What Does “Re” Mean in a Business Letter (All You Need to Know)


In the world of business communication, it is crucial to use proper etiquette and language conventions to convey messages effectively. One commonly used term in business letters is “Re,” which stands for “regarding” or “in reference to.” This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the meaning, usage, and significance of “Re” in business correspondence.

What Does “Re” Mean in a Business Letter?

The term “Re” in a business letter is an abbreviation of the word “regarding” or “in reference to.” It is typically used to introduce the subject or topic of the letter. When you see “Re” at the beginning of a letter, it signifies that the content is directly related to or concerns the matter mentioned after “Re.” This helps the recipient quickly identify the main focus of the letter and understand its purpose.

Usage and Placement of “Re” in a Business Letter

The placement of “Re” in a business letter is important to ensure clarity and professionalism. It is commonly placed on the left-hand side, either aligned with the left margin or slightly indented. For instance:

[Your Name] [Your Position/Title] [Company Name] [Company Address] [City, State, ZIP Code] [Date] [Recipient’s Name] [Recipient’s Position/Title] [Company Name] [Company Address] [City, State, ZIP Code]

Re: [Subject or Topic of the Letter] [Salutation] [Body of the Letter] [Closing] [Your Name] [Your Position/Title] [Company Name] [Contact Information]

The use of a colon (:) after “Re” is a common convention, but some prefer using a comma (,) instead. Regardless of the punctuation used, it is crucial to ensure consistency throughout the letter.

Significance of “Re” in Business Letters

The inclusion of “Re” in a business letter serves several purposes, including:

3.1. Clarifying the Subject: By placing “Re” followed by a subject line, the sender emphasizes the specific matter being discussed. This makes it easier for the recipient to identify and prioritize the letter’s content, especially in cases where the recipient deals with a high volume of correspondence.

3.2. Enhancing Professionalism: Using “Re” demonstrates professionalism and attention to detail in business communication. It signifies that the sender has taken the time to identify the letter’s subject and present it clearly. This can positively influence the recipient’s perception of the sender’s professionalism and credibility.

3.3. Improving Efficiency: When a letter is marked with “Re,” it helps both the sender and recipient focus on the central topic without unnecessary confusion. This ensures that the message is communicated efficiently and effectively, saving time for both parties involved.

Expert Opinions and Best Practices

According to business communication experts, the appropriate use of “Re” can significantly impact the effectiveness of a business letter. Here are some expert opinions and best practices to consider:

4.1. Clear and Concise Subject: When using “Re,” it is important to provide a clear and concise subject or topic immediately after. Avoid using vague or ambiguous statements. Instead, be specific and informative to convey the purpose of the letter.

4.2. Contextual Relevance: Ensure that the subject line introduced by “Re” is directly related to the content of the letter. This helps maintain coherence and relevance throughout the correspondence.

4.3. Proper Capitalization: “Re” is generally capitalized in a business letter, although some style guides may prefer lowercase. To maintain consistency, it is advisable to adhere to the capitalization style used throughout the rest of the letter.

4.4. Use of Other Abbreviations: It is important to note that “Re” is not the only abbreviation used in business letters. Other abbreviations such as “cc” (carbon copy) and “bcc” (blind carbon copy) are also commonly used to indicate the recipients who are receiving copies of the letter.

“Re” in a business letter stands for “regarding” or “in reference to.” It serves as a concise way to introduce the subject or topic of the letter, enhancing clarity, professionalism, and efficiency in business communication. By using “Re” appropriately, you can ensure that your message is effectively conveyed and that your business correspondence maintains the expected standards of etiquette and professionalism.

Does “RE” Mean Regarding?

In business communication, the abbreviation “RE” is commonly used, and one of the most prevalent interpretations is that it stands for “regarding.” However, it’s important to note that “RE” is not an official acronym, and its meaning may vary depending on the context and personal preferences.

The usage of “RE” as an abbreviation for “regarding” has become widespread due to its effectiveness in conveying the subject or topic of a letter. When used appropriately, it helps the recipient quickly identify the purpose and main focus of the correspondence. For instance, a business letter might begin with “RE: Sales Report,” indicating that the letter pertains to the sales report and its related matters.

While the interpretation of “RE” as “regarding” is widely accepted and understood, it’s important to consider that different individuals and organizations may have their own interpretations. Some may use “RE” as an abbreviation for “reference,” “in relation to,” or even as a general indicator of the subject without assigning a specific meaning. Therefore, it is advisable to clarify the intended meaning if there is any ambiguity to ensure effective communication.

Is It “Re” or “Re:”

The use of either “Re” or “Re:” is a matter of personal or organizational preference, and there is no definitive right or wrong choice. Both variants are widely used in business correspondence and serve the same purpose of introducing the subject or topic of the letter.

The traditional and more common choice is “Re,” which is a concise and straightforward abbreviation for “regarding.” This form aligns with the standard abbreviations used in business letters, such as “cc” for “carbon copy” and “bcc” for “blind carbon copy.”

On the other hand, “Re:” with a colon is a more modern usage that has gained popularity in recent years. The colon is used to indicate the beginning of the subject line, making it visually distinct and easily recognizable. The choice of using a colon can also be influenced by stylistic preferences or adherence to specific style guides.

Ultimately, whether to use “Re” or “Re:” depends on personal or organizational preferences and the desired aesthetic or stylistic considerations. It is important to maintain consistency throughout a document or correspondence and follow any specific guidelines or conventions established within your organization or industry.


Here are some key takeaways regarding the usage of “Re” or “Re:” in business letters:

  1. “RE” generally stands for “regarding” and is commonly used to introduce the subject or topic of a business letter.
  2. The meaning of “RE” may vary depending on personal or organizational preferences, and it is essential to clarify any ambiguity in its interpretation.
  3. Both “Re” and “Re:” are widely accepted variations, and the choice between them depends on personal or organizational style preferences.
  4. Maintaining consistency within a document or correspondence is crucial, and following any established guidelines or conventions is recommended.
  5. Clear and concise subject lines are essential, regardless of whether “Re” or “Re:” is used.

In summary, the abbreviations “Re” and “Re:” are commonly used in business letters to introduce the subject or topic. While “Re” traditionally represents “regarding,” variations and interpretations may exist. Choosing between “Re” and “Re:” depends on personal or organizational preferences, and it is important to maintain consistency and clarity in communication.