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How to Write a Formal Letter

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With the invention of email, letter writing is becoming less popular, but despite this it is an important skill. If you'd like to learn about email writing, check out our lesson about how to write a formal email. This guide is for a typed, formal letter, that you could send to a company about a job, or to your bank about your finances.

Begin your letter

Begin your letter by including your address at the top right-hand corner of the page, and the address and name of the person you are writing to at the top left hand corner.

Be sure to date your letter so the recipient will know when you wrote it. You may place the date either on the right hand side of the page, a few lines below your address, or on the left side of the page a few lines below the other person’s address.

Now write the greeting on the left side of the page a few lines below the heading. If you know the name of the person you are emailing and have a formal relationship with them, begin by saying ‘Dear Ms [Surname],’. If you don’t know the person’s name, use ‘Dear Sir/Madam’, or ‘To whom it may concern’. Top Tip: Remember to always include a comma after ‘Dear [Name]’!

Writing the letter

Your letter does not need to be long, but be clear. Introduce yourself and why you are writing (the reason or goal for your letter). If you need to, include examples or specifics to further explain your point in a second paragraph. Use the third paragraph to suggest what should be done to accomplish your goal or solve your issue.

Signing off

Sign off the letter with an appropriate salutation. ‘Sincerely’, ‘Cordially’, and ‘Best’ are all common and appropriate ways to sign your email. After the salutation, skip a few lines before typing your name to leave a blank space between the salutation and your name. Once you have printed the letter, sign your name with a pen in the blank space.

Check out our example below! And don't forget to share this lesson with your friends and leave us a comment telling us why you liked it!


Formal Letter Example