Sulzer of New York, sent to the Legislature in January, 1913:

"The subject of so-called 'short sales' is one requiring your serious consideration. A contract to sell property which a man does not own at the time, but with which he can provide himself in time for the performance of his contract, is a general transaction in various branches of business.

"The best views seem to be that short selling in and of itself is not wrongful, but the abuse of this practice works injury to the public.

"Your efforts should therefore be to draw a distinction, so that what will be condemned is the perversion of a legitimate form of business to improper ends."

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Gambling on Prices

Gambling on prices is betting on the rise and fall in market prices by means of pretended purchases and sales or pretended employment as a broker or commission merchant to make pretended purchases and sales. In other words, it is using the forms of buying or selling, or the forms of employment to buy and sell, where no real buying or selling or real employment is contemplated, the parties agreeing to settle with each other by the mere payment of differences of the prices of pretended purchases and pretended sales.

Thus is appears that in speculation and in gambling on prices the result depends upon an uncertain future event. The difference is that, in one the parties are engaged in legitimate business beneficial to both of them, while, in the other they are engaged in an idle and useless occupation beneficial only to the party winning and, when carried to excess, injurious to society.

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Selling Produce Short

Selling produce short is selling it for future delivery when the seller does not own the property at the time of the sale, but hopes to be able to buy it at a less price when or before the time for delivery arrives, thus making a profit from a fall in price. The short seller is therefore a speculator.

In a 'short sale' of stock the contract for future delivery employed is a contract of borrowing. The seller does not, at the time of the sale, own any of the stock sold, but he borrows the same amount of stock from one who does own it and delivers the borrowed stock to the purchaser. The seller must return the stock to the lender and for this purpose he must buy it at some future time. He hopes to be able to buy it at less price than he sold it and thus make a profit of the difference between the two prices.

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Abuses of the Stock Exchange.

The distinction between legitimate speculation in "futures" and gambling on prices is not generally understood and, therefore, to many people both are equally objectionable.

The difference between gambling and selling "short" -- the limit of legitimate speculation and futures -- is thus clearly pointed out by Mr. T. Henry Dewey, of the New York Bar, in a booklet he has recently published.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Bank Loans to Stock Brokers.

"The making of bank loans to stock brokers is bottomed primarily on the confidence which the banker has in the broker as a person, and secondarily on the goodness of the securities offered. The modus operandi is substantially this: The broker, knowing from the clearing sheet of yesterday what payments he has to meet today, obtains from his bank in the morning authority to draw for this aggregate amount at an agreed rate of interest. As his checks come in during the day the bank certifies them and the banker sends to the broker the bank securities whose market value is greater by a certain margin than the amount borrowed.

"These loans are usually payable on call. As National Banks are forbidden by law to certify checks for a sum greater than the drawer of checks has on deposit, the practice in such cases is for the broker to execute a promissory note, which note the banker discounts, putting the proceeds to the credit of the broker, and attaching the security to it as it comes in during the day. While this method exposes the banker to some danger of loss in the interval between the certification of checks and the receipts of the securities, such losses seldom occur. There is an unwritten rule of the stock exchange that the bank must be protected at all hazards, both as a matter of personal honor and because the stock brokerage busines cannot be carried on otherwise."

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"Capital is the result of saving. If not the parent of civilization, it is the indispensable promoter and handmaid of it, since capital gives mankind the leisure and the means to take new steps forward in solving the problems of human existence. It is desirable that there should be facilities for investing the savings of the people without serious delay. Such facilities promote saving. It is desirable that investments should be convertible into cash without delay. The raison d'etre of a stock exchange is to supply a place where money can be invested quickly and recovered quickly, or investments made upon which the investor can borrow money if he so desires. It is an incidental advantage that the stock exchange informs all investors, and intending investors, daily and without cost to themselves, of the prices at which they can buy or sell the securities on the active list of the exchange. These prices are made by the competition of buyers and sellers in the market, who are acting under the spur of self-interest. There is no other way in which true prices can be made. If the quotations so made are not precisely the truth in every case, they are the nearest approach to it that mankind has yet discovered."

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The Stock Exchange.

"The Stock Exchange is a meeting place of the buyers and sellers of invested capital; that is, of incomes present or prospective. This is a comparatively modern institution because invested capital transferable by negotiable instruments is of modern origin. There were exchanges in the ancient world where traders met to deal in various kinds of movable goods. The Agora of Greece and the Forum of Rome, and the Fairs of the Middle Ages were such exchanges, but negotiable incomes (stocks and bonds) did not then exist. At the present time no person of intelligence keeps surplus money uninvested. He buys some interest-bearing security, or puts it in a savings bank, in which case the savings bank buys an interest-bearing security, or employs it in such manner as to yield an income."

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The Money Market

"The Money Market," explains Horace White, in a recent issue of The Annals of the American Academy, "consists of the loanable funds in the country. The money which people are using in their daily business, which passes from hand to hand in retail trade is no part of the money market. Such money is not marketable, because it cannot be recalled from the immediate service which it is rendering to society. The bulk of loanable funds of the country consists of bank credits which are bottomed on gold, and the magnitudes of such credits is limited by the amount of 'lawful money' held by the banks as reserves. Bank notes are not available as reserves of National Banks, although they are such for State Banks and Trust Companies.

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Trust Companies.

Trust Companies, in nearly all the States, have most of the characteristics of the State Banks. Besides having authority to execute trusts, they may receive deposits, lend money on real estate and any other security, and their reserve requirements are lower than for National Banks. In fact they are not a distinct class of banking institutions, but only State Banks with additional powers.

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