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Formal Letter Writing Guide- 15 Top Tips | Letter Press

July 15, 2015

Top Tips to Master the Practice Formal Letter Writing

In this modern era where instant communications can take place in the blink of an eye, many forms of letter writing communication seem to fall away. With emailing being so easy, text and instant messaging being so… well instant, and social media so visible, writing styles have changed rapidly in relation to the type of communication and who’s reading it.

The art of formal letter writing might in fact be dead, however a good, well presented, hand written letter is now seen as special with all the ‘noise’ of communication out there. A personal letter makes people sit up and listen when they receive a letter pressed envelope through the post.

But how do you write such an important letter? And what is the structure of a properly laid out letter? We have put together a handy letter-writing checklist to guide you through the art of writing formal letters.

Structure of Formal Letters- 15 Check Points

  1. Always use good quality stationary and write on white, ivory or cream letter paper. This will give the recipient the feeling of quality and that your letter is of importance to them.
  2. If you are not using headed paper, ensure your full address is written in the top right hand corner of the letter. This step can be skipped if you are already using personalised headed paper that includes your address and contact details.
  3. Write the date of your letter in full in the right hand side underneath your address. Write the date in full i.e. 1st January 2015 not 01/01/2015
  4. Write a small plan before you write on your beautiful personal writing paper and think about what you need to communicate and the tone of writing before you begin.
  5. Write your greeting on the left hand side of the paper. Different greetings can be used, such as, “Dear" followed by the person's name. If you are writing a very formal letter and you don’t know whom you are writing to use "Dear Sirs," If it is a more informal letter and you know who you are writing to you can always be far more casual and use "Hello …", or even "Hi …".
  6. Always finish the greeting with a comma.
  7. The initial paragraph of your letter should be concise and explain why you are writing. You should also summarise the purpose of your letter and write in a clear, polite manner so that the reader knows what is to come.
  8. The main body of content should be the most important part containing most of the relevant information. Keep it informative, polite but concise otherwise you may loose the attention of your intended reader.
  9. The last and closing paragraph of your formal letter needs to indicate the type and style of response you want and when you want a response by. Make sure that the addressee knows what the intended action is.
  10. Conclude your letter with an appropriate farewell on the left hand side of the page.
  11. Take care when handwriting your letter to ensure that that there are no spelling and grammar error. Your writing needs to be neat and easy to read.
  12. Use “Yours Sincerely” when you know who are writing to and use “Yours Faithfully” when you don’t know the name of your recipient.
  13. Sign and print your name underneath the farewell on the left hand side.
  14. Centre align the address on your envelope. Take care that the address is spelt correctly and that it is legible.
  15. If you’re sending your letter by post, never decorate the front of the envelope, as it may never actually arrive. Be sure to write your address on the back on the envelope in case it cannot be delivered and needs to be returned to sender.

For my information on the art of letter writing and to find the perfect formal writing paper visit The Letter Press of Cirencester where all stationary is traditionally printed with techniques combined with contemporary designs and classic alike.

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