A formal letter is a way of communicating with organizations, officials, reps, informing them of specific needs, information and existing issues. With a formal letter, one can communicate with an organization, management and expect to get a reply from such office if need be. In this material, we shall cover how to write a formal letter.
What is a Formal Letter?
Also: What is Formal Letter with Example
A formal letter (also known as an official letter), is a concise and specific document written professionally for a company, business professional or officer in an organization. Formal letter are used when issuing a complaint, applying for jobs, indicating one’s interest for a job position or expressing appreciation for someone.
When writing a formal letter, you are expected to use direct and simple sentences with an official greeting and signature appended. Unlike many other types of letter writing, writing a formal letter requires following specific structures and formats.
It is generally known that a letter which carries official messages and information is known as formal letter. Formal letters are typically written for pass various official information such as regulations, rules, procedures, actions, orders, opinions and reactions from one organization to the other, one department to the other and from one individual to the other.
How to Write a Formal Letter
Also: How a Formal Letter is Written
Below is a simple approach to writing a formal letter:
- The sender’s address is same with informal letter. You can use your home address if you do not have an official address. The sender’s address should be at the top-right side of the letter.
- The receiver’s address should be the address of the person/office you are writing to. It should look like: The Manager, Access bank, Yenagoa branch, Bayelsa State. After each comma, the next text should start in a new line when typing. See example of a formal letter below. Note however, that receiver address can take many forms unlike the type written above.
- After the receiver’s address, kindly write the word ‘sir’.
- Under ‘sir’, insert the title of your formal letter. The title of a formal letter can be confusing sometimes. If what you are writing about is not a conventional issue, you may find it hard getting a title for your letter. However, in all of it, ensure whatever title you use to be concise and should bear the main idea of the formal letter.
- The next is the main body of your letter. You will ensure you do not write too much. Do not greet anyone using the name of Christ in your letter as many do. Remove all inanities and go straight to the point. Unless otherwise needed, let your message be one paragraph only or at most, two paragraphs.
- Conclude, add salutation, your name and sign.
Tips on How to Write a Formal Letter
The following tips are useful in writing a formal letter:
- Formal letters must be concise
- Written for official purpose
- Brief and straight to the point
- Avoid inanities
- No need for too many ideas irrelevant to the purpose of writing
- Should be one A4 page only unless your peculiarities needed you to explain more or there are more information needed to be attached.
Sample of a Formal Letter
Also: What are the Example of a formal letter
Example of a formal letter
Format of a Formal Letter
Below is a sample and example of a formal letter. Take note that the sample of formal letter here is simple and straight to the point.
A & U Ng.,
20th December, 2020.
The Vice Chancellor,
Niger Delta University,
Application for Transcript
With reference to the subject matter overleaf, I Michael Jules, with Matriculation Number – UG/12/03012, of the Department of Vocational and Technology Education, Faculty of Education, Niger Delta University, hereby apply for a student copy of my transcript.
Anticipating a positive response.
How Do I Write a Formal Letter
Formal letters are easy, quick, fast and does not require any technical knowledge to complete. It is even simpler than informal letter which requires a great deal of talking and explanation. To know how to write a formal letter, kindly refer to the example above.
What is the Difference Between a Formal Letter and Official Letter
Formal letter and official letter are same thing. It is referred to as formal letter or official letter. In any case, both words are used interchangeably.
How do I End a Formal Letter?
Also: How Do You Close a Formal Letter
A formal letter ends with salutation and name of writer and signature. You can use
‘anticipating a positive response’,
‘thanks for anticipated consideration’
‘many thanks’, etc.
Then add your name at the bottom and sign on top your name when the letter is printed. Please, note that you can only use one salutation listed above.
In the body of the letter, there is no need for conclusion. Just ensure all the information the officer needs to take action on your matter are contained in your letter. Below are other ways to close your formal letters:
Types of Formal Letters
Business Letter: This is a letter written within business associates for business purposes.
Letter of Inquiry: This is a letter written to make an inquiry from an office/official.
Order Letter: This is a letter written to make an order to products, goods and services.
Promotion Letter: This is a letter notifying the recipient of his/her promotion usually at a workplace.
Attestation Letters: This is a letter written to attest that one is aware and familiar with a situation or person. The attester bears responsibility for any consequences thereoff.
Letter for Collection of Certificates: this is a letter written to notify an office that one intends to collect his/her original certificate from such office.
Circular Letter: This is a letter which announces information to members of an organization.
Employment Letters: A letter informing a person of his employment to a job.
Recommendation Letter: This is a letter written to recommend a candidate/person for a position, job, etc. This is different from attestation letter.
Any letter written to an official in whatever name can be classified as a type of formal letter.
Where Do I Sign a Formal Letter?
The conventional signature area of a formal letter is the top of the writer’s/sender’s name. The writer’s name comes after salutation – this is to say the signature area is between salutation and writer’s name. Please, refer to the example given above.
What Do I Write In A Letter
Also: What Do I Say In A Letter?
Writing a formal letter is often because there is a need. If you have nothing to write, it means there is no need in the first place. If however, something makes you attempt to write the letter, then start with the words… “I, Michael Jules, …. then describe yourself in the way you needed to be identified in the letter.
For instance, if you are a graduate of an institution, insert your matriculation number, department and faculty. Then write the purpose of your letter. As in…. I Michael Jules, a graduate of Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Bayelsa State; with Matriculation Number UG/10/2222, hereby apply for my original certificate. Thank you in anticipation of a positive response. Please, refer to the sample above.
How Do I Start A Formal Letter?
Since brevity is the main point in a formal letter, you will go straight to the point. There are however, many ways to begin a formal letter which however, is never a requirement. See examples below:
I, Michael Jules wish to….
With reference to the subject matter overleaf,…..
I wish to bring to your notice sir, that….
You are hereby informed that…..
It has been reported that…..
Please, ensure you adopt or use a line of your own that suit your purpose.
How do You Start a Letter of Request?
Also: How do You Start a Letter
A letter of request is one where a writer makes an inquiry on a particular issue of interest. There is however, no particular format in starting your letter. With the necessary credentials already put in place as seen in the example above, commence with the inquiry. Something like the example below should be enough:
I, Michael Jules, (then describe yourself if necessary. You may be a customer, prospective candidate, etc.), wish to inquire about your new product which was advertised on radio this morning. This is to guide me towards possible purchase.
I look forward to a positive response.
This should be enough. Although if there is need to describe anything, the length of your letter may then be longer.
What is the Difference Between Formal and Informal Letter?
Simply put, a formal letter is one written to officials, organizations and institutions while an informal letter is one written to friends, acquaintance, colleagues, family members, etc. They are two entirely different documents. While one is very straightforward and concise, the other can accommodate all the necessary details a friend has to write.
You can actually sit back at home and read a lovely letter from your friend. But an officer who is very busy in the office managing time may not have all the time to read your explanations. Hence, an official letter only contains main points needed to handle the need raised in the letter.
Is Sincerely Too Formal in a Letter?
The use of ‘Sincerely’ as a salutation in a letter is quite okay and not too formal. It is one of the modest way to conclude a formal letter.
How do You Say Thank You in a Formal Letter?
You can just say ‘thank you’ in a formal letter or use any from the list of concluding remarks below.
What is a Semi Formal Letter
A semi-formal letter is a letter written to someone whom you know by name but operates at the organization level. You may also have business relationships with these persons. For example, teacher, landlord, your manager, etc.
What is an Official Email?
An official email is an email written to an organization either in seeking/directing its attention or in response to a demand. You may apply for a scholarship or job and be requested to send your documents with an email letter to a particular email address. See an example of how to write an official email below.
How do You Write an Official Email?
Also: How do you start an official email?
To start an official email, it will depend on what you are writing on. You may be selling products and needed to send official email to your clients. You may also be requested to send an official email to an employing firm or to a scholarship body. In any case, focus on why you are writing.
If no receiver details was given but just the email, you may start with ‘dear admin’. Although the word ‘dear’ is not necessary in a formal setting. See the example below:
I sent this mail in response to my job application demand.
Please, find attached documents as required by your organization.
How do I Send My CV Via Email?
To send your CV via email, login to your mail. If you do not have a mail then create one. You can create a Google mail within seconds/minutes. Go to https://accounts.google.com/ to create a Google account.
Once you have created the account successfully, then click on ‘compose’. In the first tab that will pop-up, insert the receiver email. In the second tab, insert the title of your message. The title should be something the receiver can use to identify your message that it is coming from you. E.g. Michael Jules documents for job employment.
You may also be required by some firms to use specific titles. In the last bigger box, type your message. If there is no need for a message, then go straight to document upload. There is an icon that looks like a pin used to pin files – click on it.
If you cannot identify it and you are using a desktop, use your mouse to hover around the icons at the bottom of the message wizard, the names of the icons will display. Click on the one that displays ‘attach files’. This will take you to your documents in your system files. Locate your CV and double click. When back to the wizard, click send. You have successfully sent your CV via mail!
Formal Letter Writing Topics
The topic of a formal letter may depend on what you want to write about. If an organization request you to present an attestation letter on your behaviour, of course, you will have to make your formal letter topic ‘attestation letter’. So, what inspires you to want to write a formal letter? Let that be the cause of the formal letter topic.
Formal Letter Writing Samples
For a sample of a formal letter, kindly refer to the example given above. Follow the format but ensure you write according to your need.