Formal Letter: There is no denial that e-mails, and text messages are taking away all the credits of communication these days. Despite the growing popularity of technological modes, ‘letters’ still capture the place in millions of hearts. Most importantly, we still prefer interacting our issues through formal letters or applications in schools, colleges and even within the corporate houses.
Certainly, this is the reason for which the significance of formal letters written to the authorities is still taught to the students in their academics. However, we do find a lot of people who keep on doing minor mistakes either in the format or structure of the letter. Although we think that can be ignored, it’s not the same at all. These things are really very critical and can, in turn, raise several questions before the addressee.
Therefore, today we are going to discuss all the parameters that you are supposed to keep in mind while writing a formal letter to a professional contact person. Read on!
What makes a formal letter different from an informal letter?
Before we dive deep into the format and structure, let’s talk about the major difference between a formal letter and an informal one. As you can already see, that writing a formal letter needs us to be extra conscious, you need to understand why is it so!
The major difference between the two is nothing but the difference in their writing pattern, tone and format. You can start an informal letter as you please like, but you cannot do the same in case of a formal letter. There are several things that you should be aware of, while you are drafting the latter.
Well, it is just that you are expected to write a formal letter to a professional contact person which is unlike the case while you are contacting any of your friends or relatives (as in the informal letter).
Also, you must write a formal letter in a certain format and you cannot deviate from the same – the decorum should be maintained, and it should be apparent through your writing tone and style. Besides, while drafting a formal letter, you need to be careful about the selection of words you are using therein!
You can also check the Points to note while writing an Appointment letter.
Format of a formal letter
As stated earlier, a formal letter abides by certain rules and conventions. There are several ways through which one may choose to draft a formal letter. The one that we are going to discuss today right over here is the one which is most widely used among all!
Firstly, it is always ideal to start writing a formal letter only on a clean sheet of blank paper. It would rather be the best idea if you can start it on a fresh A4 sized paper instead of a ruling sheet.
You ought to put the sender’s address on the top right-hand corner of the page. The address should be complete and accurate in case the recipient of the letter wishes to get in touch with the sender for further communication.
You would need to write the date (the day you are drafting the letter on) right below the sender’s address, i.e., on the right hand side of the page. It is essential to mention the date on the formal letter as it helps in maintaining the record.
Now, your next point of focus should be the receipent of the letter. Leave a little space and then write down the receiver’s address on the left side of the page. It is totally upon the writer’s preference whether or not you want to write “To” above the address. Also, ensure writing official name/position/title etc of the receiver in the first line of the address itself.
As you are writing a formal letter, make sure that you are greeting the person in a respectful way, and not being too personal. In usual cases, the greetings include writing either “Sir” or “Madam.” In case you know the contact person’s name, you can write, “Mr X” or so, depending on the name of that concerned person. However, mention either their full name or just the last name. We generally don’t address anyone only by their first name.
Just as you are over with the salutation part, here comes the subject of the letter. Write the “Subject,” in the centre of the line followed by a colon (:). The subject is usually the topic of the letter that you are supposed to start writing. In a nutshell, it’s just the briefing that will give a fair idea to the reader about the letter as a whole. You can also say that it is the one liner that will give the receipent about the whole matter in just a glance.
Body of the Letter
Coming to the main matter, or the content of the letter; you are expected to divide the letter in 2-3 paragraphs. To be more exact, you should mention the purpose of the letter in the first paragraph itself. Keep the tone of the content to be formal instead of adding any kind of fillers into it unnecessarily.
Write things to the point, and do not extend the topic for just no reason. Also, no matter the subject of the letter, be respectful and considerate. Even if you are addressing a concern with disappointment, that should not reflect in your letter by any chance.
Closing the Letter
The closing of a formal letter is equally important as its opening. We generally use words such as “Yours Faithfully” or “Yours Sincerely” to end the letter once we have covered all the important pointers that were to be mentioned. We generally write the closing towards the right side of the paper.
After you have closed the letter, you are supposed to sign your name. Write your name in block letters just below your signature (the one that you have done in running hands).
Formal Letter Format
The general format of a formal letter is given below:
Formal Letter Format in CBSE
In CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education), the board prescribes the format to write the letter.
Formal Business Letter Format
Here is a format to write a Business Letter:
Formal Resignation Letter
Here is a format to write a resignation letter:
Formal Letter Sample
A formal letter sample is provided here,
Formal Invitation Letter
An invitation letter is written to invite anyone for a particular occasion. Here is format to write the formal invitation letter.