Letter writing still has a sentimentality about it that transcends all other
forms of communication, and this is probably why some people stick to
it even though they could use other means.
When we write a Formal or informal letters we divide it into three parts:
Introduction, here we greet the person and state the reason we are
Main body, when we develop the subject.
Conclusion, closing remarks.
This is the skeleton of the complete letter.
Address and date: This should go on the right hand corner.
Salutation: The most common salutation in an informal letter is
Note that it is followed by a comma.
However, some go extremely informal and use “Hey!” or “Hi!”
Paragraphs; the first one usually expresses greetings followed by
wishes and good health.
Points to consider:
-Use informal language
-Ask questions; it is always a good idea to ask questions in the body of
the letter that you would like the person to answer in their reply.
Questions work as a good base on which to write a letter, and they
give the recipient motivation to reply.
Complimentary Close Up: This is where you sign of.
Post Script: Use P.S. to add a short message after the complimentary
close. Use it especially to write down something that you may have
forgotten in the body of the letter.
This is the skeleton of the complete letter.
Place and date
Dear …,(your friend’s first name)
Paragraph 1- reason for writing
(include country or city you are at)
paragraph 4- closing remarks
Best wishes/With love/ etc.
………………… (your first name)
In English there are a number of conventions that should be used
when writing a formal or business letter. Furthermore, you try to write
as simply and as clearly as possible, and not to make the letter longer
than necessary. Remember not to use informal language like
Salutation or greeting:
Dear Sir or Madam,
If you do not know the name of the person you are writing to, use this.
It is always advisable to try to find out a name.
Dear Mr. Jenkins,
If you know the name, use the title (Mr., Mrs., Miss or Ms, Dr, etc.) and
the surname only. If you are writing to a woman and do not know if she
uses Mrs. or Miss, you can use Ms, which is for married and single
Ending a letter:
1) Yours faithfully/ yours sincerely
2) Your signature
Sign your name, then print the signature underneath. If you think the
person you are writing to might not know whether you are male of
female, put you title in brackets after your name.
The first paragraph should be short and state the purpose of the letter-
to make an enquiry, complain, request something, etc.
The paragraph or paragraphs in the middle of the letter should contain
the relevant information behind the writing of the letter. Most letters in
English are not very long, so keep the information to the essentials and
concentrate on organizing it in a clear and logical manner rather than
expanding too much.
The last paragraph of a formal letter should state what action you
expect the recipient to take- to refund, send you information, etc.
When we write an invitation letter, we divide it into four paragraphs.
In the introduction we greet our friend and state the reason of writing (
invite the person to the event).
In the second and third paragraphs we write details about the event
(what we have done so far, what we are planning to do etc.).
In the conclusion we ask the person to let us know if he/she can come,
say we hope to see him/her, etc..
TO WRITE A LETTER ACCEPTING OR REFUSING
In the introduction we thank the person who has sent us the invitation.
In the second paragraph, we:
i) Accept the invitation, here we make comments about the event,
ask questions, offer help etc.
ii) Refusing the invitation, here we give the reasons why we cannot
We write a complain letter when we want to let someone know that we
are not ok with certain things. (the service in a restaurant or hotel,
something we have bought etc…)
Here in the introduction we say what/who we are complaining about
In the main body we state our complaints and give examples and
reasons to support them. We use a separate paragraph for each topic.
It can consist of one or more paragraphs, depending on the number of
specific complaints we have.
In the conclusion we state what action we expect to be taken.
The tone of our letter must be polite and we should never be rude.
JOB APPLICATION LETTER
In the introduction we give the reason of the letter, give the title of the
post and say where we saw the advertisement for the position.
In the second paragraph we give a brief profile of ourselves and
mention our qualifications (degrees, certificates, languages we speak,
In the third paragraph we provide details of our past work experience.
In the fourth paragraph we mention any personal qualities we consider
important for the job.
In the conclusion we write our closing remarks (we mention that we
enclose a CV, and that we are available for an interview).
Compilation elaborated by: A. Verónica Hernández Monzón
Evans, V. & Dooley, J.(1999) Targets 3. Express Publishing.