Formal letter format and structure
Formal letter is sometimes referred to as official letter. It is frequently used form in written communication for official purposes.
Most common formal letters are : a formal letter of complaint, a formal letter to request something, a job application letter, a formal thank – you note, a formal invitation, etc.
There are some strict rules in formatting and writing a formal or business letter in English. You can find very good examples at Formal Letter.
Every formal and business letter should consist of few essential parts:
5. Closing and signature
Addressing is very important and you should address all letters properly.
- Your address (heading) – The address of the sender and the date should be written in the top left- hand corner of the letter in block format. You can include an email address and the phone number if you want , but it is not necessary.
- Recipient address (inside address) – The inside address is written on the left, starting below your address. In handwritten letters the inside address is usually placed one line below the heading, and four lines below if the letter is written in word processor software. It is recommended to address the formal letter to specific person.
You have to begin every letter with salutation or greeting one line below after the inside address.
- Dear Sir or Madam, – this salutation is proper in case that you do not know name of the recipient.
- Dear Mr. Cullen/ Mrs. Cullen, – If you know the name of the recipient, use the title (Mr., Mrs., Miss or Ms., etc.) and the surname only. Ms. is the title suitable for married and single women, and you could use it if you are not sure about their marital status. If the person has a specific title be sure to use it in salutation.
There are some basic guidelines you ought to consider when writing a formal or business letter. Body of the letter is to be written one line below salutation.
It is highly recommended planning and outlining the content of the formal or business letter. Our advice is to use short and clear paragraphs and concise sentences. You should steer clear of using complicated and “BIG” words and terms.
- Introduction – A short introduction that clearly states the purpose of writing the letter. For example: letter to make an enquiry, complain, request something, etc.
Content – Body
- The relevant information is usually stated in two to four paragraphs. Keep in mind that most formal letters are not very long and focus on stating necessary information in logical and professional manner.
The last paragraph
- The conclusion is the right place to state promises, closing remarks, suggested actions, solutions etc.
- The end of the letter – There are a couple of ways to end the formal letter and each and every one of them contains closing and signature.
- Skip one line after the conclusion and type or write the closing. Only the first word should be with capital letter. You need to end the formal letter with: a) Yours faithfully, – if you don’t have a contact name and b) Yours sincerely, – if you do.
- Signature is usually written couple of lines below closing and your handwritten signature is to be inserted between salutation and printed or typed signature.
For various formal letter templates visit Formal Letter .