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How to Write an Official Letter


Official letters are a form of communicating in education, business and any other formal relationships. Writing an official letter is not a hard thing to do, as all you need is to follow a set of very specific and clear rules. The most important thing is the proper structure of the letter, but you should also make sure the language you use is formal. Abbreviations and nicknames are not allowed. You also need to write the letter concisely and without including any unnecessary information.

Place the names and addresses of the sender and recipient. Write your name, surname and address in the top right corner of the page. Your name and surname should be in the same line, followed by your street, city, state and zip code in a column under them. Write the name and address of the person who the letter is indented for in the same manner, on the left side of the page. Position their name about 2 inches lower than yours.

Write the date. An official letter has to have a date, to indicate exactly when it was written. Place the date under your address. There should be one return between your address and the date.

Address the recipient of the letter in a proper manner. If you don't know who the letter is for, address them with "Dear Sir or Madam." If you know who you are writing to, address the recipient by the surname and place the title "Mr.," "Mrs." or "Ms." in front of the surname. There should always be a comma at the end of the address.

Write the body. Move one return under the address and begin the body with a capital letter. First, introduce the reasons why you are writing, then explain the situation or problem and finally specify what kind of reaction you expect from the person who received the letter. Divide specific points you are making in the letter into separate paragraphs.

Sign the letter. Move one return below the body of the letter. If you don't know who the letter is for, you must sign of the letter with "Yours Faithfully," and if you know the name you finish with "Yours Sincerely." The sign off always ends with a comma.

Include your signature. Leave about 3 inches of space between the sign off and your typed signature. Write your first name first and family name second. If you have a tittle, put it in brackets and write it in front of the first name. Your handwritten signature goes between the sign of and the printed signature.

About the Author

Lucy Natek started writing in 2004. Her work has appeared in publications such as "Sketchbook," "Kismet," "In*tandem" and "Rahha" and on websites such as Dia, Fashion Students Online and Haus Digital. Natek holds a master's degree in political science and international relations from the University of Ljubljana.

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