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Types of Formal Letters

Last updated date: 17th Apr 2024
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Introduction to Formal Letters

A formal letter is a type of letter which is used to convey thankfulness or complaining against a person or situation who is generally an official. This letter has a particular format and has several forms too. Formal letters can be used in a wide range. The places include schools, colleges, offices and government places. 

The message in a letter should be precise, unambiguous, concise, intriguing, and easily understandable. This article deals with the study of different types of formal letters. We shall discuss in detail formal letter formats,  letter templates, and layout.

Formal Letter Format

The details of the formal letter format are given below.

  • Sender’s Address

  • Date

  • Name/Designation of Addressee

  • Address of the Addressee

  • Salutation

  • SubjectBody – Introduction, Content, Conclusion

  • Complimentary Close

  • Signature / Name of the Sender

  • Designation of the Sender

Types of Formal Letters & Formal Letter Format

A. Letter of Inquiry

Just like the name implies, these letters are the means of collecting any information. Usually, the letter of inquiry is chosen by people as a Business letter or a formal letter. People use this letter to gain information or knowledge regarding some academic or professional course or job inquiry, charges of various services, cost of goods, terms, and conditions or working agreements, etc. One must keep the following points in mind while writing a letter of inquiry.

  • Give a brief introduction about yourself.

  • Include the name of the organization (if possible).

  • The area of inquiry should be present in a clear and precise form.

  • Be clear and concise while writing down your queries and doubts.

  • Clearly mention the deadlines. 

B. Order Letter 

An order letter is broadly used to place an order for buying products. This letter is drafted by the customer and the three major parts of the order letter are as follows.  

  • The features and specifications of the ordered items or the products must be stated clearly.

  • Proper details about the quantity or number of specific products to be ordered, model number, and other such relevant information must be mentioned. 

  • The details related to the shipping of the products must be given precisely and clearly. For example, the information regarding the mode of transportation, shipping location, and the desired date for the goods to be delivered must be distinctly mentioned in the order letter.

  • All the inquiries related to the payment, including the date, mode and terms & conditions regarding the payment must be mentioned. 

Let us suppose you placed an order for a few things and the quality of the actual items received differs from that as assured by the seller. What can be the solution to this sort of problem? In such a case, it is so obvious to either ask for the replacement of goods or a payment refund. To do so, you need to write a letter of complaint to the organization at which you placed the order. 

The Below-Given Points Will Help You to Write An Order Letter

  • One must give all the details of the issue. 

  • State the actions that you want to be taken.

  • Provide information like the date of shipment/delivery of the items, order number, or the details of the previous complaint (if any).

  • A deadline for the response as expected by the customer filing the complaint must be mentioned.

  •  A specimen or a copy of the invoice must be attached.

  •  One must be respectful in the writing tone but using assertive words is necessary so that the issue is taken seriously by the seller. 

  • Any fake allegations against the seller should not be made in the order letter.

C. Reply to a Letter of Complaint

Suppose you received a letter of complaint and you want to respond to it. It is most necessary to look into such allegations minutely, as they may cost you your organization’s purposes, and reputation. To provide better customer services, it is essential for you to:

  • Address the problem and its effect on the customer.

  • Express your genuine concern and regrets about the issue.

  • Assert the course of actions you will take for the issue.

  • Mention a tentative deadline by which you can provide the services.

  • Assure the customer of no more similar complaints and troubles in the future.

  • Be very precise about every detail regarding the products.

D. Promotion Letter

The type of letters used for promoting new developments and up-gradations are known as promotion letters. The below-given points will help you to write a promotional letter. 

  • Use clear, definite terms.

  • Use proper punctuation and correct spelling.

  • Avoid the use of any slang or fancy terminologies of jargon.

  • Discuss the promotion precisely.

  • Avoid the use of abbreviations.

E. Sales Letters

These letters are written to give information about a product to the customers for selling purposes. The facts and figures must be easily understandable, to strengthen the partnership relations and joint ventures. The basic yet extremely important points to be kept in mind while drafting a sales letter are as follows.

  • Use of formal language that is clear and easily understandable. 

  • Do not use any abusive or informal words or phrases.

  • Avoid using abbreviations. Make clear and concise content. 

  • Do not add unnecessary details that make the letter long. 

  • Provide adequate details and features clearly that are to be conveyed to the reader.

F. Recovery Letters

The objective of writing a recovery letter is to recover the money from a consumer without bothering or annoying him. This type of letter should cover specifications and information regarding the following aspects.

  • Amount of due payment.

  • Last date of payment submission. 

  • Details regarding legal action when payment will be overdue.

G. Sick leave application

H. Resignation letter

I. Job offer letter

J. Complaint letter

K. Business letter

L. Appointment letter

M. Leave application (marriage /maternity)

The Points to be kept in mind while writing the Recovery Letter are as Follows

  • It is a polite reminder. 

  • The information and details must be provided in an easy language that is understandable by the customer. 

  • Use of formal language while drafting the email. 

  • Nothing about the necessary details should be skipped in the letter. The letter should not contain unnecessary details. Try to be to the point and never write out of the topic.

  • Only note down the things that are important and the subject matter. So, neither your time is wasted nor the readers.

  • A formal letter should be written in a formal tone but try to avoid a friendly tone because the person to whom you are sending this letter is not your friend.

  • The first thing a person is going to notice is your salutation. Make it appropriate so that it would sound proper and decent and not over-friendly.

  • Do not forget to mention the date in the formal letter. It should be mentioned properly either at the top of the letter or at the end of the letter. Most preferably, it is present at the beginning.

  • Do not forget to mention your name or the name of the person you are writing on the behalf of. It can be for a firm or any organization you are writing for. If not you can also use a stamp or seal for the particular organization on whose behalf you are writing it.

  • Express your gratitude at the end of the formal letter and do not end it casually. It should be formal, professional and appropriate.

  • The rest of the things which should be taken care of are the address, subject matter, date and salutations on the same side.

  • In addition, it is better to keep some space left if a letter needs to be stapled for some reason.

Formal Letter Format

Name of the sender




Name of the recipient


Company name


Salutation (respected sir/madam)


Body of the letter

(Your required content should be written here in a proper formal way)

Proper gratitude (thanking you/yours faithfully)

FAQs on Types of Formal Letters

1. What is the difference between a formal letter and an informal letter?

Formal letters are generally official or professional. It should be very proper and to the point but in the case of an informal letter, you can be very casual and don't need any type of official language. The informal letter is written to friends or relatives whereas formal letters are meant to be used only for officials and professional works.

2. What cannot be used in a formal letter?

Formal letters are very delicate and need to be mentioned properly. It is necessary to take care that you are not using any type of abbreviations or shortcuts without proper knowledge or description. For instance, "can't" "yeah", these types of usings can create blunders. You can simply use "cannot" or "yes". While doing a signature, you should do the full signature or it leaves a bad impression.

3. How to end a formal letter gracefully?

Be natural and respectful. Use "yours faithfully" or "your sincerely" or "best regards" in general. Don't become too casual or too dramatic. Close it up with a comma, then pen down your full signature. Mention the company, firm or organization name if you are writing on behalf. You can simply close it up with a seal or stamp.

4. Do formal letters have titles?

As far as possible try to address the letter to a specific person. Even if you don't know the name of the person, still try to use the title of the person. If you are using a word processor, then preferably, this part is placed four lines below the heading. On the other hand, if the letter is handwritten, then this part presents just one line below the headings.

5. Whenever writing a formal letter, what is the most important criteria to look upon?

The most important criteria to look upon while writing a formal letter are its introduction, body and conclusion. The introduction needs to be in a formal tone and should be balanced. It should be summed up in a line. Your body of the letter should be "to the point" and "short and sweet", and free from unnecessary details. And the conclusion should contain your goals, request, suggestions and a proper end. Avoid any type of offensive words or even formal ways of threatening.

6. State the words that can be used as a Complementary Closure in any Formal Letter?

The below-given words can be used as Complementary Closure in any formal letter.

  • Yours truly.
  • With sincere appreciation.
  • Yours sincerely.
  • With sincere thanks.

7. What is the main purpose of formal letters?

Formal letters are written for different purposes. Some of them are mentioned below.

  1. To file a complaint. To request information regarding any official matter.
  2. To convey important information regarding any official matter.
  3. As a response to an official letter or fax.
  4. To apply for a job in a new company and many more. 

8. In what aspects is a formal letter different from an informal letter?

A letter written in a formal language and stipulated format for official purposes or professional communication is known as a formal letter. On the contrary, informal letters are the ones written to friends and relatives for personal communication. A casual or emotional tone is followed in informal letters.