A formal letter is an official letter. It is a letter written for official reason. A formal letter is written for different purposes which are.

  • Make a complaint
  • Request something
  • Make an inquiry
  • Apply for a Job
  • Proposal
  • Reference
  • Formal Invitation

When writing a Formal letter, there are strict rules you must follow which are

You should be mindful of your use of grammar when writing a formal letter as abbreviations, slang  and codes are not allowed, examples are Nov, Don’t,  gimme, e.t.c.

You have to go straight to the point when writing a formal letter, keep it simple and short and also avoid all unnecessary friendly chat and casualness.

When writing a formal letter, you must be conscious of the arrangement from the addresses and dates; to the salutation and heading; down to the introduction; body and conclusion; and then closing and signature: 

Your Address and date:  In a formal letter, this should be written at the top right corner of the page

5 Adeniran Street

Oriola busstop


Ketu, Lagos

20 November 2015

Recipient Address: Yes a formal letter has two addresses, and this recipient’s address is the second one. This is the address of the receiver of the letter, it should be written at the left hand side after the date.

The Managing Director

Rise Interactive Global Link Limited

10A Olaniji Street, Juli Estate,

Oregun Lagos

Salutation:   letter Dear Sir/Ma/Madam

Heading: This carries the reason you are writing the letter in one sentence, it should be in capital letters, if not, it should be underlined. It is the subject of the formal letter. Note: If the subject is not written in capitals, it should be underlined in a formal letter

Related Posts: Grammar Clinic: The REAL Difference Between Formal And Informal Letter

Example: Application for the post of a Clerk or APPLICATION FOR THE POST OF A CLERK

Body: In a formal letter, the first paragraph should be introductory while the second paragraph should convey whatever it is you want to get across, in details.

Conclusion: The last paragraph of a formal letter should be conclusive, a summary of what you’ve been writing about. If it is a letter of complaint, the summary could be some suggestions on how to handle it, if it’s a letter of proposal , you may conclude by writing what that you’re expecting a positive reply.

Name and Signature: In a formal letter, this should be written at the left side after the conclusion with your names.

Yours faithfully/sincerely/respectfully,


Ali Hanifah Abiodun

Also Read: Grammar Clinic: Letter Writing (Informal Letter)

NoteRemember when writing formal letters, you are not allowed to write in abbreviations or words like, don’t, shouldn’t or aren’t.