When writing a formal letter you must take into account the following:


Layout (this is how the letter is set out on the page)

1 Write your address in the top right-hand corner

2 Write the date below your address leaving a gap of one line

3 Write the name and address of the person you are writing to starting below the date and aligned to the left

4 Start your letter with Dear Sir/Madam if you donīt know the personīs name or Dear Mr/Miss/Ms/Mrs and their Surname

5 Then write your letter using a new paragraph for each main point

6 Finish with Yours faithfully if you donīt know the personīs name or Yours sincerely if you know their name,

7 Then write your signature below and also print your name below

Tips :

Use Dear Sir/Madam and Yours faithfully if you donīt know the personīs name

Never write your name before your address

Write the house or flat number first followed by the name of the street (using capitals for both the name and street)

If you are enclosing something with the letter write enc or encs (plural) below your printed name)

In the main contents of the letter always give the reason for writing first. Then use a new paragraph for each separate point.


Style of Language

It is important to get the tone and style of language right in a formal letter.

Donīt use contractions for example write "do not" instead of" donīt."

Be polite even if itīs a letter of complaint.

Try to be clear and donīt include extra details unless it is necessary


There are different types of formal letters in English. You need to think about what you want to achieve by writing your letter.

Is it a letter of enquiry?A letter of complaint? Of application? or a letter of apology?


Example of an application letter.

22 Brown Street
N22 5ZT

23rd May 2005

The Director
The English School
12 Bridge Street
L30 6NN

Dear Sir/Madam,

I would like to apply for the post of Summer Course Co-ordinator as advertised in The Daily News on Tuesday 20th May.

With regard to your requirements I believe that I am a suitable candidate for this post as I have 5 years teaching experience in England and France. I am available to work from June to September.

I would be grateful if you could send me further details and an application form.

I Look forward to hearing from you

Yours faithfully

Jane Smith
Jane Smith