Formal letter writing

How To Write A Formal Letter To Impress The Recipient

Remember how letter writing can be very challenging while being taught in school? There are times we desire to write a formal letter but end up writing an informal letter. Knowing how to write a formal letter is very essential for everyone especially if you work in a corporate firm.

However, In recent times social media has transformed the way we communicate through letters. Now, these letters have turned into emails. In this article, we will shed light on how to write a formal letter, its types, and more.

What is a formal letter?

A formal letter can also be known as a professional or official letter, which is direct and uses formal language. Most importantly, such letters are detailed with few words and a few paragraphs that convey the central message to its reader in seconds. These letters are written to authorities, dignitaries, colleagues, and senior officials.

how to write a Formal letter

How to write a formal letter: Simple steps

Some simple steps to follow when writing a formal letter are:

Writing the contact information

All formal letters begin with two addresses all in block format, located at the top right corner and top left corner respectively, which consist of the contact information and date.

However, if you are writing an official letter with letterhead information, you don’t need to rewrite the contact information.

Firstly, the sender writes his/her address, city/state, country, and date, all aligned and in a block format at the top right corner of the letter. 

In addition, It is followed by recipient contact, name of the company, city/state, and country; all aligned and in block format at the top left of your letter, immediately below the first address.


Formal letters always have a written content greeting located immediately after the contact information. Most of these greetings begin with ‘Dear’ accompanied by the recipient status as it shows acknowledging the recipient with due respect before the main information is passed.

Writing a salutation can be very easy and at the same time technical. If you do not know the name of whoever the receiver is, it can be addressed as Dear Sir/Ma. Also, the receiver can be addressed based on his/her current position in the job title posted such as Dear HR. You must try to avoid writing ‘Dear Sir or Madam’. 

Writing the subject/topic 

When a strong and direct subject is composed in a formal letter, it conveys the meaning of the entire letter just in one line to the receiver. The subject can be long or short with not more than seven (7) words, it could be written in capital or small letter case.

Subjects in formal letters are located immediately below the salutation, with not more than seven words. When it’s written in small letters, you are meant to underline it but when it is written in capital letters, you don’t underline it.

See this: How To Write An Article Effectively and be Proud of it

Body (introduction, content and conclusion)

The first paragraph should introduce your intentions, followed by the reason for writing and the conclusion. It should be brief and straightforward.

Write your complimentary close

Formal letters use a complimentary close to end the letter in goodwill. Writing a standard complimentary close after concluding your letter is a great way to sign off. 

One of the most commonly used complimentary closes in an official letter is mostly written as “Yours sincerely” then your full name and a signature. Some common ones you can use are: With regards, Yours truly, Best wishes.

Name of sender / signature

You mustn’t forget to include the name of the person sending it. The sender’s name is written in full immediately below your complimentary close. 

Lastly, your signature is boldly written below the sender’s name.

Recommended: How to write a descriptive essay: The most efficient way

Types of formal letter 

We have explained an elementary guide on how to write a formal letter from top to bottom above. I will be discussing some types of formal letters.

how to write a Formal letter

Promotion letter

A promotion letter as the name implies is an official letter written to promote or shift an outstanding employee from his/her current position or it serves as an advertising medium to promote products and services to customers.

Letter of Enquiry 

A letter of enquiry helps to sort out information. It can be used in business letters or formal letters. It assists in providing information such as the price of the products and services or terms and conditions.

Resignation Letter 

A resignation letter is a type of official letter written by an employee thinking of quitting a particular job.

Invitation Letter 

An invitation letter is a type of official letter written mostly to invite an applicant for a job position or a particular function or occasion. Some other invitation letters include attending a meeting or Conference, or an annual day celebration.

Sales letter 

Basically, sales letter is written for promotion. It is sent directly either through mail to a customer for promotion or to get the customer familiarized with the product and services.

How to write a Formal letter,

Tips on writing a formal letter 

  • Be direct and straightforward.
  • Use constructive English with clear explanations.
  • Ensure you don’t discuss your life problems.
  • State your purpose.
  • Don’t use shorthand when writing.

Read Also: How to Write a Result Section: Step by Step Guide

Simple abbreviation used in a formal letter 

Formal letters are official letters, but there are a few abbreviations that can be used when writing a formal letter.

  • RSVP: répondez s’il vous plaît. (Please reply)
  • Enc: Enclosed 
  • CC: Carbon Copy 
  • ASAP: As Soon As Possible 
  • PP: Per procuration 

Differences between formal and informal letter

Formal LetterInformal Letter
It is an official letterIt is not an official letter
It has a formatThere is no particular format
It is written in a professional wayIt can be casual
They are written for official reasons They are written for personal reasons
It is usually typedIt is handwritten


Finally, a well-written letter always has a way of accomplishing its purpose. To make sure your letter really hits the heart of its reader, every grammatical error must be checked, proofread and direct. When a formal letter is written clearly and straightforwardly it delivers the right message.

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