Writing a formal letter is considered as a tough task for those who start to write. However, as formal letters usually require a format or a template, it will be easy if you get the proper one. Just follow a simple template and you will soon learn how to do it on your own.
Formal writing covers many letter styles such as for various inquiries and quotations, cover letter, and other business matters. Moreover, learning the proper abbreviations of words, title and important details are important when learning how to write a formal letter.
Rules When Writing a Formal Letter
There are some principles to follow in the English language. The general rule of thumb is to write as clearly and simply as possible. The key is to direct to the point. Avoid writing long letters. Always remember to use the appropriate language rather than the common and informal form of language.
There are two addresses found in a formal letter. The first one is that of the sender. This must be written in the letter's top right hand corner. The second address of the recipient. This is often referred as the "inside address." It must be written on the left portion of the letter just below the sender's address.
Write the date. It does not really matter whether the sender places it on the right or the left side. Any position will do as long as it is just below the address that the sender is writing to. Do not abbreviate the month.
Write a greeting or salutation. Typically used are "Dear Sir or Madam," if you do not personally know the name of the person you are writing to though it is much preferable to find out the name. You can also use "Dear Mr. (name)," if you know the name of the person. You can also use other titles such as Mrs, Mr, Miss, Dr, Engr, and many others. After the title, write only the surname of the person you are writing to. If you do not know whether a woman is using Miss or Mrs, use the title "Ms" for it is referred for both single and married women.
Next is the endng. The term "Yours Faithfully" is used when you do not know the name of the person. Use the term "Yours Sincerely" when you know the person's name.
Place the signature over the printed name. If the person whom you are writing to does not know your gender, insert your title along with brackets after your printed name.
Formal Letter Contents
This paragraph must be brief and direct to the point. State your purpose on why you wrote the letter whether it is a complaint, request, enquiry, or just by way of information.
Keep the middle paragraph concise also. In this part, the letter must contain relevant information as to why you wrote the letter. Most formal letters are not very long. Ensure that the information is simple, brief, and direct to the point. Concentrate on the essential information and on organizing the details in a logical and clear manner.
The last paragraph must create an impact. Clearly state what kind of action you are expecting from the recipient. A good example is either you want the recipient is to send you additional information, give a refund or give you an answer as soon as possible.