A Guide on How to Write an Official Letter

writing an official letter

The Importance of Learning How to Write an Official Letter

Whether you will write an official letter, an email or any types of formal letters, it is important that you ensure that your letter writing is going to solicit the response that you are after. Learning how to write an official letter that is going to be effective is not as simple as many think and you will have to work hard at it to ensure that you have the right skills for writing an official letter.

Elements of Official Letter Writing

When writing an official letter of some type the are several elements that you must take into consideration. These include:
  • Official letter writing format: Concerns the structure and layout of the official letter. Essentially, the same format is used as when writing business letters. However, your address will be displayed on the right as opposed to the left, with the date located under your address.
  • Official letter writing conventions: The generally accepted way of writing certain parts of your official letter. Conventions will include the location of your address (top right), an address of who you are writing (left side slightly lower than your address), date in a full format just beneath your address, salutations and closings
  • The content of your official letter: Information you include in the letter
  • Introductory Paragraph: The introductory paragraph should be concise and should clearly state the purpose of the letter which will be either to make a complaint, make an inquiry or to request something.
  • Main Body: The main body should clearly state the points that you want to make. It should also be concise but provides more detail than the introduction
  • Concluding Paragraph: Outlines the specific action you want the recipient to take

Reviewing official letter writing samples will help you get a better grasp of the format of the official letter.

Tips to Help You with Writing an Official Letter

Writing an official letter

The official letter is one of the more difficult types of letter writing you will encounter. The following are some basic writing tips that you should keep in mind when writing official letters:

  • Address your letter correctly: There are numerous types of letters, formal letters need to be correctly addressed and that means ensuring that you provide both the recipients and your names and addresses at the top of the paper in a formal manner. You also have to ensure that you address the person correctly. This should be done using “dear,” followed by their name. If you are not sure of their sex then use their full name otherwise use their title (Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms., or even Dr.) followed by their full name or surname. For any other title such as professor, this should be spelled out fully.
  • Understand your intentions: Every letter has a reason and you need to ensure that you are completely clear as to your intentions in writing the letter. You also have to be clear as to what action you expect from the recipient. Make some clear notes before you start as to what your letter is about.
  • Get straight to the point: Make sure that the first paragraph of your letter states the reason for the letter clearly and concisely so that the reader immediately knows what the letter is about. Excessively long greetings and explanations can lose the attention of the reader before they even know what you want of them.
  • Make it clear what you are looking for: The main body of your letter should only be 2-3 paragraphs and should clearly explain the purpose of the letter and what you expect from the reader. These paragraphs like your first should be clear and to the point without filler and irrelevant information. Finish with a conclusion that summarizes the issues and the expected actions.
  • Avoid all errors within your writing: Edit your letter and proofread it very carefully so that you can be sure that it is completely free of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. You cannot rely on your computer to catch all issues; often the best way to proofread your work is to read it aloud and record it. You will often find far more errors with regards to your punctuation and grammar by doing this.

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