Letters have always been a very effective way of communication in past times. Letter writing has also been a constant part of the school curriculum. Schools had taken it upon themselves to be very particular about the formats of letter writing, be it formal or informal. 

There are two basic formats of letter writing– Formal and Informal. In this article, Edureify brings to you all the formats of Formal letter writing along with some basic features of Formal letters.

What is a Formal Letter?

Let us begin from the very beginning. What are formal letters, who are they from, and what particular purpose do they serve? Edureify will answer all these basic questions.

Formal letters are written for professional use. Some of the key features that define a formal letter are-

  • The professional tone of the letter
  • To-the-point and direct language
  • Not very lengthy

Types of Formal Letter

Any organization or institute mandates communication in a formal tone. Depending on who is addressed and what is the subject of the letter, there are a few kinds of formal letters. The different kinds of the formal letter are- 

  • Order Letter
  • Promotion Letter
  • Letter of Enquiry
  • Recovery Letter
  • Letter of Complaint
  • Reply to a letter of complaint
  • Sales Letter

Structure of Formal Letter

Like any piece of writing, a letter, be it formal or informal, also has a beginning, body, and end. But more than just the content of the letter, other structural features must be followed while writing a formal letter. 

Following are the key elements that must be included while structuring a formal letter-

1. Sender’s Address-

From the upper left-hand corner of the page, one needs to first write their address. Flat, or street number, building name, street name, and Pincode must be mentioned. The address must be written in two to three lines.

2. Date-

After writing the sender’s address, with a one-line gap, mention the date. The format of writing the date is as follows-

April 28, 20XX

3. Receiver’s Address- 

Here, much like the format followed in the sender’s address, one needs to write down the receiver’s address. Make sure to mention the proper street name, building number, and Pincode. 

4. Subject- 

The subject is a one-line sentence that highlights the purpose or issue of writing the letter. It can also be considered as a brief, one-line introduction of what is written in the main body of the letter. 

If one is writing a hand-written formal letter then it is always advised to underline the subject.

5. Salutation- 

Write before beginning the letter, salutation directly addresses the receiver of the letter. Given the formal tone of the letter, make sure to use a professional salutation like ‘Respected Sir/Madam’.

It is also advised to use the proper prefix of the person to whom one is writing the letter. Mr., Mrs., Dr., and so on can also be added before writing the name of the receiver. 

6. Body- 

As mentioned earlier the body of the formal letter must not be lengthy. To better structure the letter, it is always suggested to break the body of the letter into small paragraphs. 

The first paragraph introduces the purpose of the letter. Give a brief overview of why you are writing the letter in the first place.

The second paragraph is the actual body of the letter. Explain the issues you want to discuss in the letter but make sure the sentences and the paragraph must not get lengthy.

The third and final paragraph is the conclusion of the letter. Depending on what type of letter one is writing, the conclusion paragraph can ask for a solution, suggest a solution, or promise to look for alternatives to solve the issue discussed in the letter.

7. Ending- 

The ending of a formal letter requires the sender to sign off with proper salutation. ‘Yours Faithfully’, and ‘Yours Sincerely’ are some of the most popular ending salutations. 

8. Signature Line-

After the ending salutation, the sender must sign their full name, then in the next line write their name in block letters, and finally add their designation if applicable.  

These 8 points are the key features that must be kept in mind while writing a formal letter. 

Edureify hopes that students can use the information provided by us to better compose their future formal letters. For any further queries, do visit Edureify to get all your doubts cleared.

Some FAQs regarding Formal Letter

1. What are the most important things to write in a formal letter?

The most important things to write in a formal letter are-

  •   Sender’s address 
  •   Date 
  •   Receiver’s address
  •   Subject
  •   Main topic of the letter
  •   Proper conclusion
  •   Salutation 
  •   Ending salutation

2. What are the topics asked in government exams while writing formal letters?

Depending on the particular government exam that one is appearing for, certain topics are given to candidates to construct a formal letter. Irrespective of the exam, WBCS, SSC, IBPS, Railways, or Banking, Edureify has combined some of the common topics that are frequently asked in these exams.

  •   Write a letter to the Editor mentioning how ‘Vocal for Local’ can transform India into a faster economy.
  •   Write a letter of acceptance of a job offer to a firm where one had applied for the post of Assistant Manager.
  •   Letter from customer pledging valuables against a loan from a bank. 

3. What is the pattern of the formal letter?

Here is the structure or pattern of a formal letter-

  •   Sender’s address
  •   Date 
  •   Receiver’s address
  •   Subject 
  •   Salutation 
  •   Body of the letter
  •   Ending 
  •   Signature 

4. How do you ask a question in a formal letter?

The key to a proper formal letter is being direct and not exceeding or overstating things. To ask a question make sure to keep a balanced tone depending on whether the person you are addressing is in a senior, junior, or neutral position from you. 

  •   “I would like to raise a query about the submission of the article…”
  •   “I wanted to enquire whether the project has been evaluated or not…”

These are some ways one can begin their question in a formal letter.

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