Formal Letter Writing Convention

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The article explains the conventions to be followed while writing a formal letter. The structure of the letter should be clear and concise and colloquialisms should be avoided. The letter should include the sender’s address on the top right-hand side and the recipient’s address on the left-hand side along with the name of the recipient. The date should be written in full format on the right-hand side below the sender’s address. The salutation should be appropriately selected based on whether the recipient’s name is known or unknown. The letter should end with Yours faithfully if the recipient’s name is unknown and Yours sincerely if the recipient’s name is known. The sender’s signature should be included followed by their printed name.

Table of Content

There are a number of conventions that should be adhered to when producing a formal letter. It is important that the overall structure is as clear and concise as possible and that you avoid the use of colloquialisms.


  • Your Address the top right-hand section
  • The Address of the person you are writing to beneath your address on the left-hand side of your letter, remember to include the name of the person that you are writing to. (If known)

Date: n the right-hand side of the page on the line beneath your address and should be written in full format: e. g. 1st January 2012

Salutation & Greeting:

  • Dear Sirs, If you do not know the name of the person that you are writing to, use the greeting “Dear Sirs,”. In some circumstances it is useful to find a name, especially if you are writing to make a request as this will show that you have done your homework and your letter is more likely to receive a response.
  • Dear Mr Jones, If you know the name, use one of the following titles: Mr – for a male Mrs – for a married female Miss – for an unmarried female Ms – for a female whose status is unknown or would prefer to remain anonymous  Dr – for a person with the status of a doctor This should be followed by the surname only (not the first name).

Concluding a Letter:

  • Yours faithfully, If you do not know the name of the person, end the letter with “Yours faithfully,”
  • Yours sincerely, If you know the name of the person, end the letter with “Yours sincerely,”
  • Your signature Sign your name, then print it underneath the signature.

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Formal Letter Writing Convention. (2016, Oct 07). Retrieved from

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