Grammar, Writing

Introduction to Formal Letter Writing

by VIDYANAND

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What is a Formal Letter? 

Formal letters are letters used mainly for impersonal discourses. They are used while communicating with officials or associates with whom the writer does not share a personal relation. These letters can be recognised by their tone which is often a combination of politeness and formality and their short length.


Format OF A Formal Letter

Sender’s Address 
____________________ 
____________________ 
Date: (DD/MM/YYYY) 
 
 
Recipient’s Name,_________  
Designation & ____________ 
Address_________________ 
________________________ 
  
Subject: (One short sentence stating the purpose of the letter.) 
 
Salutation, (E.g.: Dear …,) 
Introduction: (Begin by introducing yourself and the purpose of writing the letter.)________________________ 
____________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________ 
  
Body Paragraph: (Explain the situation in detail listing factual information needed to validate your point.) 
_________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________ 
 
Conclusion: (End the letter by restating your request or an assurance, whichever is the case.)_____________ 
 ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________ 
 
Thanking you. 
Complimentary Ending:  
(E.g.: Yours sincerely/faithfully,) 
Sender’s Signature 
Sender’s Name 
Sender’s Designation 

Points to Remember

  • The date when the letter is written is extremely important as these letters are often saved for further reference.
  • Use of modal auxiliaries implies the forcefulness of your request even while maintaining the polite tone.
  • Contact details could also include email addresses and phone numbers, especially where a reply is requested.

Types of Formal Letters

These letters can be broadly classified into three wide categories:

  • Business letters
  • Letters to officials 
  • Letters to newspapers

Tips for Writing a Formal Letter

  • The subject should address the prime purpose of the letter.
  • The letter should begin by discussing the matter at hand stated in the subject. 
  • The letter should be concise and to the point by avoiding unnecessary details.
  • Complex professional jargon should be avoided where simple language is sufficient.
  • It is important to maintain a polite yet professional tone throughout the letter.
  • Cross-checking for spelling or grammatical errors is always helpful.

examples of Informal Letters

Example 1 Letter requesting for break time extension

Rohit Vare

B/205, Vivekanand Society

S.V. Road

Mahim, Mumbai 400 028 

5th January 2015

The Principal

Modal High School

S.V. Road

Mahim, Mumbai 400 028 

Subject: Request for an extension in break time Dear Sir,

 With due respect, I, Rohit Vare, studying in Class 9 B would like to request you to consider extending the break time from fifteen minutes to thirty minutes. 

Since many of our parents bring us lunch from home, it becomes difficult to go to the entrance to fetch it and finish eating it on time. We are therefore often late for the next lesson and are punished for the same. Also, it is the only time we get to practise for the annual day celebration. This extension will also allow us to play on the school grounds and prevent us from becoming mere book worms. Your understanding in this regard will be greatly appreciated.

Thanking you

Yours faithfully,

Rohit Vare


Example 2 Letter placing order of books

Priya Joshi

Bhageshwar Bhavan

Gokhale Road

Mahim, Mumbai 400 016

4th January 2015 

The Bookseller

Nitin Book Publishing Company

P.R. Street

Mahim, Mumbai 400 016 

Subject: An order for books

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am in need of a few books that are available at your publishing house. I would be extremely grateful if you could send them to me at your earliest. Also, kindly ensure that all of them are of the latest edition.

The books which I need are

  1. A Critical History of English Literature by David Daiches 1 Copy
  2. The Glossary of Literary Words by M. H. Abrams 1 Copy
  3. The Short Oxford History of English Literature by Andrew Sanders 1 Copy

I am willing to pay the delivery charges incurred by you for posting the books to me.

In anticipation of your reply, I remain,

Yours faithfully,

Priya Joshi


Example 3 Letter for exemption from payment of donation

Shashi Pandey

New Public High School,

Panvel 544 001

12th June 2015

The Secretary

Veeranna Gowda Trust

Panvel 544 001

Subject: Request for exemption from payment of donation

Dear Sir,

 I am writing this letter to request you to exempt me from paying the donation fee. I am studying in Class 8 and scored 95% in Semester I. I also scored 90% in Class 7. 

My father works as an attendant in the local post office and his salary is the only means of income of my family which contains seven members. Moreover, we live in a rented house. After paying the rents and the medical bills of my mother, there is hardly any money left for food. Therefore, it is impossible for me to pay the donation of Rs 30,000/- demanded by the institution. 

I assure you that I will pay the amount after I complete my education and find a job. Kindly take my request into consideration and do the needful. 

In anticipation of your reply, I remain,

Yours faithfully,

Shashi Pandey


Example 4 Letter requesting for information of courses

Shiv Swaroop 

M. K. Institute of Science and Medicine

2nd Road, Ratan Nagar

Andheri East, Mumbai 400 015

5th May 2015 

Mahesh Pawar

B/205, Jayant Society

Orient Cross Road

Pali Hill, Bandra

Mumbai 200 022

Subject: Comprehensive information of courses

Dear Mahesh,

 I write this letter on behalf of the Department of Pharmacy at M. K. Institute of Science and Medicine to which your letter dated 20th April 2015 was addressed.

 I would like to inform you that our institute offers degree, diploma and certificate courses in most fields of science. We currently offer:

  1. Three-year degree courses in 
    1. Computer Science
    1. Botany
    1. Pharmacy 
    1. Paramedic Science
    1. Ayurveda
    1. Homeopathy 
  2. Two-year diploma courses in 
    1. Computer Hardware 
    1. Health Care Management
    1. Hospital Assistance 
  3. Certificate courses in
    1. Earth Science
    1. Teaching Elementary School Science
    1. Life Science 

The courses stretch from two months to three years. Additional information regarding the eligibility for admission and course syllabus is available in the prospectus of the institute and the institute’s web site. Please refer to www.m.k.instofsciandmed.com for the same.

You will need to provide copies of your previously achieved mark sheets to be eligible for the courses. You can contact the general office for admission-related queries. 

I hope this letter provides you with the information you were seeking.

Yours truly,

Shiv Swaroop 

Head of Department (Pharmacy)


Example 5 Letter requesting information

Arvind Rathod

15, Madhur Milan

Linking Road

Bandra, Mumbai 200 070

14th April 2015

The Manager

XYZ Learning

Vadia Building

L. J. Road 

Khar (W) 

Mumbai 200 077

Subject: Request for information

Dear Sir,

 With reference to your advertisement printed in today’s newspaper, I, the father of Sagar Rathod, request you to send me a brochure with the relevant details.

My son has passed Class IX and is currently in Class X. I have been on the lookout for the best assistance for his current academic year. Your advertisement appears very promising; however, I would like to take a closer look at your brochure before making my final decision. 

As you understand that this is a critical year for my child I request you to send me the details at the earliest.

I await your reply. Thank you.

Yours truly,

Arvind Rathod


Example 6 Letter for duplicate school leaving certificate

Anuja R. Patil

15/B Sunita Apartments 

Kurla West

Mumbai 400 085

7th June 2015 

The Principal 

M. K. High School 

Off Lokhande Marg 

Mumbai 400 080

Subject: Application for duplicate school leaving certificate

Dear Ma’am,

 I, the undersigned ex-student of your reputed school, request you to grant me a duplicate copy of my school leaving certificate. I misplaced my original certificate awhile ago, and I am in urgent need of it for my further education. 

  I was a student of the 2006–2007 batch. My school roll number then was 52, and I was in Division B. My hall ticket number was A400152. I am enclosing a photocopy of my marksheet for your convenience. 

 Kindly give me the document as soon as possible as its absence is causing hindrance in my admission process. I am ready to pay any charges applicable for the same.

Thanking you,

Yours sincerely,

Anuja R. Patil


Example 7 Letter confirming participation in Cleanliness Drive

Komal Gala

New Era High School

15th Road, 

Sion, Mumbai 400 005

16th September 2015 

The Municipal Authorities

Head Municipal Office

Sion, Mumbai 400 017

Subject: Participation in Cleanliness Drive

Dear Sir,

 On behalf of my classmates and other students of New Era High School, I would like to express our wish to assist you in the Cleanliness Drive your organized.

 The Principal and teachers of our school informed us of this drive and encouraged us to participate in it. I am proud to say that your endeavour has not gone unnoticed. On the contrary, they have proved to be extremely inspirational and encouraging. Asking people to contribute in their own small ways to such social causes makes people feel a sense of belonging and responsibility. When a person puts in his own time and energy to nurture the place he lives in, he begins to recognise its value and appreciate it. If every person in this country does his part in keeping his neighbourhood clean, we will save a lot of money and manpower which can in turn be put to better use for the development of our country. 

 We the students of New Era High School would like to contribute to this noble cause and will encourage our friends and families as well to do the same. We are grateful for this opportunity we received to serve the land which provides for and nurtures us at all times.

Thanking you,

Yours sincerely,

Komal Gala


Example 8 Letter requesting admission

Dilip Naik 

17/B, Praful Society

15th Street, Off Hill Road

Bandra, Mumbai 400 006

3rd August 2015

The Principal

St. Mary Girls High School

M. M. Chautany Marg 

Mahim, Mumbai 400 018

Subject: Request for admission

Dear Ma’am,

           I, the undersigned, am a parent of Pooja Naik. I request you to grant her admission to your school. 

Prior to this, my daughter was studying in Class 6 at Jain Society High School at Kolkata. Because of my transfer here to Mumbai, my entire family had to move here with me. 

We therefore request you to grant her admission to your school. I am enclosing a copy of her previous year’s marksheet, school leaving certificate and transfer certificate for your reference.

             Kindly consider my request and grant her admission. In anticipation of your reply, I remain,

Yours truly,

Dilip Naik 


Example 9 Letter for subject change

Roshni Irani 

Std. VI, Div. B, Roll No. 45

M. I. K. Government High School

15th June 2015 

The Principal 

M. I. K. Government High School maintained 

C. E. Society Marg

Oshiwara, Mumbai 400 011

Subject: Application for Subject Change

Dear Sir,

 I am a student of your school currently studying in Standard VI. Kindly grant me permission to switch one of my subjects. I wish to take up French instead of Hindi. 

 Since I do not have a background in Hindi, I find it very difficult to grasp it. I have been trying my level best to catch up with the teacher’s explanations for the past one year but am unable to excel in it. This has also resulted in a decline in my overall percentage. I understand that I will have to work hard as French is a new subject, but I am ready to take up the challenge. My language teachers have already explained to me the pros and cons of this decision, and I have discussed the same with my parents too. We all feel that taking up French is the best option for me at this juncture. 

 I therefore request you to consider my application and grant me your permission to give up Hindi and study French instead.

Thanking you,

Yours faithfully,

Roshni Irani 


Example 10 Letter requesting for extra classes

Shweta P. Rai

Std. IX, Div D 

Modal High School

Vikhroli 

The Principal

Modal High School

L. K. Jhah Marg

Vikhroli Mumbai 420 001

Subject: Extra classes to complete portion

Dear Ma’am,

 I am the class leader of Std. IX Div D and would like to bring to your notice a serious matter.  Since the sudden illness of Miss Kamat, our class has been lagging in the completion of the History portion. You may be aware that we did not have history periods for a long time after Miss Kamat left. The new teacher who is appointed to substitute her has begun by going back to all the topics which we were already taught. Therefore, in all probability, we will not finish the entire portion before the exams. Since the dates of the final exams were declared, all of us are under a lot of pressure. 

I request you to look into the matter and make the necessary arrangements. If need be, all of us are even willing to attend extra classes after school.  In anticipation of your response, I remain,

Yours sincerely,

Shweta P. Rai