Writing on has got lots of principles guiding her to ensure a unique and classic structure, no matter the form it takes.
At some point in time, one may be required to write a simple formal letter to meet a particular need. Of course not every knows how to write a letter or have considered writing a formal letter. This post serves to help you improve on formal letter and application writing.
6 Format/ Elements of a formal letter
Why Write a Letter? Advantages of Letter over Emails
- No special device is needed to receive a letter, just a postal address, and the letter can be read immediately on receipt.
- An advertising mailing can reach every address in a particular area.
- A letter provides immediate, and in principle permanent, physical record of communication, without the need for printing.
- Letters, especially those with a signature and/or on an organization’s own notepaper, are more difficult to falsify than is an email and thus provide much better evidence of the contents of the communication.
- A letter in the sender’s own handwriting is more personal than an email.
- If required, small physical objects can be enclosed in the envelope with the letter.
- Letters are unable to transmit malware or other harmful files that can be transmitted by email.
- Letter writing leads to the mastery of the technique of good writing.
- Letter writing can provide an extension of the face-to-face therapeutic encounter.
The Formal Letter
A letter is said to be formal, when it is written to institutions, government departments, businesses etc. Basically, a formal letter is written for official purposes, having a letter tone which is serious with literal meanings. This type of letter are used to get ones point across in a polite yet clear expressive language.
Who writes a formal letter?
A formal letter can be written by anyone who possess the basic skill of writing one. When the need arises for one to write a formal letter, he or she must just find out time to structure one.
Types of Formal letters
There’re are various types of formal letter, a few of the list includes;
- Application letter
- Promotion letter
- Sales letter
- Order letter
- Enquiry letter
- Complaint letter
- Resignation Letter etc.
The Language of a formal letter
The language of a formal letter has to be very simple and the writer should not write in a manner which portrays his/her intention to impress the reader/recipient.
Format/ Elements of a formal letter
The elements of the formal letter which places it under this category includes;
- Address (Sender and Receiver)
- Body text
Address simply means a place where an organization or person can be found and communicated with. A formal letter contains two addresses namely; the writer’s address and the recipient’s address.
This is the addresser’s address. The addressee begins by writing his/her address at the top right hand size of the script. Letter head stationery can be used.
The address could be open or closed. The open form of address has no punctuation at the end of the lines, while the closed form of address is punctuated.
Example of a closed and open form of address
20 Azodo street
18th January 2022
20 Azodo street,
18th January, 2022.
In a formal letter, the dedication/title of the receiver of the letter is provided at the left hands side of the document.
You can use an appropriate title such as “The Director”, “The Manager”, “The Chairman” etc.
The title of the recipient is usually accompanied by the persons address(that is, the address of the recipient).
The date is usually beneath the writer’s address. The pattern of date used when an address is punctuated is different from that used when not punctuated.
Punctuated date format
*18th January, 2022.
*January 18, 2022.
Un punctuated date format
*18 January 2022
Salutation also known as greetings comes on the next line after the address. It is written at the left hand side of the paper and ends with a comma.
Use appropriate salutations such as “Dear Sir”, “Dear Madam”, “Sir” etc.
All formal letters has got a heading. The heading or title capture the ideas of the body text and it helps the addressee to have an idea of what the letter is all about.
The heading which is usually written on the centre page, is precise and concise.
The heading is basically considered as the subject of discussion of the letter.
The body text explains / explodes the heading, structured into paragraphs as it is been made as brief as possible.
Most formal letters are written to fit one page. This is because in most cases, the recipients of such letters do not have to much time to go over pages of writing.
The ending of a formal letter is sub divided into three parts namely:
The subscription or complimentary close
Name of addictions.
The subscription or complimentary close
In a formal letter, the complimentary close is usually “Yours faithfully” for it is more official.
Notice that the first letter in the first word was capitalized, while the first letter of the second word, wasn’t capitalized.
The writer’s signature is written close to the right hand or to the left in some cases.
Every formal letter must be endorsed. The inability of the addresser to sign the business letter renders such a letter unacceptable as the authenticity of the letter is put at stake.
Name of the addresser
The ful name of the addresser must be written quite below the signature.
The addresser is expected to present the first name before the supreme. Where by the writer has an official title such as Dr., Prof., such should be enclosed in a bracket.
What to Avoid While Writing A Formal Letter
Since the formal letter is practically official, some forms of errors will be awkward if seen in one and these errors includes;
- Avoid grammatical errors. Spelling and grammar has to be strongly scrutinized.
- Avoid making letter unclear. Hit your points in a concise manner.
- Avoid the use of colloquialisms or informal language.
- Avoid using sentences all through the letter. The body of the letter should be divided into paragraphs.
- Avoid introducing a subject matter that is not relevant to the topic. Ensure your points are made briefly as possible.
Hints to better the structure of a formal letter
- Write using the right format.
- If you’re representing a company then ensure to write the company’s address. While if you’re the sender, write your address.
- Never forget to include your telephone under your address, as it could serve as a means to reach out to you when the need arises.
- Ensure that you address them formally using attained titles like “Dr”, “Rev”, “Mr”, “Mrs” or “Ms”. Also include full name if known.
- Get all your writings done in not more than three paragraphs.
- Don’t leave a blank line between the sender address and date.
- Be concise but thorough in your discuss.
- Proof read your letter.
Preview samples of written formal letters
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