Have you ever come across any theory questions that deals with writing formal letters?.
This article will give the basics about writing formal letters in the right way.
Letters that are termed formal are letters written between or to firms, business, organization, editors of newspaper, institution of learning, particular members of society in the process of transacting business.
Formal letters have certain features which make them distinct from other categories of letter and which guide their effective utilization.
Formal letters include :
1. Letters of complaints.
2. Letters that make request.
3. Letters to the press.
4. Letters that have to do with job application… etcetera.
Common Features Of A Formal Letter
1. Address and date.
2. The opening salutation.
3. Topic / Heading / Title.
4. The body of the letter, tone and language.
5. The complimentary close to the letter.
1. Address and date : There are two addresses in the formal letter. The first is the writer’s address placed at the top right hand side of the writing material.
After this comes the recipient’s address on a separate line, immediately below the date.
The recipient’s address is placed at the left hand side of the writing material.
This is very important, it acts as a direction, giving the name or the organization you are writing to.
2. Opening Salutation : The accepted salutation for formal letter is Dear Sir, Dear Ma or Dear Madam. When it has been ascertained that the recipient is a man or woman.
But if the writer is not sure of the sure of the set of office to whom he/she is writing to, it becomes necessary to use “Dear Sir/Ma”.
It is not acceptable to open formal letters with ‘my dear sir’.
There should also be a comma after the salutation.
3. The topic / title : The next thing after salutation in a formal letter is to introduce the topic or title of the letter.
This involves brief description of the purpose of the letter.
The topic should be clearly stated for easy understanding of the writer’s intentions in the body of the letter.
It should also be clearly underlined.
4. The body of the letter, tone and language : The body of the letter begins like that of the informal letter by leaving a little space at the left hand margin. There should be appropriate use of paragraphs.
After the first paragraph, the first word of subsequent paragraphs begin at the same point as in the first.
The writer should go straight to the purpose of the letter instead of unnecessary details.
The tone of the letter should be businesslike, not inquiring about the recipient health.
The language of a formal letter is simple. Colloquialism slangs, flamboyant expressions should be avoided too.
Contractions like; can’t, won’t, etcetera…. and abbreviations should be avoided.
5. Complimentary close : The accepted standard ending of a formal letter or ‘yours faithfully’. This is followed by the writer’s signature and full name or initials plus the surname.
There should be no full stop after the signature.
The ‘Y’ in ‘Yours’ is always a capital letter, while the ‘f’ of ‘faithfully’ is always a small letter.
There should be a comma after the ‘faithfully’.
Further points about formal letter : People write letter of application for jobs when they want to fill any position in an establishment / organization. For them to succeed, they must be able to express themselves effectively as they are in a form of competition. They are not the only one applying for the job.
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