How to Write a LetterPosted by
How to Write a Letter
In this day and age of text messages, chat and e-mail, following the proper letter format may seem strange and mundane. However, having a properly-constructed letter is crucial when conducting business affairs, and it won’t hurt to have good writing skills as well. Here’s how to write both formal and informal letters.
How to Write a Formal Letter
- Your Address. Your address should be the first thing you write first, affixed at the upper right hand corner of the page.
- Recipient’s Address. Leave a space after the last line of your address and put the recipient’s address on the slightly-lower left side of the paper.
- Date. Put a space after the recipient’s address and write the date when the letter was written. You can align the date either on left or the right side of the page.
- Salutation. Generally speaking, salutations in formal letters are restricted to three forms. It can be
- Dear Sir: or Dear Ma’am:
- Sir: or Madame:
- To Whom It May Concern:
- Subject: Some formal letters require a subject header on prior to the first paragraph, especially if the letter is in response to another letter. It should be aligned to the left, and typically in boldface.
- First Paragraph: The first paragraph should be the introduction and the purpose of your letter. The letter can be about an inquiry, a response to a letter, a complaint or a request.
- Middle Paragraphs. The paragraphs following the first must then be the details of your letter. Make sure that your writing is formal, concise and organized. Do not use abbreviations and observe the acceptable grammar used in formal documents.
- Last Paragraph. The last paragraph should contain what action you expect of the recipient, whether the letter be for information, for compliance or for reference.
- Closing: For formal letters, “Very truly yours,” “Yours,” and “Sincerely yours,” are adequate to end the letter. Don’t forget to follow with your full name and a space above it to affix your signature.
- Abbreviation. At the tail end of the letter, there are abbreviations used to indicate other information with the letter. These are:
- ASAP: As soon as possible
- CC: Carbon copy. This means you copy furnished the exact letter to another person. Don’t forget to include the name of the person.
- ENC: Enclosure. This means that there are other papers or documents along with the letter.
- RSVP: Please reply. This stresses the letters need for the recipient to reply.
- PP: Per Procuratione. A phrase that means that you are signing for someone else’s behalf, on the occasion that they cannot sign it themselves.
How to Write an Informal Letter
- Your Address. Written at the upper right hand of the letter.
- Recipient’s Address. Written after your address with a left-hand alignment.
- Date. The date the letter was written.
- Salutation. You can write any salutation you like, but the most common are: “Dear Mary,” or simply “Mary,” depending on how friendly and close you are with the recipient.
- First Paragraph. It’s usually polite to start your letter with asking how the recipient is doing, asking for current details on the recipient’s life and activities. The first paragraph can also start as a response to a letter you received from the recipient.
- Following Paragraphs. Since this is an informal letter, you don’t have to follow rules, but it helps to be organized. Don’t forget to ask your recipient to write back in the last paragraph.
The Letter Envelope
- Write the name of the recipient and his or her address on the middle part of the envelope. Print in large letters, and make the address as detailed as possible.
- Write your name and your address on the upper left hand corner of the envelope.
- Paste the stamps on the upper right hand corner of the envelope.