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Business Correspondence and Reporting > Writing Formal Letters > Formal Letters and Pointers for Formal Letters
Writing Formal Letters

Formal Letters and Pointers for Formal Letters

Suppose you have to invite a group of your friends to your birthday party. How will you do so? You can send them invites and your messages through a number of apps available today. Have you ever wondered how people used to communicate when there were no such technological advancements? They used to communicate with the help of letters. They used letters as the medium of communication among themselves. In this section, we will study letters and letter format.

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Letters

A letter is one of the ways of communication. A written message is sent in the form of a letter from one person to another. This written message can be anything from an invitation, inquiry of well-being, personal communication, professional communication, complaint, a job application or anything. There are two types of letters

  • Formal letters
  • Informal letters

letter format

Informal Letters

These letters are the one which we write to our relatives or familiar persons. The style of writing this letter is easy and conventional one. It is a letter for personal communication. It is similar to the familiar talks we have with our friends but it does not mean that we should be careless of the words we are using.

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Informal Letter Format

There is a fixed letter format. A person is bound to follow the letter format. The letter format for an informal letter:

  1. The address of the writer
  2. Date
  3. Greeting or Salutation
  4. The body of the letter having the message
  5. Conclusion
  6. Signature of the sender/writer

Formal Letters

These letters are the one which we write for official or professional use. The style of writing this letter is clear, formal, and to the point. Any business letter either for placing orders or inquiry, editorial letter, job application letter comes under this type of letter. One should keep a formal letter short and to the point.

Formal Letter Format

Before discussing the letter format, one must keep in mind the person who writes a letter is a Writer or a Sender. The person for whom the letter is written is an Addressee. The letter format for a formal letter is an essential aspect to remember. The letter format is

  1. The address of the writer
  2. Date
  3. Name / Designation of the Addressee
  4. Address of the Addressee
  5. Greeting or Salutation
  6. Subject
  7. The body part of the letter having the main message or content of the letter
  8. Conclusion
  9. Complimentary Close
  10. Name / Signature of the Sender
  11. Designation of the Sender

Let us discuss some of these in detail.

Sender’s Address

One should give the address of the sender or the contact detail in the leftmost side at the top.

Date

Providing date in the formal letter helps in keeping a record of the time a letter is sent. It also helps in keeping a record of the duration of the time taken by another party for replying or how long the business collaboration is going on. Any format of date can be used.

Salutation

Salutation or greeting is an indication of a polite expression towards an addressee. One can use the term ‘Dear Sir / Ma’am’ for formal letters also instead of ‘Respected sir / Ma’am’.

Subject

A statement with a brief and clear statement of the issue or the matter of concern. It is added beneath the line of salutation.

Communication or Body of the Letter

This is the main part of the letter or the letter itself. The three main paragraphs of the body of the letter are – introduction, main content, and the conclusion.

  • Introduction: It is the introductory paragraph of the letter. It must be brief and gives a quick idea to the reader about the concerning matter.
  • Main Content: This paragraph shows the main message or the matter of the letter. It conveys the message regarding the inquiry, order placement, issues and other matter concerning.
  • Conclusion: This is the ending portion of the body of the letter. It shows the expectation, anticipation or the demand of the writer from the addressee. One must always add terms like ‘Thanking you’, ‘with warm regards’ etc. before ending the letter.

Complimentary Close

Before putting the signature or the name of the sender, one must use the complimentary close. It shows the respect towards a person for whom the letter is written. One can use any of the given options

  • Yours sincerely
  • Yours respectfully
  • With sincere thanks
  • With kind regards

Important Points to Remember for Formal Letter Format

  • Always follow the letter format
  • Leave a line between paragraphs
  • The introduction of the body part must clearly state the reason for writing the letter
  • Use simple and direct language
  • Try to be complete
  • Proper punctuation and correct spellings should be used
  • Always use polite, courteous and gentle words
  • Provide clear and unambiguous details and information in the letter

Solved Example on Letter Format

Problem: What is the position of writing the name and address of the addressee and the sender?

Solution: The address of the sender is on the left side at the topmost of the letter after which the name of the addressee comes and then comes the address of the addressee. The name of the sender is on the left side at the bottom of the letter.

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