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Pointers Letter Format

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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

  • Date 

  • Designation of the receiver followed by their address 

  • Salutation 

  • The subject of the letter

  • The main body/content of the letter

  • Concluding thoughts 

  • Complimentary closure 

  • Name and designation of the sender 

  • Closing signature 

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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Solved Example

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. 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. How is a Formal Letter different From an Informal One?

Ans: An informal letter is meant for communicating with friends, family, and people who are close to us. In this respect, we do not have to follow much decorum while writing our letters. We must refrain from using disrespectful words, but otherwise, the style of writing is more or less open to our judgment. However, formal letters are a mode of technical communication. The exchanges take place between companies, organizations, businesses, and individuals. This form of communication requires certain rules, and therefore for this case, a formal letter format is very necessary. These are the differences between the two kinds of letters.

2. What are the Points that We Need to Consider While Writing a Formal Letter? 

Ans: A formal letter format is the point of focus for learners trying to grasp the concept of formal letters properly. In this respect, one needs to remember the following points.

  1. Always follow the left alignment rule.

  2. Keep your language simple but clear.

  3. The content must be crisp and informative. 

  4. Never forget the subject line. Be brief and direct about the matter of the letter in the subject line.

  5. Provide thoroughly checked details only.

  6. Always address your receiver with respect and be courteous while writing the letter. 

  7. In conclusion, mention your anticipation for a response from the addressee.

  8. Sign off with a complimentary closing signature.