letter writing ; 5 new excellent formats

A letter is a piece of formal or informal text containing a certain message or request. Learning English Letter writing rules is very important. We sometimes need to write an English letter in our e-mails for different purposes.

Letter writing is composed of five basic components including heading, salutation, body, complimentary close, and signature block. All of the components must be included in letter writing. Here, we are going to explain each basic part of the normal format for letter writing in detail.


The opening part of a letter is the heading. This part usually includes the address of the writer and the date of the letter writing. It does not include the writer’s name or signature.

The heading is always in the upper left-hand corner of the letter. It is located two lines up from the salutation part. It is an essential part of letter writing since it introduces the writer to the recipient.


  1. Christine Goessling

Mrs. Davis

H.S. English 3: Per. 5

May 20, 2020

  • Lockwood Middle School

300 Main Street

Lockwood, NJ 51686

January 11, 2009

  • 96 Fir Crescent

Denver, CO 80409

April 17, 2020


The second part of letter writing is greeting. The salutation of a letter is considered as the greeting; therefore, the way and words of salutation depend on the relationship between the writer and the recipient. It is located two lines up from the first sentence of a letter.

Comma and colon are used in the saluation. (Comma is used when the letter writing is formal and colon is used when the letter is informal.) In the following, there are some ways and examples for this part of letter writing.”

Dear + name, last name+ Madam+ Sir

The structure “Dear+ followed by the recipient’s given name or title” is the most common pattern of salutation in letter writing. It is better to mention the name of the recipient, but if writers can write “Dear madam or sir:” in case they do not know the name of the  letter recipient. When the recipient’s name is neutral in gender, the writer can write just the name and last name of the recipient; for example, the writer can write “Dear Taylor Johnson:”.

The writer can also address a group in his letter writing. For example, he can write ” Dear team,” in his letter to address a specific group. He can also include two names after the word “Dear…”; for example, he can use the phrase ” Dear Mr. and Mrs. Smith” in his letter writing.

To whom it may concern

The writer of a letter may sometimes do not know the name of the recipient. Therefore, he can use the above phrase, especially when he wants to inquire. The writer can also leave out the greeting part and start with the first line of his letter.


This pattern of salutation in letter writing should only be used in e_mail correspondence when the writer knows the receipt very well. So, the structure “Hello/Hi+ name” is only appropriate for casual circumstances. (“Hi” is more informal and casual than “Hello”; it is used for letter writing to very close recipients.)


One of the components of a normal letter writing is the body containing the message. The body of a letter is located two lines down from the salutation part. There is one blank line left between the paragraphs of the body.

In letter writing, the body has three parts including opening, middle, and closing. Writing each part of the body is based on certain English letter writing rules. Here, we are going to explain and illustrate the three components of the body in detail:

  1. Opening:

The opening paragraph is the introduction of the letter. In this part of letter writing, the writer expresses his intentions very briefly. He makes his reader ready to get the main point or purpose of the letter.

  • Examples of informal letter writing :

( “It has been ages since met you.”, “I am sorry to hear your father’s death. He was such a nice generous gentleman.”, “How kind of you to send me such nice flowers for my wedding day.”, and “I received your letter and I am so to learn your brother is getting married.”)

  • Examples of formal letter writing :

( “We would like to have the honor of your presence in my brother’s wedding.”, “We would be delighted to invite you to dine with us on Friday.”, and “I am writing to you to inform you that I am getting married.”)

  • Middle:

The purpose of the letter is stated in the middle paragraph of the body. The writer conveys his messages as clearly as possible in this part of letter writing. The middle part of the body itself can be made up of several paragraphs, depending on the selected type of letter writing style ( formal or informal).

  • Closing:

In this final part of letter writing, the writer briefly wraps up his statements or thoughts and ends the closing paragraph with a polite wish. He also restates the key points of his letter in other words. He let his recipient know what actions or response the writer expect him to do; for example, when the writer closes the body of his letter by the sentence ” In case of any problem, please let me know right away.”, the writer requests his reader to ask him for help as soon as any problem occurs.

  • Examples of informal letter writing :

( “I will never forget the sweet moments I spent with you and your dear family.”, “Thanks again for the beautiful flowers you sent me.”, “I am looking forward to seeing you soon.”, and “If you need any help, please let me know.”)

  • Examples of formal letter writing :

( ” Kindly acknowledge receipt of this letter.”, “For any questions on your part, do not hesitate to contact me.”, and ” I would be delighted if you respond me as soon as possible.”)

Complimentary close

This part of letter writing is located two lines down from the body of the letter. The initial letters of the complimentary close words are usually capitalized. The complimentary close must be followed by a comma in formal and informal letter writing.

Closing a letter is as important as starting the letter. It gives the recipient a positive impression of both the writer and the letter. Therefore, it is important to select one of the following appropriate respectful words or phrases:

Sincerely, Regards, Yours Truly, Yours Sincerely

Such phrases are the most popular and simplest phrases for closing a letter. They are mostly used in formal occasions of letter writing. They are also the best choice when it comes to closing a cover letter or inquiry.

Best Regards, Cordially, and Yours Respectfully

Such phrases are not used in all forms of letter writing. They are only used when the writer has some knowledge of the recipient of the letter. They sound more friendly and warm than the above phrases for closing a letter.

Warm Regards, Best Wishes, and appreciation

Such letter closings are used when the writer has some sort of knowledge or connection with the recipient of the letter. They should be used in letter writing in case they match with the contents of the letters. Such phrases give the recipients of the letters a very warm positive impression of the writer.

All in all, writers should make a very wise choice to select a good closing phrase for their letter, which matches with the content, tone, audience, and the relationship between the writer and the recipient of the letter well. In the following, there are more examples of such ending phrases or words that writers can use in their letter writing:

( Best, Cordially Yours, Thanks, Thank You, Sincerely, Warmly, With Sympathy, Fond Regards, Regards, Respectfully, Respectfully Yours, Sincerely Yours, Many Thanks, Kind Wishes, Kind Thanks, Thank You, Warm Wishes, Kind Regards, Warm Regards, Thank you for your assistance in this matter, In Appreciation, In Sympathy, Thank you for Your Time, With Appreciation, With gratitude, With Sincere Thanks, Thank You for Your Consideration, and the Thank You for Your Recommendation.)

Signature block

This section includes the writer’s signature and name. In formal English letter writing, the writer’s first name and last name must be written four spaces below the complimentary close whereas writing the writer’s first name is enough and great in informal English letter writing in the same place. In this part of letter writing, writers should sign their name by hand in the space between their name and the complementary close section of the letter.

Some writers include the titles “Mr., Mrs., Dr., Miss, etc.” their names in this part of letter writing. Adding such titles is optional. The titles are usually included in case the names of the writers can not make the writers’ sex clear enough for the recipient of the letters.

Conclusion To sum up, The normal format of letter writing is composed of five parts. There is a set of definite letter writing rules for each part under a certain ( formal or informal) circumstance. If the parts of letter writing are followed carefully, then the final product, letter, is not only effective and pleasing to the readers but also reflects a great positive impression of the writer.


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