Format of Formal Letter : What is a Formal Letter? Definition

If you are looking to write a formal letter, you have come to the right place, because here you will find everything you need to write it correctly.

As we known, letters are texts addressed to a person to communicate something, and depending on the recipient and the relationship levels, they can be formal or informal. Although in general both the formal letter and the informal letter  follow the structure of the letter , it is important to know its particularities, in order to use them according to the case.

We are going to focus our analysis on the study of the structure of a formal letter . And for this, we will first begin by reviewing the concept of formal registration, its main characteristics and, finally, we will analyze what are the main elements that should not be missing in a formal letter.

What is a Formal Letter?

The formal letter is a document written for the purpose of communicating official or serious business . Its main feature is that it is written in a formal tone, in the second person singular (you) or plural (you).

Structure of a formal letter

Every letter must have a certain structure that precisely gives it the tone of formality it requires. For a letter to be formal, it must have the following:

    1. Name and address. Forced in correspondence by mail.
    2. Place and date.  Forced and can be at the start or end.
    3. Addressee.  Obliged, it must be placed to know who it is addressed to.
    4. Occupation.  This is optional, and is in the most formal documents.
    5. Greeting. It is the polite opening with which the letter begins.
    6. Body. Conveys the message you want to communicate.
    7. Farewell.  Polite closing.
    8. Name of signatory. It is essential, it goes at the bottom.
    9. Signature. It is the signature of the person authorizing the letter.
    10. Signatory category. It is the position or circumstance: Dr. Lic. Ing. Prof. etc.
    11. Additional data. (These data can refer to annexes such as: promissory notes, official documents, photographs, stubs, official documents, etc.)
    12. Final references.  These are more usual in the formal letter.

    Not all the elements are required, but they are part of the formal letter and these are applied according to the need of each letter.

How to make a Formal Letter?

  1. Begin your letter by adding elements such as the date in the upper right corner and the header flush to the left margin. Remember that the header contains the recipient’s information , such as name and grade or position.
  2. Select a greeting , which will go one line below the header. We recommend using one of the formal options mentioned later in this article.
  3. Write the body of the letter, according to the reason for which it is prepared. To explain your reasons, it is important that your text has an introduction (present the request or message), a development (more details are given, for example, how and why) and a conclusion (thank you for your consideration).
  4. Choose a farewell according to the formal and courteous tone of the letter, below you will find some options.
  5. Finally, sign your letter and add your name to avoid confusion. Including your phone number is optional, but some people do it to make future communication easier.

Characteristics of the Formal Letter

Their characteristics are:

  1. They are used in communication between two people or entities that do not know each other personally. The sender and the recipient.
  2. They use a formal language and tone.
  3. They follow a fixed structure.
  4. They are usually short and with a specific message.
  5. It is signed by the sender.

What is the purpose of writing a Formal Letter?

The purpose of a formal letter is to open a formal communication channel with a person you do not know, with a company or institution. Generally, in the academic and professional fields, formalities are necessary to maintain respectful and cordial relationships.

In addition, a formal letter often makes brainstorming easier , because things like colloquialisms, grammatical errors, and unnecessary explanations are eliminated. Consequently, the message is more precise and concrete.

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