Formal letter writing guidelines and tips for someone who wishes to know the proper way or format for writing a formal letter, be it in Nigeria or elsewhere.
Learn how to write a formal letter like a pro!
To write a formal letter is actually easier than the way some people think. The most important thing is to understand what a formal letter requires and the format you need to present it.
Features of a formal letter
First, let’s look at the features of a formal letter.
Your Address (sender’s address)
This is the address of you that is writing the letter. Note that If you are representing a company, write the company’s address. The sender’s address is placed at the top right corner of the letter. Things you can include with your address include:
- Phone & email: you can include your contact information like email and phone number.
- Date: Place the date just after your address and contact information (if you included your contact details).
Note: some people prefer to place the sender’s address at the top right-hand side. In that case, place the date directly below the sender’s address. The date should be one line beneath the sender’s address. On a computer, that should be two hard returns on a keyboard.
Example: how to write of sender address for a formal letter:
123 Island street
Email: [email protected]
July 23, 2018
This is the address of the person you are writing. You position the recipient address on the left, starting on the next line below the address of the person writing the letter.
Example recipient address for a formal letter:
Mr. John Doe
Mikey Jones Ltd.
Salutation for a formal letter
Salutation comes one line after the recipient’s address. It is always advisable to try to find out a name, but if you don’t know the person’s name, use Dear sir or Dear madam depending on if the recipient is male or female.
Note: If you are writing to a woman and do not know if she uses Mrs or Miss, you can use Ms, which is for married and single women.
An example is shown below. Please take note of the comma “,”:
Example: Salutation in a formal letter
Dear Mr. John,
Title for a formal letter (Optional)
After the salutation comes the title of the letter. However, it is not every letter that needs a title. Title or not, this depends on the type of formal letter you are writing. For example, if you are writing a job application letter, you need a title that states the position you are applying for.
Example: Title for a job application letter:
APPLICATION FOR THE POST OF SCHOOL PRINCIPAL
Note: Write the title in uppercase. If you prefer to write it in lower case, make sure to underline the title.
Body of a formal letter
The body of the letter need not be more than three paragraphs. If you can’t say it in three paragraphs or less then you’re probably not being concise enough. Single space and left justify each paragraph within the body.
- In the first paragraph, write a friendly opening and then state the reason or goal of the letter. Cut straight to the chase.
- In the second paragraph, use examples to stress or underline your point, if possible. Concrete, real examples are always better than hypothetical examples.
- In the final paragraph, briefly summarize your purpose in writing and suggest how you might want to proceed further.
Ending/sign off of a formal letter
To sign off a formal letter, write one per line,
- Yours faithfully,
- Sign with your signature
- Write your full name
Use Yours Faithfully, or Yours Sincerely, if you know the name of the person, end the letter this way. Also note the comma “,” after Yours faithfully.
Sign your name, then print it underneath the signature. If you think the person you are writing to might not know (or might want to know) your gender, include your title in brackets after your name.
Example of signing off a formal letter:
Any questions, suggestions or corrections, please drop a comment. Thank you.
More on formal letter: https://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Formal-Letter http://ameliasdesalto.com/sample-of-letter-asking-for-endorsement.html/ideas-of-insurance-request-letter-format