There are two main formats that are used in formal letters.
The letter is either written in full block format or the semi-block (indented) format.
The Full Block Format
It is the easiest of the two and is the most used format in business letters.
This format is left aligned that is the addresses and the closing.
- This is your address that is written and aligned in the left side of the page. But the address is not needed if the letter contains the letterhead of the company. Skip a line and type the date.
- This is the date in which the letter was written. The format of the letter should be month, day, year and it should not be abbreviated that is e.g. April 3, 2010 .skip 3 lines and type the receivers address.
- The name of the recipient should begin the address that is if it is known. The title of the person should follow after that (this usually stand in as name when the name is not known) include the company’s name.
You should use “dear Mr. /Ms (name of the receiver specifically the last one) or “dear director (name of the department). You could use “to whom is may concern” if the name is unknown.
This is optional but it is good the recipient to know what the letter is about.
This is where you could include all the details of the letter, your reason.
The paragraphs should be separated by a line and in good font.
There should be a difference of one line between the body and the closing.
You could use any complementary closing but it usually ends with “sincerely”. Skip 3-4 lines after the close and include your name, signature which should be in blue or black. And include your title.
This is where you show the attached document if you have any.
Your letter should contain the word ‘enclosure’ to show there is another document attached.
You could include your initials and the person who typed the document (if you did not do it yourself).
You type your initials in upper case and the person who typed initials in lower case.
Punctuation Of The Letter
The address should be well punctuated; the commas should follow each line of the address except the last line.
The salutation should have a full colon after it. The complementary close should have a comma after it and the first letter of it should be capitalized.
The semi-block letter format (indented)
This format is usually used in friendly letters, but also they are widely used in business letter.
They are different from the full block format because the address are indented and also the paragraphs. They are also called the modified semi –block format.
The format includes everything in the full block format except in the alignment.
The senders address, the closing, the signature and your name are right aligned are they are indented and the paragraphs are also indented.
In semi-block format, the salutation is followed by a comma, not a full colon.