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How To Write A Formal Letter

Formal letter writing

Imagine you want to apply for an internship, or want to become a member of a prestigious library. In both these cases, you will have to write a formal letter to the concerned authority. Now, most of you had probably learned how to write a formal letter back in school. And yet, you may feel confused when you get down to writing such a letter.

The rules of custom writing formal letters are often trickier than that of informal letters. This is why students become puzzled while writing them. However, you can leave your issues on writing formal letters behind after reading this elaborate guide. Let’s dive in.

What is a formal letter?

A formal letter is presented in a ceremonious and formal language and maintains a stipulated format. These letters are written for official purposes to dignitaries, authorities, seniors, colleagues, etc.

Even though most of our formal communication is carried out through emails these days, there are still different reasons you might need to write a formal letter. These could include questioning a decision, making a complaint, making a travel reservation, or writing to an employer to apply for a job or work experience.

Whatever your reason is for writing a formal letter, you should maintain the right impression. You can also check the plagiarism of the your formal letter with online plagiarism checking tool.

How to write a formal letter

Step 1: Start with the sender’s address

When writing a formal letter, the sender’s address and phone number are presented on the top left-hand side of a page. Write down your street address on the second line. Incorporate your city, state, and zip code on the line below that. Include your number under your address. In case you don't know the phone number, you can skip it.

If you represent a business, add your logo and address right in the middle of the page. Keep them to the center so that it looks uniform.

Here’s an example of how the sender’s address is written.

Sygnus Systems, Inc.

8076 Brewerton Street,

Queens, NY - 114205

Step 2: Add the date

You need to include the date right below the sender’s address. The date is vital for two reasons: if you're trying to get an individual or organization to act on time (fix any electronic appliances, send a paycheck, etc.), it will allow them a time frame.

Similarly, if you need to keep a copy of the letter for legal reasons or posterity, mentioning the date is mandatory.

Sygnus Systems, Inc.

8076 Brewerton Street,

Queens, NY - 114205

20th May 2020

Step 3: Write down the recipient’s name and address

Include the recipient’s name beneath the date after a little gap. Add his/her title (Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss, or Dr.). The recipient's name has to be followed by his/her designation. Below the designation, mention the name of the company he or she represents. After a gap, include the recipient’s street address. On the next line, write the recipient’s city, state, and zip code.

If you aren’t aware of the recipient’s title, carry out some background research or call the organization to find out. 

Mr. William Scott

Senior recruiting manager

Pearson Technologies Limited

3021 East Ave,

Central Square, NY 13038

Step 4: Choose an appropriate salutation

The salutation is a crucial indicator of respect, and how you use it will depend on whether you know the individual to whom you're writing. You can consider the following options-

  • Add a "To Whom It May Concern" if you don't know who you should address your letter to.
  • If you don’t know the recipient well, use "Dear Sir/Madam."
  • You may also indicate the recipient's title and last name, e.g., "Dear Dr. Fuller."

Step 5: Write the body of the letter

The main body of the formal letter shouldn’t be more than three paragraphs. Also, make sure that you use a single space and left justify each paragraph within the body.

In the first paragraph, begin with a general opening sentence and then state the reason for writing the letter. Get to the point quickly. In the second paragraph, use examples to emphasize on your purpose. In the final paragraph, briefly summarize your objective and suggest how you might want to proceed further.

Step 6: Conclude appropriately

Sign off your formal letter with the proper salutation. Leave a little space after your salutation and then include your signature. "Yours sincerely," "Best regards" are all appropriate, in this case.

Carefully conclude your formal letter with your designation underneath your signature, if applicable.

Step 7: Edit the letter thoroughly

You shouldn’t ignore the presentation of your formal letter. See to it that the recipient can decipher that you're capable of and in charge of editing your letter for errors. Use the spellcheck on your word processor, and read the letter thoroughly before you send it across.

Ask yourself whether the letter is concise and clear. Check whether any paragraph is more than three or four sentences long. If so, find out whether you can eliminate unnecessary statements.

Simple tips and tricks to write a formal letter

You may find these formal letter writing tips and tricks quite useful if you have any confusion over how to write a formal letter or essay writing.  

  • Understand the purpose of writing the letter.
  • Know who your recipient is.
  • Keep the body of your letter to the point.
  • The tone of your letter should be professional and formal.
  • Use personal pronouns and active voice while writing the letter.
  • Try not to use too eloquent language and keep the message simple.
  • Be courteous even when you’re raising a grievance.

Types of formal letter 

Formal letters can be categorized into different types depending on the purpose of writing the letter. Some of these different types of formal letters are mentioned below.

  • Letters of complaint

Many people write letters of complaint to raise a grievance against offering faulty products or poor service. A complaint letter must be written carefully to make sure that it’sfirm but also polite so that it doesn’t put off the reader. The letter of complaint must also explain what you are looking for as compensation.

  • Reference letter

It’s rather common for college or university students to ask their teachers to write a letter of reference for employment or college admission. Reference letters often boost your CV and increase your chances of getting hired in organizations. These letters often elaborate on the students' general strengths and provide reasons why they would be perfect for any college or job.

  • Cover letter

Most job applications should be accompanied by a well-written and concise cover letter for CVs. Writing these cover letters increase your chances of being selected for an interview by the employers. A well-written cover letter should touch uponwhy you are the best fit for a particular job.

  • Inquiry letters

These inquiry letters are written to gather more information about a product or service. While writing this type of formal letter, you need to explain clearly what information you are seeking. You may also ask for further details in the form of brochures, catalogs, etc.

  • Resignation letter

When you are leaving a job, it's essential to make sure that you don’t burn any bridges or alienate anyone that you have worked with. Considering that you may want to work with them again at some point in the future, a well-written letter of resignation will allow you to maintain good relations.

  • Letter of interest

A letter of interest is ideally sent to organizations that you are interested in working for when they are not currently advertising any jobs within your area of interest. These can be extremely effective if written impeccably as they indicate initiative and a drive to succeed. To put it simply, this letter expresses your wish to interact with a hiring manager to know about opportunities available to you.

  • Thank You letters

A letter expressing gratitude can be tricky to write often because of its brevity. Yet Thank You letters are an excellent way to develop good relationships in the professional sphere.

A brief idea on how to write a formal letter heading

Many people believe that a subject line or a heading isn't vital in a formal letter. However, using a subject line in your formal letter allows the reader to know what your letter is about immediately.  

The content of a heading or subject line should be short and on point. Common instances of information provided in the subject lines include a reference number related to an order, a number connected with a specific case file, or a date and a corresponding event. Ensure that the subject lines aren’t lengthy, as they will distract your recipient from the body of your letter. It's very important to give a proper outline to the formal letter or any essay/application paper.

Formal letter format and example

Check out this formal letter format to gain a perspective on how to present this type of letter accurately.

Here is a formal letter example that you can take note of.

8076 Liberty Street,

Queens, NY – 114210

25th May 2020


Mr. William Scott

Senior recruiting manager

Pearson Technologies Limited

3021 East Ave,

Central Square, NY 13038


Subject: Applying for the position of a digital marketer

Dear Mr. Scott,

I am writing this in response to the advertisement in the Herald looking for a skilled digital marketer. After going through the requirements and job description, I firmly believe I am suitable for this job role. I am confident that I will be able to carry out my responsibilities perfectly.

I am a suitable candidate because I place a high value on personal integrity and represent both my employer and myself ethically and respectably. Also, I have five years of experience in the field of digital marketing, which will be useful to meet the bottom line of your business. Furthermore, I am a hard-working, self-motivated individual, and also an excellent team player.

You will find the details of my qualifications and contact information within the resume that I have provided along with this letter. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Fred Jones


After you follow all these steps and pay attention to the tips and tricks, you will become well-versed with writing the formal letters. You also need to make sure that you devote enough time to practicing the format efficiently.

Ask our writers to prepare brilliant formal letters any time

Whether you wish to submit a reference letter or want to write a cover letter to go with your resume, it requires you to be familiar with formal letter writing. If you don’t have clarity about what goes into a formal letter, you can hire our writers to work for you. They are perfectly acquainted with all the steps of writing a brilliant formal letter. No matter which formal letter writing topics or essay topics you want them to cover, they’ll never disappoint you.

These writers are always mindful of following the requirements provided by you. They will never miss out on any detail while writing the letter. Apart from formal letters, our experts are well-versed in preparing different types of academic assignments, some of which include-

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 Bella Phillips
Bella Phillips

Bella Phillips As a passionate blogger for Essay Help USA by #1 Writing Expert 50% Off.I am currently employed at a leading Business Law firm in White Plains. I am associated with for several years and helping the Law students with their essays.

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