How to Draft Letters

You write letters to request information, request action, provide information or describe an event, decline a request, and express appreciation.

The tips to write good letters are:-

Know when to write a formal letter.

Write a formal letter when addressing someone you only know in a professional capacity. This includes letters written to government departments or businesses, instead of a known individual. These letters should be typed, then printed. You can use any text editing software to do this, such as Microsoft Word, Open Office, or Text Edit. If the letter is urgent or the recipient prefers email, you can send an email instead.

Write your address and date at the top of the page.

Write your name and address at the top of the page, on the left. If you are writing a business letter, use the company name and address instead, or just write on company letterhead. Either way, skip two lines and write today’s date. Write out the full date. 4 November 2015 (British) or November 4, 2015 (American) are both preferable to Nov 4,2015 or 04/11/15. Skip the date when writing an email.

Write the name and address of the recipient.

Unless you’re writing an email, skip another two lines and write the contact information for the person you’re writing to. Write each of these on a separate line:

  • Full title and name
  • Company or organization name (if applicable)
  • Full address (use two or more lines, as needed)

Write the salutation.

Skip a line again, then greet the recipient with “Dear” followed by their name. You may use the last name, or the full name (first and last), but never the first name alone. Include an abbreviated professional title if applicable. If you know the job title but not the person’s name, you may write “Dear Health Inspector:” or a similar phrase. It’s usually possible to find the name with an online search, so try that first. If you don’t have a specific contact, write “Dear Sir or Madam:” or “To Whom It May concern:”. These sound a little stiff and old fashioned, so try to avoid it when possible.

Write the letter.

Formal letters should open with a clear statement of purpose. Do not use contractions (write are not instead of aren’t), and phrases questions formally (Would you be interested in…? instead of Do you want to…?). Proofread the letter for spelling and grammar when finished, or ask a friend to help you.

Use a complimentary close.

A complimentary close ends your letter on a good note and establishes a connection with the recipient. Make two hard returns after the last paragraph of the letter, then write the complimentary close. For formal letters, stick to “Sincerely yours,” “Kindest regards,” or “Best wishes.”

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