Are you looking for help to draft a perfect formal letter? Here are some tips and a sample letter that will help you to deal with this task and write a formal letter effectively.

Writing A Formal Letter

There are times when you need to draft a formal letter, which brings forth lots of incertitude like how to address, what to write and what not to write. Formal letters has definite layout, which should be followed strictly to retain the formal nature of the purpose. All of us are quite familiar with the casual way of writing, which does not come with any constrains like what to write and how. Things change when it comes to drafting a formal letter where a casual attitude is deemed as an absolute no-no. Casual writing takes away the seriousness of the matter and creates a bad impression on the person who drafted it. In order to draft a perfect formal letter, it is essential that you should be aware of the do’s and don’ts of formal letter drafting. There are specified ways of taking a formal letter forward, communicating your message in a schematic language without drifting away from the purpose. Here are some tips  and a sample letter to help you write a formal without much thought or ado.

How To Write A Formal letter

General Layout
  • Address section consists of your address written on the right top corner of the letter followed by the address of the addressee written on the left-hand side of the letter.
  • There are different format of writing date on a letter. You can write the date either on the right or the left-hand side of the letter. Nevertheless, make sure that you write the date only after the address section. Month is usually written in words for example, 3 March 2011.
  • Salutation should be formal, addressing the person with his/her second name and prefixed with titles like Mr., Mrs., Dr., etc. You can also greet them using sir or madam. Ms. is generally used in preference to Miss or Mrs. to salute ladies, unless specified otherwise.
  • The first paragraph of the letter is generally dedicated to state the purpose of the letter like — enquiry, complaint, etc. while other information related to details of the purpose or the person is usually saved for the second paragraph. Third paragraph is conclusive, stressing on the important things and ensuring reply, confirming dates, etc.
  • You can end a formal letter either with ‘yours faithfully’ (generally used if the addressee is not known to you) or with ‘yours sincerely’ (used if the person is known to you). Another style of leave-taking, which is in general use these days, is to use ‘with regards’ or ‘thanks and regards’. You can add your job title and company name after leave-taking, if you are employed. This should ideally be followed by your name and signature.  
Abbreviations Used In Letter Writing
  • Certain abbreviations are commonly used as part formal letters .
  • 'cc.' is actually the abbreviated version of ‘carbon copy’ and is used to inform that you send a copy of the letter to some other person.
  • 'enc.' means enclosure and is used when attach other papers or documents along with the letter.
  • 'pp.' is actually abbreviation of a Latin phrase ‘per procurationem’, which is usually used if you are signing the letter on behalf of another person.
  • 'ps.' means postscript and is used when you want to add some points after you have signed the letter.
  • 'RSVP' implies ‘please reply’.
Tips On Writing A Formal Letter
  • Be concise, and avoid deviating from the main purpose of the letter. Use formal language and use simple words. For example, use ‘stop’ instead of ‘terminate’. The letter should be short and to the point.
  • Opt for short sentences and treat subjects only in the outline. For instance, if you are lodging a complaint, speak only about the matter of your concern and other points like the date of receiving the service. Do not try to detail the whole story on what all difficulties you had. Instead, keep it as short and crisp.   
  • A formal letter should be written in formal way. Avoid typos, grammar mistakes, slang or jargon, contractions such as I’m, can’t, it’s. etc. and vague words such as good, nice, etc. Do not forget to proofread the letter after drafting it.
Sample Letter
Susan Mary,
9 Docksider Lane,
NJ – 34944.
17 June 2011
Thompson Davis,
ABC Retailers,
932Sommerset Street,
Wayne, IN 44505
Dear Mr. Davis,
This letter isintended tolodge a complaint against the quality of stuffwe purchased from your establishment on 4th of June 2011 causing loss of money and wastage of time.
We have been a regular customer of your firm from past three years and have always received quality stuffs with a benefit of wonderful patterns so that we chose your products blindly but this time it went wrong and the stuffs were surprisingly defective with poor stitching and helplessly inferior materials.
I hope you are would look seriously into this and do the needful to compensate my loss. I look forward to receiving a favorable decision from you and be attired by you again.
Yours sincerely,
Susan Mary.
A formal letter still follows some conventional rules and should be written with care. The tips and sample letter given in this article will help you with proper orientation on drafting a perfect formal letter.

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