Formal And Informal Letters
We are all aware of what letters are and we all have received several letters and perhaps sent some too. Letters are a mode of non-verbal communication used for a variety of purposes ranging from correspondence between corporate organizations, to keep in touch with family and friends. Based on usage, letters can be of two types: informal and formal. Informal letters are meant for personal exchanges, and they do not follow a strict style of writing. Nevertheless, the basic sequence of the letter goes as follows, address of the sender, date, greetings/pleasantries, body, conclusion, a signature of the sender.
However, formal letters are more professional and hence have a particular format. Here, we will talk about formal letters.
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Formal Letter Format
Formal letters are letters sent for official correspondence. These can be of several types, such as letters for job application, complaint letter, offer letter, business letters for order placement/cancellation/inquiry, official invitations, all fall under the category of formal letters. A stringent approach is maintained while writing formal letters so that one can come across to be professional. Therefore, it is important to know the formal letter format.
The basic outline of a formal letter goes as follows.
Address of the sender
Designation of the receiver followed by their address
The subject of the letter
The main body/content of the letter
Name and designation of the sender
Now that we know the basics of the formal letter format, let us discuss the elements in detail.
How To Start A Formal Letter?
A formal letter begins with the sender's address. Write your address in a couple of lines and avoid using unnecessary punctuation. For example:
24/7 Dover Lane
Sylvester Street, ABC City - 100045
Also remember that starting from this point onwards, the entire letter must follow left alignment.
After the address lines, we write the date of the application. You can leave one line blank after the address and continue with the date in the manner given below.
June 28, 2020
The date keeps track of when one party sends a letter and consequently when the other replies. It is noteworthy that almost any format of date is acceptable. Now we move onto the salutation.
How To Address A Formal Letter?
Addressing a formal letter properly shows respect to the person receiving the letter. It is important to mention the designation of the addressee, followed by the location of their headquarters. After that, we can begin the letter with a proper salutation. You can either write 'Respected Sir/Madam', or 'Dear Sir/Madam' depending on the appropriate circumstances. However, 'Sir/Madam' works in all cases.
How To Write A Formal Letter?
The content of a formal letter begins with the subject line. The subject line sets the agenda for the letter and lets the reader know the matter of concern in brief. After this, you begin writing the main body of your letter. This portion may include three parts for a better presentation. These are as follows.
Introduction: A brief two-line introduction of the sender along with a statement mentioning the matter at hand.
Body: This is where the sender elaborates on their message. This portion, like the rest of the letter, should be crisp, to the point, and informative. The body must offer complete clarity on the issue.
Conclusion: The conclusion of the letter is where the sender requests, expects, or demands action or correspondence from the side of the addressee. One must also be warm while ending the letter by including terms like 'thanking you in advance' or 'with warm regards'.
How To End A Formal Letter?
A formal letter ends with a polite closing signature such as yours faithfully, with thanks, yours sincerely, with kind regards, etc. This shows one's respect for the addressee. After that, the sender puts his or her signature and mentions their designation for further consultation.
Hence, with the closing signature, we can conclude our formal letter. One must remember to strictly follow the formal letter format as this helps maintain decorum in official communication.
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Q1. What are the positions for mentioning the address and designation of the addressee and the address and designation of the sender?
Ans: The designation of the addressee comes at the top-left of the letter after the address of the sender and the date. After that, the receiver's address finds mention. This entire structure follows left alignment. The designation of the sender comes at the very end after the closing signature at the bottom left corner.
Did You Know?
Here are some important points to keep in mind while writing a formal letter.
The presentation of the letter must be neat and clean. Consider leaving one line between two blocks.
The subject line is of utmost importance. It should be crisp and to the point.
The language used must be direct and courteous at the same time.
Provide complete, clear, and correct details in your letter.