Letters are written documents used to convey certain messages to people. They are either business related or friendly. Depending on the nature of the letter you use the full block format or the indented format.
business letter has either of the two letter formats while a personal related letter uses the indented format. The format is given in detail below.
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.
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 on which the letter was written. The format of the letter should be month, day, year and it should not be abbreviated like e.g. April 3, 2010 .Skip 3 lines and type the receiver’s address.
The name of the recipient should begin the address if it is known. The title of the person should follow that.(this usually stands for the 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 for 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 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 the 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 itself. 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 letters. They are different from the full block format because the addresses 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 sender’s 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.
In writing friendly letters the salutation changes because the letter is not formal. You use ‘hi’ depending on your relationship. And the closing you can either use ‘regards’, ‘kind regards’ depending on what you feel.