Letter writing is an essential skill. Despite the prevalence of emails and text messages, everyone has to write letters at some point. Letters of complaint, job applications, thank you letters, letters requesting changes or making suggestions — the list goes on and on. Letter writing is part of the required curriculum in schools. It comprises of a standalone element teaching correct styles of letter writing cross-curricular.
There are three types of Letters:
- Formal Letter
- Informal Letter
- Semi-formal Letter
A formal letter is any letter that is not personal. Formal letters include all business and official letters.
There are various different ways in which formal letters can be set out. The block style is designed to make letter-writing easier and quicker for typists. It should be avoided in formal letters which are written by hand.
Structure of a Formal letter
- Your Address and date: The sender’s address should be written at the top right hand side/corner. The address is aligned vertically so that each line starts immediately below the previous one. The date goes below the address with a line space in between. The date is written in the simplest possible way: the number is not followed by any abbreviated forms such as st., nd., rd., or th.
- Recipient’s Address: The addressee’s name and the address is arranged above the letter and this goes to the left hand side below the sender’s address, after the date.
- Salutation/Greeting: The salutation begins one line space below the addressee’s address. Dear Sir or Madam. You can use the titles Miss, Mrs. or Mr. if you know the name of the person to whom you are writing the letter to.
- 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. This goes under the salutation.
- Body: First paragraph should be introductory while the second paragraph should convey whatever it is you want to get across, in details. The last paragraph should be conclusive.
- Signature: This should be written at the left side after the conclusion with your names.
- Complimentary close or Valediction: Yours faithfully or Yours sincerely always goes at the bottom of the letter. The name of the sender is printed below the signature.
- Write name in block letters (this is to ensure that the person receiving the letter knows exactly who has sent it. Signatures may not be very clear)
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