What is a formal letter?
The formal letter is a document whose content refers to an institutional, business, labor, political, financial, academic topic , among others, in which formal and cordial language is used.
The formal letter is a correspondence that is customary to make in those cases where you want to make a request, a recommendation, a presentation, a thank you, a claim, a resignation or disclose specific information of interest.
In this sense, the formal letter complies with certain elements and characteristics that differentiate it from the informal letter or other types of written communications. Likewise, its structure consists of three basic parts, which are the heading, the presentation of information and the dismissal.
The formal letter allows communication between two people who generally do not know each other, which is why emphasis is placed on the care of the writing, the presentation of ideas, the use of cordial, respectful and formal language, and other elements.
Therefore, in this type of letter, spelling errors, erasures, blots, illegible letters, the use of postscripts, avoiding a late response, among others, are avoided.
Elements of the formal letter
The formal letter has a series of elements that must be respected in order for it to fulfill its communicative function and generate a response to such information. Below are the main elements of the formal letter.
- Letterhead: sender information consisting of the phone number, address, email, among others.
- Recipient’s name: person to whom the letter is addressed.
- Place and date of the moment in which the letter is written.
- Greeting or heading: it is written using the formulas of courtesy and respect, and it precedes the subject of the letter.
- Subject or brief introduction about the reason for the letter.
- Body of the message: it is the most important part of the letter because the reasons for it are exposed and developed.
- Farewell: it consists of a paragraph in which the main idea is closed and a cordial farewell.
- Signature: the sender’s name and title are placed.
Characteristics of the formal letter
The characteristics of the formal letter are summarized in the presentation of a coherent, brief, respectful information that fulfills the function of transmitting a clear message.
- Formal, simple and clear language is used.
- Courtesy formulas apply.
- The content is short and precise (details of little relevance are not offered).
- Complete and necessary information is exposed.
- Ideas are presented in order of importance, with short and consistent paragraphs.
- Generally, these letters are addressed to unknown persons.