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How to write a letter?

You write a formal letter when you have an official matter. You need to write a formal letter in several cases: If you want to apply for a job, you write a cover letter. In your job, you then write a business letter. You can also send notice of termination or complaints in the form of a letter. A formal letter always has a fixed letterhead structure, subject line, salutation, letter text, greeting and signature. 

How do you write a formal letter?

There are a few things you need to consider when writing a letter. For example, you should always create a note on the computer and print it out. But there are also specific guidelines on how you should design the letterhead or label the envelope. Here you can see step by step how to proceed. 

I am writing a formal letter – letterhead.

At the top right of the page should be the place and date the letter was written. 

At the top left is the sender with the full address. So you write your street and house number, the zip code and the city. It is also often helpful to provide your phone number and email address.

Below that, after 2-3 blank lines, you will find the recipient and address.

Write a formal letter – subject line and salutation

Now you leave 2-3 lines again. The subject follows below. Here you can summarize in a few words what your concern is. 

Write a letter – example subject: Application for an internship at the Meier & Co. chocolate factory.

The salutation follows after 2-3 more blank lines. 

  • If you do not know the recipient of your letter, write Dear Sir or Madam, …
  • But if you know the recipient’s name, speak to him directly: Dear Ms Müller, … / Dear Mr Huber, …

Letter text

These tips will help you when writing the text of the letter:

  • Write factually. This means that you are only describing the facts without evaluating them. 
  • Be polite. To do this, you use the polite form “you”. This is how you address a person you don’t know. It would help to capitalise on them in all cases  ( you, you, yours, yours … ).
  • Your official letter must be error-free before you send it off. 

Write a formal letter – greeting and signature.

At the end of the formal letter, there is a polite greeting. 

Official letter – example greeting: Yours sincerely …

Underneath, you sign your first and last name by hand.

Write a formal letter – label the envelope.

When your letter is ready, you fold it up and put it in an envelope . Now all you have to do is address the letter: 

  • Postage stamp: The appropriate postage stamp belongs in the upper right corner. 
  • Sender : The sender’s name and address are on the top left. 
  • Recipient : The recipient’s name and address come to the bottom right.

Letter template

You can use this sample letter as a template for your formal letters.

Also read: how to get rid of a stomach ache

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