How To Write A Formal Letter? Format and Templates

In this post, we will look at how to write a formal letter.

A formal letter is written when you need to write to a company or organisation where you do not know the person to whom you are addressing. Sometimes these letters are addressed to a person of importance, who you do not know, in which case the person’s name and the title are used – ‘Dear Prime Minister May….’ 

A formal greeting > Dear Sir or Madam, Dear Sirs, Dear HR Manager

When signing off the letter, ‘Yours truly’, ‘Sincerely yours’ and ‘Yours faithfully’ would be used for semi-formal or formal letters.

Here is an example of a formal letter structure >>

Formal Letter Structure

Formal Letter Question:

Your bank has told you that they are going to increase the overdraft charges on your current account each month. You are not happy about this. Write a letter to the bank.
In your letter:
-why you are writing to them
-why do you think the charges should not have been increased
-what you want them to do

  • Write at least 150 words
  • You do not need to write any addresses
  • Begin your letter with ‘Dear…..”

TIP >> A formal letter would be written to someone that you don’t know. That is why when you start writing when you don’t know their name, you would write ‘Dear Sir/Madam….’

Formal Letter Question:

Model Answer: Formal Letter Writing

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to you because I recently received a letter from you detailing the new overdraft charges that are going to be put into place next month.

As you will be aware I have a large overdraft currently exceeding £10,000 and the new charges will make it near impossible to pay off. I have had an account with your bank for over ten years and have never seen an increase in charges, such as those presented now. 

I am aware that increased charges on large sums of money that have been borrowed are important in levying profits for your business. The increase that has been proposed of paying 5% on top of the regular amount of £350 in charges each month will become a large and difficult amount to repay.

I would, therefore, like you to write to me and explain why such a large increase has been planned. If you are unable to offer a response that is justifiable to both the bank and me, then I will have no choice but to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service. 

I await your response.
Yours faithfully,
Mr John Bell.

(Word Count – 192 / Band Score 9)

Model Answer: Formal Letter Writing

Formal Letter Sample Explanation

This letter covers the three main points in the task –
why he is writing to the bank,
why the charges should not have been increased and
what he wants them to do.

It has been clearly organised with each key point being written about in a separate paragraph.

  • Paragraph 1 – Explains why he is writing to the bank
  • Paragraph 2 – Details of why the charges should not have been increased
  • Paragraph 3 – States what he wants them to do

The tone of the letter is formal and therefore appropriate as it is being sent to a person you do not know from a business. The language used makes sure the letter is polite (Dear Sir or Madam……I am aware that……I await your response……Yours faithfully). 

There is also evidence of a range of sentence structures, no grammatical or spelling errors

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