How To Write A Formal Letter
You need to know how to write a formal letter, or a business letter, if you want to be able to contact other professionals. Learning to write a formal letter is a skill you'll need, even in this age of email and electronic communication. A formal letter is composed of several parts, the addresses, dates, salutation, body and closing. Remember to be polite when writing a formal letter. Use the person's title and last name and check your letter over for spelling and grammar before sending. Everything in the letter should be justified on the left side.
To write a formal letter, you will need:
- Computer with word processing software
- Open your word processing program. Type your address on the top of the page. You don't need to include your name in the address, as that will go below, in the closing. Skip the address if you're using a pre-printed letter and instead enter enough spaces to allow for the letterhead.
- Add the date. Put one hard return between the sender's address and the date. The date line is usually about two inches from the top of the page. Use Month, date, year for the date. For example, January 14, 2011, not 1/14/2011.
- Type in the recipients' address five rows or one inch, below the date on the formal letter. Include their full name, street address, city, state and zip code if you are sending in the United States and other important mailing details if you are mailing in a different country. Make use you use "Mr.," "Mrs.," "Ms." or "Dr." to address the person.
- Enter the salutation two rows below the recipient's address. Type the word "Dear" followed by the person's title and last name. Only use the first name if it's a person you know personally. Place a colon after the name. In the case of ambiguous names, such as "Lynn" or "Kim", be on the safe side and use the first and last name instead of a title and the last name.
- Press enter and type the body one row below the salutation. Do not indent each new paragraph. Instead, leave a blank line between each paragraph. Keep your letter short and to the point.
- Add the closing. Type "Sincerely," or "Thank you," then enter four hard returns so that there is room for your signature. The closing should line up with the date line on a formal letter.Type your full name. If you are attaching anything to the letter, type "Enclosures" below your name. If someone else is typing the letter for you, have them type your intials in all caps followed by a forward slash and their initials in lowercase letters.