Typical informal contexts are writing to family members, relatives and friends, love letters, and people that we know well.
Structure of a Personal Letter
1. Date – This is the date when the letter is written
2. Greetings and Name of Recipient – The greeting usually starts with the word ‘Dear’ followed by the given name of the recipient or relationship and it endswith a comma. Two examples are shown: ‘Dear Ronald,’ ‘Dear Uncle,’.
3. Introduction – This is the opening of a letter. It may include greetings like ‘How are you?’. Sometimes, you may refer to a previous letter.
4. Body – This is the main body of the letter. It includes the message that the writer wants to tell the recipient. It is often divided into paragraphs.
5. Closure – This part indicatesthe letter is going to end. The writer may ask the recipient to reply here.
6. Complimentary Close – This short expression includes a few words on one line. It ends with a comma. Some examples are shown below.
‘Yours sincerely,’ ‘Best regards,’ ‘Love,’
7. Signature – the signature of the writer
Language Use in an Informal Letter
1. Formality and Accuracy – Formal and accurategrammar and spelling are expected, depending on the relationship between the writer and the recipient.
2. Style – Language use may be personal. For example, first and second person pronouns may be frequently used.
We write formal letters to people that we don’t know well, for example, a letter to local council to enquire about childcare facilities.
Rules forWriting Formal Letters in English
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 contractions.
1) Your Address
The return address should be written in the top right-handcorner of the letter.
2) The Address of the person you are writing to
The inside address should be written on the left, starting below your address.
Different people put the date on different sides of the page. You can write this on the right or the left on the line after the address you are writing to. Write the month as a word.
Salutation or greeting:
Dear Mr Jenkins,
If you knowthe 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 women.
Ending a letter:
1) Yours faithfully
If you do not know the name of the person, end the letter this way.
2) Yours sincerely
If you know the name of the person, end the letter this way.
Sign your name, then print it underneath the signature. If you think the person you are writing to might not know whether you are male or female, put you title in brackets after your name.
Content of a Formal Letter
The first paragraph should be short and state the purpose of the letter- to make an enquiry, complain, request something, etc.
The paragraph orparagraphs 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.
Letters of complaint usually include the following stages:
2. Problem - cause and effect
4. Warning (optional)
This section describes the situation; e.g.
o I am writing to inform you that the goods we ordered from your company...