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TOPIC 6: WRITING FORMAL LETTERS
Formal letters are used un business, transaction letters, letters to news paper, order letters, application letters and request letter just to mention a few.
Principles of Writing Formal Letters
1. Follow the prescribed format of writing formal or official letters.
2. Use simple language to enhance understanding of the message.
3. Avoid informal language and slang.
4. Avoid vague or emotional words that may provoke or make an addressee angry.
5. Be polite and show respect to the addressee.
6. Describe the purpose objectively.
7. Provide all necessary information precisely. Be direct to the point and avoid giving your personal information.
8. Make sure you provide true and researched information and not hearsay or rumours.
9. Proof read your letter before sending it to the addressee.
Major Parts of Formal Letters
1. Senders address and date(all words must start with capital letters in an address).
2. Addressee address below reference number.
3. U.F.S; if it has to be signed by a certain officer/person for forwarding.
4. Salutation i.e. Sir/Madame (Salutation must start immediately after the margin line).
5. The introductory sentence.
6. Purpose application.
7. Closing remarks like; yours sincerely.
9. Full name.
10. Title if you have one.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
The editor plays a vital role in making critical analysis of all letters before they are published and read by the public through newspapers, magazines, or any other appropriate media. Letters which are sent to the news papers are always addressed to the editor, the proper form of salutation is Sir/Madame and rarely dear sir though in some circumstances you can address the editor as dear Sir/Madame
Sir/Madame it is high time steps should be taken to all private schools on student’s time management. Most of them are over working the students by the preparation of a timetable which is not giving a student time to rest, for example in a certain school instead of periods having 40 minutes for a single period and 80 minutes for doubles, it 1 hour and two hours instead and no of periods are still the same.
I hope the public, parents and government as education stakeholders can make changes through this writing.
WRITING BUSINESS TRANSACTION LETTERS
Every company, large or small, relies heavily on the business letter to keep the organisation running smoothly. Business letters ask for and give information, order goods and services, request appointments, make complaints, and deal with all routine matters. Although telephone calls have their place in the business world, letters have several important advantages:
1. Letters provide a permanent, written record.
2. Letters are like written promises and clearly indicate who is responsible.
3. Letters allow busy people to send and receive information when it is convenient for them.
4. Letters allow time to think about and research a topic or situation before writing or responding.
5. Letters allow the reader the chance to reread and review complicated material as often as necessary.
Characteristics of a Business Letter
1. A business letter should be brief, concise, clear, courteous and tactful. To get the best letters possible, use the writing process. Start by focusing on your purpose for writing the letter and the results you want from it. Think about your reader’s needs.
2. Prepare an outline or plan. It doesn’t have to be more than a few scribbles on a scrap of paper that list the points you want to be sure to include.
3. Write a rough draft of the letter and allow a “cooling off” period before you revise it. Business letters are not a place to vent your anger, but rather a way for you to present a reasoned and logical argument.
4. Revise the letter by arranging the details effectively and reworking sentences and paragraphs until your message is as brief and clear as possible.
5. Check the mechanics of your writing and prepare the letter for mailing. Knowing how to write a correct and effective business letter is one of the best skills any employee can have, no matter what his/her work assignment is.
Parts of a Business Letter
1. The introduction, the body, and the conclusion. The introduction consists of the heading (the sender’s return address)
2. Date (the month, day, year on which the letter was prepared)
3. Inside address (the name and address of the receiver)
4. Salutation (a greeting like Dear Ms.)
5. The body of the letter contains the message the writer needs to
6. Conclusion consists of a complimentary closing (like Yours truly or Sincerely)
7. Signature (sender’s name written in pen)
How to Write a Business Letter
A business letter, unlike a friendly letter must have a heading.
On the first line, write your apartment number, postal box, rural route number, and your street address1 (whatever applies to your address).
The second line gives your city, town, or village, and the province name, and postal code 2.
On the third line, write the month, the day and the year you are writing the letter. Never write your name as part of the heading of a letter.
The addressee address is placed at the left margin, two spaces below the heading and contains the receiver’s full name, title, and address.
The salutation is placed two spaces below the inside address. If you don’t know the person use his/her full name and title in the salutation. If you do know him/her well, you would use his/her full name and title in the inside address and his/her first name in the salutation. In situation where you don’t know whether the reader is male or female, you may find something like Dear Customer Service Representative or Attention: Billing Department suitable.
The body of the letter is, of course, what the letter is all about. It begins two spaces below the salutation. You should single space within paragraphs and double space between them. The body of many business letters contains three paragraphs (although they don’t all have to have five sentences). The first paragraph should state the problem or situation clearly. The second paragraph should explain in specific detail the reason for writing. The third and final paragraph should make a specific request for action and close with courtesy. Here’s a sample body.
The conclusion of all letters is a brief phrase showing respect called the. Complimentary closing which is placed two spaces below the body. Only the first Word of this closing is capitalised. Four or five spaces below this, the writer’s typed Signature (and title, if appropriate) should appear. The sender of the letter should write his/her signature between the complimentary closing and the typed signature.
17th april, 2007
Habari Leo Magazine
Dar es Salaam
Dear Sir or Madam
I would like to place a personal advertisement in your newspaper on the 20th June 2005. Please find enclosed my advertisement and also a cheque covering the cost.
Please contact me at my above address if you have any queries or you can phone me at 0774232212