What are the features of a letter?
There are lots of different things to remember when writing a letter. A formal letter has a standard layout and conventions that should be followed. Here are the features of a letter:
1. Layout - including address and date
The address of the sender should be written in the top-right corner of the page. This is so the receiver of the letter knows the address to reply to.
The date that you write the letter should be written beneath the address of the sender.
The recepient's address should be below both the senders address and the date but on the left hand side of the page.
2. Who are you writing to?
The way you write this part of the letter depends on whether you know the person you are writing to. If the sender knows the person they are writing the letter to, they should write their name e.g. Dear Mr. C. Brown.
If the sender does not know the person/people they should write Dear Sir/Madam.
A comma should be used after this introduction e.g.
- Dear Mr C. Brown,
- Dear Sir/Madam,
3. Beginning the letter
The opening sentence of a letter needs to get to the point and state why the letter is being written. Here are some examples of how you might start a formal letter:
- I am writing to complain about...
- I am writing to apply for the position of...
- I am writing to say thank you for...
It is important that the sender avoids using too much casual or chatty language. Formal language should be used.
The aim is to sound business like. However, it should not feel cold but should be warm and friendly to read.
Each point made needs to have its own paragraph.
Using paragraphs as a structure helps the recepient understand the points being made in the letter.
6. Closing statement
At the end of the letter, the sender should restate the main point of the letter.
7. Closing the letter
If the sender knows the person, they should use 'Yours sincerely'.
If the sender does not know the person, they should use 'Yours faithfully'.