Formal Letter

Source: Dear Sir

A formal letter is a letter, written in a formal language, addressed to authorities, dignitaries, colleagues, or seniors for official purposes. A formal letter must be written in a stipulated format and follow conventional rules. 

A formal letter can be used for a variety of reasons like a formal invitation, proposal, reference, making a complaint or inquiry, and applying for a job. It is written in the first person while directly addressing the authorities. 

When you are writing a formal letter, it is important to keep the content to the point and concise. One must avoid the usage of unnecessary words and additional irrelevant information. The letter must be written in a passive voice to maintain the official tone.

The language used in a formal letter must be polite, even when writing about unpleasant subjects like complaints or suspicious inquiries. While writing a formal letter, the writer must make sure to proofread the letter before sending it. The letter should not contain any spelling mistakes or any form of grammatical errors. 

The Format Of The Formal Letter 

The format of the formal letter must be followed strictly to maintain a level of professionalism. Here is the conventional format for writing a formal letter – 

Sender’s Address

The formal letter must begin with the sender’s address written on the top right-hand corner of the page. The address mentioned must be correct so that the recipient may reply to the letter if required. 

Date

The sender’s address is followed by a date written in a verbal format instead of a numerical one. For example, if you are writing the letter of 12th February, you must write the date as 12th February 2020 and not as 12/02/2020. The latter may be acceptable in informal letters, but an official letter must contain a date written in a word format. 

Receiver’s Address 

After the date, the receiver’s address is mentioned along with the authority title like Sir or Madam and their respective positions like The Editor or the Chief Officer. It is important to write the titles and the positions correctly to denote proper respect for the authorities. 

Subject

The receiver’s address and the subsequent position details are followed by the subject line. The subject line must be written in a concise formal manner and give a summary of the purpose of the letter. The subject line works like a title or a heading for the content matter; hence must be relevant to the written content. 

Body of the letter

The body of the letter is the main content matter addressing the purpose of writing the letter and other required information. It is written in an official language with a professional tone and passive voice. The first paragraph should introduce the purpose of the letter and the key points.

Flowery, poetic language, or elaborate storylines must be avoided, and the sentences should be clear and to the point. Words like can’t, shouldn’t, mustn’t should be used. Instead, their full forms should be written – can not, should not, must not. 

Signature

The letter should end with a graceful note, by saying thank you. Phrases like Yours Sincerely or Yours Faithfully are used. After this, the name of the sender must be written to inform the recipient of who sent the letter and respond if required. 


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FAQ

How do I write a formal letter?

Ans. When you are writing a formal letter, it is important to keep the content to the point and concise. One must avoid the usage of unnecessary words and additional irrelevant information. The letter must be written in a passive voice to maintain the official tone.

What are the 3 types of letters?

Ans. There are 3 types of letter:
1. Formal Letter
2. Informal Letter
3. Semi-Formal Letter

What are the types of formal letters?

Ans. Here is the list of the type of formal letter:
1. Request letter
2. Businesses Letters
3. Approval letter
4. Replying to an Inquiry
5. Making a Request
6. Acknowledgment letters
7. Cover Letters

How do you end a formal letter?

Ans. Here is the list of salutaion you can use while ending the formal letter:
1. Regards
2. Best wishes
3. Yours Respectfully
4. Yours Sincerely
5. Yours Faithfully

How do you identify a formal and informal letter?

Ans. The Informal letter starts with Dear/Respected “Name of the receiver” and ends with Regards/Best wishes ” the sender’s name”. While Formal letters start with Dear Sir/Madam and end with Yours Faithfully/Sincerely “Full Name of the Sender”.

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About the Author

Piyush values education and has studied from the top institutes of IIT Roorkee, IIM Bangalore, KTH Sweden and Tsinghua University in China. Post completing his MBA, he has worked with the world’s # 1 consulting firm, The Boston Consulting Group and focused on building sales and marketing verticals for top MNCs and Indian business houses.

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