We live in a world of technology backed communication. E-mails, texts, etc are most of our preferred modes of communication. However, letters still have a major use and importance in our society. Especially formal letters written to authorities or professional contacts, because they generally stay on record. Let us learn the correct format and language of formal letters.
A formal letter is one written in a formal and ceremonious language and follows a certain stipulated format. Such letters are written for official purposes to authorities, dignitaries, colleagues, seniors, etc and not to personal contacts, friends or family. A number of conventions must be adhered to while drafting formal letters. So let us take a look at a sample format of a formal letter.
Format of a Formal Letter
As we said earlier, a formal letter must follow certain rules and conventions. Such a format helps in relaying the information in a professional way. It must be remembered that there are various such formats for formal letters that people follow. The one explained here is the one most commonly used for formal communication these days.
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The sender’s address is usually put on the top right-hand corner of the page. The address should be complete and accurate in case the recipient of the letter wishes to get in touch with the sender for further communication.
The sender’s address is followed by the date just below it, i.e. on the right side of the page. This is the date on which the letter is being written. It is important in formal letters as they are often kept on record.
After leaving some space we print the receiver’s address on the left side of the page. Whether to write “To” above the address depends on the writer’s preference. Make sure you write the official title/name/position etc of the receiver, as the first line of the address.
This is where you greet the person you are addressing the letter to. Bear in mind that it is a formal letter, so the greeting must be respectful and not too personal. The general greetings used in formal letters are “Sir” or “Madam”. If you know the name of the person the salutation may also be “Mr. XYZ” or “Ms. ABC”. But remember you cannot address them only by their first name. It must be the full name or only their last name.
After the salutation/greeting comes the subject of the letter. In the centre of the line write ‘Subject” followed by a colon. Then we sum up the purpose of writing the letter in one line. This helps the receiver focus on the subject of the letter in one glance.
Body of the Letter
This is the main content of the letter. It is either divided into three paras or two paras if the letter is briefer. The purpose of the letter should be made clear in the first paragraph itself. The tone of the content should be formal. Do not use any flowery language. Another point to keep in mind is that the letter should be concise and to the point. And always be respectful and considerate in your language, no matter the subject of your letter.
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Closing the Letter
At the end of your letter, we write a complimentary losing. The words “Yours Faithfully” or “Yours Sincerely” are printed on the right side of the paper. Generally, we use the later if the writer knows the name of the person.
Here finally you sign your name. And then write your name in block letters beneath the signature. This is how the recipient will know who is sending the letter.
Learn more about the different types of formal letter formats with samples.
Solved Question for You
Q: Write a letter to the editor of a daily newspaper complaining about the construction work on your road in the middle of monsoon season causing inconveniences to the people of your locality.
Ans: A sample of such a formal letter may be as follows,
D- 1801, Neptune Society,
DS Marg, Lower Parel,
Mumbai 400 008.
11th June 2018.
Mumbai 400 001.
Subject: Construction work in our locality during monsoon season causing us difficulties.
Through the medium of your esteemed and respected daily, I wish to inform the municipal authorities of the difficulties the residents of my locality are facing due to the construction and repair work currently happening in our area. Monsoon season has started a few days ago and is compounding our problems.
The repair work has been ongoing for five weeks now and is falling way behind schedule. And now with the current weather conditions, we are having persistent problems of water logging and flooding in our area. Another worry is about the accidents that may occur due to the debris lying around the road. Diseases caused due to waterlogging are another one of our concerns.
Therefore I wish to draw the attention of the concerned authorities with the help of your newspaper. Hopefully, you will be able to help us in drawing their attention and resolving this matter at the earliest.