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Written a letter

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August 29, 2019 Anniversary Wishes For Parents 2 comments

Block format is typically used for business letters. In block format, the entire text is left aligned and single spaced. The exception to the single spacing is a double.

It’s always important to format formal letters correctly. They’re often being sent to professionals so your tone, style and wording are your chance to make a good impression.

What constitutes a formal letter? Formal letters are commonplace when sending business correspondence, contacting an individual you are yet to build a relationship with and scenarios where you’re trying to emit professionalism, such as job applications. If you’re struggling to decide, imagine meeting this person and think about how you would act. Would you shake their hand or pump their fist? If in doubt, format the first letter formally and use their response to guide how you continue to communicate.

Click here to download our free formal letter template.

How to format the top of a formal letter:

Top right: your details in this order

  • Full name and title
  • Job title
  • Full address
  • Today's date

     a. Use the full date without abbreviations i.e. October 3rd 2018

      a. Avoid using email addresses that aren’t professional i.e. [email protected]

Left-hand side: recipients details in this order

  • Full name and title
  • Company or organisation
  • Full address

Introductory line

  • Dear
  • Recipients title (when applicable)
  • Recipients full name
Tip: If you don’t know the recipient’s name, write ‘Dear Sir or Madam’.

Formatting the body of your letter:

Opening paragraph

Use your opening paragraph to introduce yourself and your reason for writing the letter. It’s crucial that your message is direct and underlines why you’re contacting the recipient. Consider this paragraph as a direct way to capture their attention.

Main body

Use this space to delve into the issues raised in the opening paragraph. Give more detail of what you’re offering or asking of the recipient, backed up by relevant information. Consider this paragraph as an exploration of the points raised in the opening paragraph.

Closing statement

Ensure that you include a closing statement that thanks the recipient for their time, knowledge or help with the discussed points. It’s good practice to include a line such as ‘please contact me at your earliest convenience’ to show your interest in communication and readiness to act.

Signing off

Signing off at the end of your letter is one of your last opportunities to make an impression. Depending on your relationship and reason for writing to the recipient, there are several options available to you. If in doubt, picture yourself as the recipient, how would you like to be addressed?

Very formal

These options are acceptable when you’re contacting someone for the first time or you’re discussing a serious issue.

  1. Yours sincerely
  2. Yours respectfully
  3. Yours truly
  4. Yours faithfully - appropriate if you don’t know the recipient’s name


These options would still be acceptable when contacting someone for the first time but demonstrate a friendlier tone.

  1. Kindest regards
  2. Kind regards
  3. Yours appreciatively

Relaxed formal

Once you’ve established a relationship with the recipient, there is no need to maintain a formal tone (unless you’re discussing a serious issue).

  1. Warm regards
  2. Best wishes
  3. With regards
  4. Thank you
  5. Best


Including your signature at the end of a formal letter displays professionalism. You can either do your signature by hand after printing the letter, or use this tool to create your digital signature.

What to avoid when you’re writing a formal letter

  1. Spelling and grammatical errors. Grammarly is a free tool you can use to proofread your work.
  2. Using contractions, i.e. ‘i’m’ should read ‘I am’. ‘That’s’ should read ‘that is’.
  3. Including unnecessary information.
  4. Making the same point multiple times
  5. Overcomplicated language, i.e. ‘the issues highlighted are indicative of future failings’ could read ‘I believe these issues will lead to a problem’.

Download our free formal letter template:

Microsoft Word Template

Letter-writing is the exchange of written or printed messages. Examples of different kinds of letters and observations on letter writing are.

Letter Writing Quotes

written a letter

Block format is typically used for business letters. 

In block format, the entire text is left aligned and single spaced. The exception to the single spacing is a double space between paragraphs (instead of indents for paragraphs).

An example block style letter is shown below and can be linked to in our eBook, The AMA Handbook of Business Writing, page 455.

Another sample block-style letter is provided below from the eBook Everyday Letters for Busy People. (Click on the link to the left or the image below to go directly to this section in the eBook!) Note: Your block letter will likely not include the "Account Number" line, "Attention: Customer Service Manager", or "Receipt enclosed".

If you have been asked to complete a project in both block style and APA style, ask your instructor for clarification. It is likely that s/he wants you to cite your sources using APA style and format the letter using block style.

*APA does use block quotations for quotes of 40 or more words, but this is something entirely different from block letter format. If you need information about block quotations, NOT block letters, visit: http://rasmussen.libanswers.com/faq/32569


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How to Write a Letter

written a letter

Writing a Letter

Let's tackle how to write a letter in proper order, from top to bottom. These steps will mostly be directed toward a formal letter. The good news is that an informal letter is even easier. You can dial back or remove a few of the elements we're about to discuss when writing an informal letter.

  1. To start, place your full address -- including your full name, street address, city, state, and zip code -- in the upper left-hand corner.

  2. Skip a line and include the date.

  3. Skip a line and place the recipient's full address. Here, you'll want to include the company name, the recipient's name and title, and mailing address.

  4. Skip one more line to insert the greeting. This is called the salutation. In a formal letter, you can use a generic, "To whom it may concern:" or, "Dear Mr. Henry:" Formal letters tend to require a colon after the greeting, and informal letters take a comma.

  5. Skip a line and begin the letter. In the body of your letter, separate your thoughts into paragraphs. You never want to draft one big block of text. For each new set of thoughts or ideas, begin a new paragraph.

  6. Skip one of your final lines to include a complimentary close. The closing can be as simple as, "Sincerely," "Yours truly," or "Gratefully." This should end with a comma.

  7. Skip three lines (where you'll insert your handwritten signature), and type your full name. You may also include your title on the next line.

  8. If you're including any attachments with your letter, skip one more line and type "Enclosure." If there's more than one attachment, indicate how many there are in parentheses, as in "Enclosure (4)."

For a few more pointers, check out our article on Business Communication Letter Writing.

A Few More Writing Tips

With this general formula in mind, let's review a few final tips before we take a look at a sample letter:

  • Know your audience. Only use technical terms or jargon if you are sure the reader will understand.

  • Be clear and to the point. Do not write two pages if one will do. Leave out unnecessary details. As you re-read your letter for accuracy, ask yourself if anything in there is unnecessary information.

  • Remain professional. Do not include any threats or slander in your letter, even if you are writing a complaint letter or a letter of resignation.

Sample Letter

Keeping the above formula and tips in mind, here's a sample letter that illustrates each section. Below the sample text here, you will find a fully editable PDF that you can use as a template for drafting your own letter.

Abigail LeJeune
Branding Ambassadors, Inc.
4568 Highway One
Makeup, CA 12709

September 14, 2019

Mr. David Henry
Chief Marketing Officer
Consulate of Branding
328 Plainway Road
San Samon, CA 12808

Dear Mr. Henry:

This past weekend, I met one of your staff members, Cody Abercorn. He was manning your company's booth at the Cincinnati Trade Show. Since our booths were adjacent to one another, we had the opportunity to get to know each other rather well.

I must say, his professionalism and welcoming attitude toward your visitors was highly encouraging. Visitors were welcomed into your company's booth as if they were entering his home for a Friday evening dinner party. Every guest became a fast friend. Beyond that, they left the booth highly informed on your product line.

How often do we receive congratulatory letters, in a sea full of complaint letters? I wanted to make sure you began your week with a highly complimentary letter. I would say you spend a lot of time training your staff and Cody has certainly reaped those rewards.

As President and CEO of my own marketing firm, Branding Ambassadors, I wonder if you might consider teaming Cody up with us for a social media marketing campaign? Perhaps we can partner up on a short campaign where we sponsor one another in two to three posts.

With over 1.5 million followers, I believe we can join together and support each other's endeavors very effectively. What do you say? Will we take over the Internet and create a marketing movement that is mutually beneficial to our growing companies?

Thank you for your time!


[Signature here]

Abigail LeJeune
President and CEO

View & Download PDF

Types of Letters

Letters can be either informal or formal. An informal letter doesn't need to abide by all the above standards. That is, they don't require a formal address at the top and "To whom it may concern" in the greeting. Rather, you can get straight to a "Dear Mary" greeting.

Informal letters can also indulge in slang or colloquialisms. Typically, in business or professional reports, we steer clear of contractions. You might want to hold formal letters to the same standard. Informal letters, however, can loosen up a little with contractions and other forms of "loose" writing.

As for formal letters, cover letters will be an important part of your life. Informal or personal letters may come in the form of email today, but the premise remains the same.

Cover Letters

To learn how to write a letter to accompany your resume, you'll need to use a standard business format.

  • Your one-page letter should consist of approximately three body paragraphs.

  • The first paragraph explains why you are writing, what position you want, and why you want it.

  • The second outlines why you are the best person for the job and summarizes your skills and experience.

  • The closing paragraph mentions your resume and asks for an interview. You need to be strong and upbeat in this paragraph so the reader will want to interview you. Thank the person for his time and include contact information.

For more, here's how to Write a Creative Cover Letter.

Personal Letters

It is also important for everyone to know how to write a letter of a personal nature. Personal letters are not as formal as business letters and can be handwritten or typed.

  • Feel free to include the date in the upper left-hand corner of your letter.

  • Jump straight to an informal salutation, ending with a comma in lieu of a colon.

  • In the body, the first paragraph is usually an introduction and a summary of the reason you are writing.

  • The next paragraphs go into more detail.

  • The closing paragraph summarizes what you've had to say. You may want to thank the recipient or ask questions.

  • The closing comes after two skipped lines and can also be informal.

If you want to add a P.S. or P.P.S. to your personal letter, just skip a line and start the P.S. on the left hand side of the paper.

Written Communication Skills

Written communication is an important skill to list on a resume. And, in order to include that, letter writing should be in your wheelhouse. For other important attributes, check out the Best skills to list on a resume. There, we'll explore soft skills, such as adaptability and creativity, and hard skills, such as computer programming and web design.

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The physical heft of a letter gives the communication a psychological weight that email and texts just don't have. Take out your pad and paper.

FREE Sample Letter Templates & Guides

written a letter

How to write a formal letter

●      Writer’s address should be in the top right-hand corner

●      Date should be written below writer’s address

●      Recipient’s name and address below that on the left-hand side

●      Use the correct opening (Dear Sir / Madam, Dear Mrs Ferguson, etc)

●      Use Standard English

●      Opening sentence should explain the purpose of the letter

●      Each paragraph should make single specific point

●      Use an appropriate formal tone and register in the wording of the letter

●      Avoid contractions, slang, and abbreviations

●      Concluding ‘action point’ paragraph states what you want the recipient to do

●      Formal ending, such as Yours Sincerely or Yours Faithfully

A Note on Salutations

If the student knows the intended recipient’s name, start with Dear Mr. / Mrs Surname and end with Yours Sincerely. If they don’t know the recipient’s name, start with Dear Sir / Madam and end with Yours Faithfully.

Use of Rhetorical Devices

As mentioned, formal letter writing focuses on attempting to convince someone to take some course of action or other. To do this it is helpful to employ some rhetorical devices to make the writing more persuasive. Some useful techniques to encourage your students to employ include:

Direct Address: Using the pronoun ‘you’ in a formal letter makes the reader feel that you are speaking directly to them. This helps to engage the reader and encourage them to continue reading the letter.

Emotive Language: Where students are trying to convince the reader to take a course of action, the use of emotive language can often be a powerful tool. Students can use either positive or negative colored words to create the desired response in the reader.

Facts and Figures: Another way to persuade and convince is to employ facts and figures to support the points made in the letter.

Common Features of Informal Letters:

WATCH THE VIDEO ON THEME: Write the letter A - Alphabet Writing lesson for children - The Singing Walrus

Letter-writing is the exchange of written or printed messages. Examples of different kinds of letters and observations on letter writing are.

written a letter
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