Formal letters are written for official purposes to authorities, dignitaries, colleagues, seniors etc. A formal letter should be short, clear and to the point. We should avoid use of informal language.

The format of the formal letter is similar to that of informal letter with just one addition, the address of the receiver. While writing a formal letter the following points must be attended to:

  • The Heading consisting of
    • The writer’s address
    • The date
  • The address of the person we are writing to
  • Greeting/salutation
  • The message – the body of the letter
  • The subscription or leave taking
  • The signature
  • The superscription on the envelope

The message or the body of the letter should be divided into

  • The introductory paragraph : this paragraph should state the purpose of the letter
  • The main paragraph : This paragraph should state all the points that you want to make, in detail.
  • The concluding paragraph : This paragraph should mention, exactly what you expect the recipient of the letter to do.

Examples of a formal letter include

  • A letter of complaint
  • A letter of request
  • A letter of inquiry
  • A job application
  • A leave application
  • Letter to a newspaper

Let us now see a sample letter of complaint.This is a letter written to a travel agency, complaining about the overall quality of a tour.

The Superscription ie. the address on the envelop should be written clearly, like this:

This is the way, you write a formal letter of complaint. I am sure you will easily be able to write one…

In the upcoming lessons, we will see an example of each of the remaining kinds of letters.

Stay tuned….Goodbye!