How To Write Formal /Official /Business Letters

Formal letters are also known as business or official letters. They are usually written to public organizations, government offices, the press, business firms and letters of application for employment.

The language and tone of formal letters are supposed to be formal as well as impersonal or non -personal. This is because the letter is being sent to an official position.

PARTS OF FORMAL/ OFFICIAL/ BUSINESS LETTERS

✅ ADDRESS OF THE WRITER AND DATE.
✅ ADDRESS OF THE RECIPIENT
✅A FORMAL SALUTATION
✅ TITLE/HEADING
✅INTRODUCTION
✅BODY/ MAIN BODY
✅ CONCLUSION
✅ A FORMAL SUBSCRIPTION
✅ SIGNATURE AND FULL NAME WRITTEN UNDER IT

How To Write Formal/Official/Business Letters

✔️ ADDRESS AND DATE
Two addresses are required in formal letters. The writer's address and the recipient's address. The writer's address should be at the top right hand corner.

The styles of address are:

i. block/straight
ii. slanted/indented

The punctuation styles:
i. punctuated
ii. unpunctuated

Examples of the writer's address

BLOCK/STRAIGHT(PUNCTUATED)

Asanteman Senior High School,
Post Office Box 3776,
Suame, Kumasi.

9th March 2021.

SLANTED/INDENTED (UNPUNCTUATED)

Wesley Girls Senior High School
      Post Office Box 82
          Cape-Coast, Ghana.

9th March 2021.

NB: The date is not a part of the address; hence it should be punctuated.

✔️ RECIPIENT'S ADDRESS
This address is often written at the top left side . It always shows designation of the office.
Examples

✅The Headmaster,
✅The District Chief Executive,
✅The Director,
✅The Minister,
✅The Chairman, 

The Headmaster,
Asanteman Senior High,
Post Office Box 3776,
Suame, Kumasi.

NB: DON'T ADD A DATE TO THE RECIPIENT'S ADDRESS.

The Minister,
Ministry of Finance,
Post Office Box 33,
Accra, Ghana.

✔️ SALUTATION
Use the following greetings for formal letters: Dear Sir, or Dear Madam, ( You use Sir for editors of newspapers too).

✔️THE HEADING/TITLE
Any official letter must have a heading or title. The heading is supposed to be a summary of the subject matter or theme of the letter. The title always comes below the salutation.

NB: It should be written in block capitals. I will be posting one question which happens to be last year's WASSCE question. It's going to serve as a summary of what we have learnt here before we move on.

Question: As the senior prefect of your school, write a letter to your principal, explaining to him the reasons why your school should take part in sporting activities. (WASSCE 2020)

NOW LET'S EXAMINE THE QUESTION ABOVE

WRITER'S ADDRESS

Asanteman Senior High School,
Post Office Box 3776,
Suame, Kumasi.

9th March 2021.

RECIPIENT'S ADDRESS

The Principal,
Asanteman Senior High,
Post Office Box 3776,
Suame, Kumasi.

Dear Sir,✅
         Dear Sir, ❌

HEADING
It should start from where the comma ends in the salutation.

REASONS WHY MY SCHOOL SHOULD TAKE PART IN SPORTING ACTIVITIES

NB: Kindly desist from ending the heading with a  FULLSTOP.

✔️ LET'S CONTINUE WITH THE BODY OF A FORMAL/ OFFICIAL/ BUSINESS LETTER.

✅ The body of a formal letter, like any other letter, should be arranged logically in paragraphs.

✅ Each paragraph must contain a single idea well explained.

✅ The use of acceptable connectives should be used; e.g., Firstly, Secondly, Moreover, Furthermore, In addition to, Finally etc.)

❌Avoid these (To start the ball rolling, To begin with, In a nutshell)

✅ After  the connective, every word that follows should begin with a small letter.

Example:  Firstly, drug✅Drug❌ abuse is one of the causes of teenage pregnancy.

✅ The use of a topic sentence must be encouraged. A  topic sentence is a  sentence that expresses the main idea of the paragraph in which it occurs.

Let's look at this example.

If the question was on the causes of teenage pregnancy, it's going to be like this.

Firstly, drug abuse is one of the causes of teenage pregnancy.✅

Firstly, drug abuse.❌

That's the difference✅

Therefore, Our connective is the Firstly, our point is the drug abuse, and our topic sentence is one of the causes of teenage pregnancy.

✅ Some contracted forms of words (aren't, won't, couldn't, haven't etc.) and colloquialisms must all be avoided in formal letters.

The tone or the language should be formal as well as impersonal (non-personal).

✅ The use of polite words must be encouraged.

For Example:

Can❌ Could✅

Shall❌ Should✅

Will ❌ Would✅

THAT'S ALL FOR THE BODY OF A FORMAL/OFFICIAL/ BUSINESS LETTER.

✔️ CONCLUSION OF A FORMAL/OFFICIAL/ BUSINESS LETTER

✅It is imperative to conclude your letter or essay always. A good conclusion will make the recipient feel like wishing to read more from you.

✅ Your conclusion should be in just one paragraph, and it should be a summary of what the body entails or talks about.

✅ If the question demands a solution to a certain problem, you can add it up.

Now let's look at this.👇

✅Introduction (1 paragraph)

✅Body(3 paragraphs or more, not less)

✅Conclusion (1 paragraph)

✔️FORMAL SUBSCRIPTION, SIGNATURE AND FULL NAME WRITTEN UNDER IT

✅ The subscription comes just after the last word of  the letter. For formal letters, it should be Yours faithfully.

Yours faithfully,✅
Your's faithfully,❌
Yours' faithfully,❌
Yours faithfuly,❌
Yours faithful,❌

✅ You are reminded that only the first word in a subscription is capitalized.

✔️ SIGNATURE AND FULL NAME

✅ The writer's signature follows the subscription. Then comes the writer's full name.

Yours faithfully,
..............
Jeffery Boahen.


Yours faithfully,
 ...............
David Amewornu.


Yours faithfully,
...............
Stallone Clarks.


Yours faithfully,
.............
Mary Boateng.


Yours faithfully,
..............
Agnes Yeboah.

Yours faithfully,
.................
Misty Joe.


© Jeffery Boahen.
(Tutor, Asanteman Senior High)

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