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The Mayfield Handbook of Technical & Scientific Writing
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Section 2.5.4

Letters of Inquiry

A letter of inquiry asks someone for specific information. In some cases, such as a request for promotional material, the recipient will have a clear interest in responding to your letter. In other cases, such as a request for specific information on a product, the recipient may or may not be as motivated to respond quickly. Consequently, always make the tone of the letter friendly and make it easy for the recipient to identify and provide the information you need.

Format of a Letter of Inquiry

Follow this format in writing a letter of inquiry:

  1. In the first paragraph, identify yourself and, if appropriate, your position, and your institution or firm.
  2. In the second paragraph, briefly explain why you are writing and how you will use the requested information. Offer to keep the response confidential if such an offer seems reasonable.
  3. List the specific information you need. You can phrase your requests as questions or as a list of specific items of information. In either case, make each item clear and discrete.
  4. Conclude your letter by offering your reader some incentive for responding.

The following letter of inquiry is written by a computer programmer requesting specific information about an upcoming release of a software product.

Sample Letter of Inquiry, page 1

Sample Letter of Inquiry, page 2

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## Letters of Inquiry ##
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