Standard phrases used in formal letters
A formal letter must always begin by addressing the recipient. Common ways of addressing people are:
Dear Principal (This style is preferred when you know the designation of the person you are writing to.)
Dear Sir / Dear Madam / Dear Sir or Madam (This is used when you do not know the name or designation of the person you are writing to.)
Dear Ms. Hopkins (Use Ms. for women if you do not know whether she is married or not. If you are certain that she is married, use Mrs. If you are certain that she is unmarried, you may use Miss.)
Dear Mathews (Use this if the person you are writing to is a close business contact.)Note
If it is possible, write to a specific person. For example, a letter that begins Dear Mr. Mathews may yield better results than one that begins Dear Sir.
Body of the letter
Begin the letter by making a reference to a conversation you have already had with the recipient of your letter. If yours is the first letter in a conversation, start by providing the reason for writing.
Standard phrases are:
With reference to your letter of January 3rd
With reference to your advertisement in the Times of India dated 12th December, 2011
With reference to your phone call today
With reference to the telephonic conversation we had yesterday
The Reason for Writing
Standard phrases used are:
I am writing this letter to inquire about ---
I am writing this letter to inform you that ---
I am writing this letter to apologize for ---
I am writing this letter to confirm that ---
I am writing this letter to apply for---
Examples are given below
I am writing to inquire about the job vacancy advertised in the Hindustan Times of January 5th.
I am writing this letter to apologize for the delay in shipping your order placed on December 19th, 2011.
I am writing to confirm the shipment details of your order placed on ---
Call for action
You have now explained the reason for writing your letter. The next step is to state the specific purpose - what you want to achieve by writing - of your letter.
Standard phrases are:
I would be grateful if you could ---
Could you possibly ---
Thank you for taking the time to read my letter.
Thanks for your time.
Thank you for your consideration
Feel free to write if you have any questions.
Feel free to contact us again if we can help in any way.
Call for future action
We look forward to hearing from you soon.
We look forward to seeing you next week.
I am enclosing ---
Please find enclosed ---
Enclosed you will find ---
Sections in this article
Business letter writing tips
How to Write an Apology Letter
Business Apology Letter Sample I
Personal Apology Letter Sample I
Email writing tips
How to write a cover letter
How to write a letter of enquiry
Formal letter writing basics
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