How to write & address a formal letter

Written by juan ramirez
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How to write & address a formal letter
Perfect formal letters observe proper spacing, composition and brevity. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Learning to properly write formal letters is useful in a number of different scenarios, including asking a company for a refund, requesting information from a government organisation and filing a formal complaint to a company. Writing a formal letter is a straightforward affair in which the addresser makes his statement or puts forth his request in a candid fashion, avoiding any tangents or superfluous information. The other key to a successful formal letter is understanding proper spacing and the composition of the blocks of information.

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  1. 1

    Type your name and address on three lines in the uppermost right margin of the page. This is known as the heading. Include, underneath your address, any contact information you'd like to add, such as a phone number, fax number and/or e-mail address. Skip a line and type the date on which you're composing your letter.

  2. 2

    Type the full name of the addressee on the left margin of the page, starting one line below the line on which you started your address on the right margin. Type this person's address below his name on two lines. This is known as the inside address.

  3. 3

    Skip a line and type the salutation to the person you're addressing on the left margin under the inside address. Use the term "Dear" followed by the proper title and the person's last name only. For example: "Dear Mr. Smith" or "Dear Dr. Smith." Use the title "Ms." if you don't know whether the woman you're addressing is married or not.

  4. 4

    Skip a line after the greeting and type the first paragraph of the body on the left margin. Write the first paragraph succinctly as an introduction to the purpose of the letter, not exceeding a few sentences in length.

  5. 5

    Skip a line and type the second body paragraph. Write only the most pertinent details to expand upon your reason for writing, and only the most relevant information that the addressee needs to know.

  6. 6

    Skip a line and type the third body paragraph. Make a clear and brief statement of expectation on the part of the addressee, such as a request for information, a formal acknowledgement of complaint or reimbursement.

  7. 7

    Skip a line and type the close of the letter on the left margin. Common closing statements include "Sincerely," "Yours Sincerely" and "Yours Faithfully." Follow this closing statement with a comma.

  8. 8

    Skip three lines and type your signature line. Type your first and last name and any career titles, such as "Dr.," "Rev." or "Pvt.," before your first name. Write your signature freehand in blue or black ink in the space between your closing line and your typed signature.

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