The Correspondence Project: A Lesson of Letters

The Correspondence Project: A Lesson of Letters

  • Resources & Preparation
  • Instructional Plan
  • Related Resources

Students practice writing effective letters for a variety of real-life situations, such as responding to a prompt on a standardized test, corresponding with distant family members, or communicating with a business. They begin by reviewing the differences between business and friendly letter formats, using examples and a Venn diagram. Next, students write two letters, choosing from a list of prompts that include letters for varying audiences and purposes. After completing drafts and revisions, students complete their final versions using an online tool.

Featured Resources

Letter Generator : This online tool allows students to read about the parts of a letter. They can then write and print their own friendly or business letter. Interactive Venn Diagram : Use this online tool to organize ideas for a compare and contrast essay, or while reading to compare and contrast two works of literature.

From Theory to Practice

In Both Art and Craft: Teaching Ideas That Spark Learning , Diana Mitchell explains that teaching is "about gently uncovering ways for students to find their way into the learning by making connections within themselves" (23). Students are more likely to "find their way into learning" when assignments have clear application to real-world tasks. As Mitchell explains it, these types of assignments, "have a ‘nowness' about them; there is a reason for an importance to doing them at this point in time" (24). In addition, personal connections are made more easily when students have a degree of choice within a writing assignment. Mitchell triumphs assignments that "are fun and interesting," as well as those that "provide lots of possibilities and tap into . . . imagination" (24). In that spirit, this lesson in letter writing provides a functional application for writing and, at the same time, encourages students to make personal connections through a variety of letter topics. Further Reading

Common Core Standards

This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.

State Standards

This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.

NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts

  • 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
  • 4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
  • 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
  • 6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
  • 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
  • 11. Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.
  • 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Materials and Technology

Computers with Internet access for student use

  • Contemplating Correspondence
  • Contemplating Correspondence Key
  • Correspondence Project Prompts
  • Business and Friendly Letter Samples
  • Rubric for Correspondence Project
  • Venn Diagram


  • Review the Correspondence Project Prompts and determine the requirements for the class. Decide on the number of letters students will write as well as any letters that you will require. You may wish to choose specific prompts to ensure that students write at least one letter using business format and one using friendly format. You can also require 2 letters and allow students to choose additional letters freely.
  • Venn Diagram handout (if computer access is not available)
  • Make one copy of the Contemplating Correspondence Key for yourself.
  • Make overhead transparencies of the Business and Friendly Letter Samples and the Venn Diagram handout (needed only if computer access is not available).
  • Test the interactive  Venn Diagram and Letter Generator on your computers to familiarize yourself with the tools and ensure that you have the Flash plug-in installed. You can download the plug-in from the technical support page .

Student Objectives

Students will

  • review examples of business and friendly letters.
  • compare business and friendly letter formats.
  • write letters in response to specific writing prompts.
  • apply knowledge of language structure and conventions.
  • adjust their use of writing conventions, style, and vocabulary for a variety of audiences and purposes.

Session One

  • Distribute copies of the Contemplating Correspondence sheet.
  • Explain that most questions have more than one “correct” answers. Suggest that students leave any questions that they are unsure about blank and return to them after the class discussion of the sheets.
  • Allow students a few minutes to respond.
  • Review the students' responses to the Contemplating Correspondence sheet, using the questions as a springboard for a brief class discussion about writing letters. Refer to the Contemplating Correspondence Key to ensure students recognize the most basic details.
  • Tell students that they will be completing a letter writing project. Before writing the letters, however, they will review standard business and friendly letter formats.
  • Discuss the difference between the friendly letter format and a friendly tone. Explain that people can use the friendly letter format for letters that have a more formal tone (e.g., a condolence letter to someone the author does not know well).
  • Share the Friendly Letter Sample by distributing copies to students, and displaying the sample using an overhead transparency.
  • Have students take turns reading the body of the letter aloud.
  • Identify the main parts of a friendly letter (heading, greeting, body, closing, and signature) by allowing student volunteers to take turns using a non-permanent transparency marker to label each of the five main parts. Ask students to label their handouts in the same manner.
  • Use Writing the Basic Business Letter from the Purdue OWL to supplement the discussion of the parts of letters.

Session Two

  • Review the information covered in Session One by asking students what they remember about friendly letter format.
  • Tell students that during this session, they will be reviewing business letter format.
  • Ask students if business letter format is for use only by businesses. Use student responses as a springboard for discussion on the various uses for business letters (e.g., applying for employment, expressing a consumer complaint to company).
  • Share the Business Letter Sample by distributing copies to students and displaying the sample by using an overhead transparency.
  • Identify the main parts of a business letter (heading, inside address, greeting, body, closing, and signature) by allowing student volunteers to take turns using a non-permanent transparency marker to label each of the six main parts. Instruct students to label their handouts in the same manner.
  • Again, you can use Writing the Basic Business Letter from the Purdue OWL to supplement the discussion of the parts of letters.
  • Discuss the differences between the full-block and modified-block formats. Point to the additional sample letters from the Purdue OWL or Sample Complaint Letter to discuss the formats.
  • Have students compare friendly and business letter formats using the interactive Venn Diagram . Teachers also may wish to have students complete a separate Venn Diagram to compare and contrast full-block and modified-block formats. If computer access is not available, distribute copies of the Venn Diagram handout to students and display the diagram using an overhead transparency. Allow students to complete the diagram together by allowing student volunteers to take turns using a non-permanent transparency maker to identify common and dissimilar traits between the two letter formats. Students should follow along by filling in their own diagrams on their handouts.
  • Distribute the Correspondence Project Prompts and the Rubric for Correspondence Project to students. Explain the requirements you have chosen for the project, giving students details on the number of letters they should write and any required prompts they must respond to.
  • Review the Rubric for Correspondence Project and ensure that students understand the expectations for the project.
  • In the remaining time, have students begin the process of choosing letters to write and drafting their correspondence. Explain that students will continue this work during the next class session.

Session Three

  • Review the Correspondence Project Prompts and the Rubric for Correspondence Project . Answer any questions regarding the project.
  • Tell students that the goal for this session is to complete drafts of at least two letters.
  • Make newspapers, scissors, and tape available to students for use with the first prompt (a job application letter).
  • Circulate among students as they work, and assist as needed.
  • Students who require extra time to complete their drafts should do so as homework.

Session Four

  • Check for completion of at least two letters.
  • Review the Correspondence Project Prompts and the Rubric for Correspondence Project .
  • Tell students that the goal for this session is to complete drafts for the remaining letters.
  • Students who require extra time to complete their letters should do so as homework.
  • Ask students to bring all completed drafts with them to the next class session.

Session Five

  • Review the Rubric for Correspondence Project .
  • Introduce students to the interactive Letter Generator , and explain that they will be revising their drafts and using this tool to create final versions of their work.
  • Allow students time to revise their drafts. Revision options are endless and open to teacher preference. Students may proofread and revise independently, through “pair and share” edit sessions with classmates, or by basing revisions on teacher remarks and comments if the teacher wishes to collect the drafts prior to Session Five and return them with comments at the beginning of the session.
  • Students should complete their draft revisions and create final versions using the interactive Letter Generator .
  • If needed, add a sixth session to the lesson to allow students time to complete their letters using the interactive Letter Generator .
  • Communicating on Local Issues: Exploring Audience in Persuasive Letter Writing
  • Draft Letters: Improving Student Writing through Critical Thinking
  • E-pals Around the World
  • Exploring Literature through Letter-Writing Groups
  • Persuading an Audience: Writing Effective Letters to the Editor
  • Worth Its Weight: Letter Writing with “The Things They Carried”
  • Consider introducing pen pals or “key pals” into your classroom community. Many programs are available online and can easily be located through most of the popular search engines using the keyword search “school pen pals.”
  • Depending on the grade and skill level of students, a mini-lesson on properly addressing an envelope and folding a letter might be a worthwhile addition to this project.
  • Use the online interactive Postcard Creator as a lesson extension or letter alternative. Many of the friendly letter prompts would adapt easily to a postcard format.
  • The EDSITEment lesson I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Someone a Letter offers a collection of historically significant letters and can provide a useful extension to this lesson.

Student Assessment / Reflections

  • Assess students’ understanding of the purposes and formats of business and friendly letters through observation and anecdotal notes of student participation during classroom discussions.
  • Assess students’ use of interactive tools through observation and anecdotal notes of student work while using the interactive tools.
  • Check for proper completion of the interactive Venn Diagram contrasting letter formats.
  • Use the Rubric for Correspondence Project to assess the letters students have written.
  • Student Interactives
  • Calendar Activities

The Letter Generator is a useful tool for students to learn the parts of a business or friendly letter and then compose and print letters for both styles of correspondence.

The Postcard Creator helps students learn to identify all the typical parts of a postcard, and then generate their own postcard messages by typing information into letter templates. After printing their texts, students can illustrate the front of their postcards in a variety of ways, including drawing, collage, and stickers.

This interactive tool allows students to create Venn diagrams that contain two or three overlapping circles, enabling them to organize their information logically.

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  • formal letter writing format

Formal Letter Writing Format In English PDF: Definition, How To Write, Topics, Sample Examples

Nov 06 2023

formal letter writing assignment

Formal Letter Writing Format In English PDF: A formal letter is sent to officials to show gratitude or to voice complaints about a person or circumstance. Therefore, a professional letter must follow a specific structure that is concise, clear, and error-free. When writing a formal letter, avoid making spelling errors and the letter should be short and to the point. You can send formal letters to government departments, businesses, and educational institutions. You will learn more about the formal letter format in this post as well as the guidelines. Let's first read what a formal letter is to get a better understanding of it before we look at the formal letter format. Aspirants in search of formal letter writing in English, Letter writing formal letter formal letter format, letter formal letter to principal, formal letter writing format, formal letter writing topics, formal letter writing examples, formal letter writing questions, etc., can refer to the complete details provided here related to the formal letter writing format in this article. Many aspirants have questions about how to write a formal letter in English, how to write a formal letter to principal, how to write date in formal letter, etc. Now, let's look at the formal letter meaning and the format.

Check Informal Letter Writing Format

Descriptive Writing For Bank Exams - Mock Tests

formal letter writing assignment

What Is A Formal Letter?

Formal Letter Meaning: A formal letter is one that uses formal language and is written in a formal style. Such letters are not addressed to private individuals, such as friends or family members, but rather to authorities, dignitaries, coworkers, and seniors for official objectives. Writing formal letters requires adherence to a variety of conventions.

Types Of Formal Letter

The formal letter comes in a variety of forms and is utilized as a communication tool by all organizations, whether they are public or private. Both internal and external communication uses formal letters. Here are some examples of formal letter formats.

  • Recovery Letter
  • Resignation Letter
  • Order Letter
  • Promotion Letter
  • Job offer letter
  • Complaint letter
  • Business letter
  • Appointment letter
  • Leave application for Marriage/ Sick/ maternity
  • Letter of Enquiry
  • Sales Letter

formal letter writing assignment

Formal Letter Writing Format In English

Candidates can use the English formal letter writing format that is given below for any type of formal letter.

formal letter writing assignment

Details Of Formal Letter Writing Format

The sender's and recipient's addresses are the first item in the formal letter format. Sender's Address: Be sure to include your street address, city, state, zip code, and phone number when writing your address in the left-hand corner of the page. Address of Recipient – Always include the address of the recipient in the right-hand corner, just below the date.

The date and salutation are the second essential component of a professional letter format. The date should always be written with a line gap just below the sender's address.

3) Salutation

"Dear Sir/Madam" is sufficient; if you know the person's name, address them directly. If you don't know their name, use "Rev.", "Dr.", "Mr.", "Mrs.", or "Ms." in a formal manner, along with their complete name.

The official letter comes next. The letter's subject and body are its format: The agenda or purpose of the letter's drafting is its subject. Keep the letter's subject short and, if you can, limit it to one line.

  • Always break up your work into paragraphs, and make sure to use a sophisticated vocabulary as well as correct punctuation and spelling.
  • To keep the reader engaged and to distinguish one idea from another, paragraphs are used.
  • The goal is to provide the reader with as much clarity as possible.
  • Mention the goal of the letter in the first paragraph itself so that the reader is clear on your intentions when writing the letter.
  • The first paragraph, also known as the introduction, should be brief and to the point.
  • The middle paragraphs, generally known as the body of the letter, should include some relevant information on the goal outlined in the first paragraph.
  • The final paragraph, sometimes referred to as the conclusion, should discuss the action you expect the letter's reader to take.
  • As much as you can, keep the final paragraph in a requesting mode.

6) Conclusion

The ending, or how to end the formal letter, is another element of the formal letter format. Putting a formal letter to bed - The preferred concluding salutations are Yours Faithfully, Your Sincerely, etc., followed by your entire name and a suitable closing sentence. An appropriate closing statement shows that you value the receiver by expressing your admiration for them.

7) Signature

The signature at the end of the formal letter is the final component of the format. In the signature line of a formal letter, the sender should include their name, signature, and, if applicable, their position within the employer. Recognizing the information sent by the sender aids the recipient.

formal letter writing assignment

Formal Letter Writing Examples

Formal letter writing format example 1 - appointment  letter, formal letter writing format example 2 - promotion letter, formal letter writing format example 3 - resignation letter.

formal letter writing assignment

Formal Letter Writing Format Example 4 - Business Letter

How to write a formal letter to principal.

Have a look at the examples  of formal letters  provided  below  for  your  reference.

Formal Letter To Principal From Student 1

Formal letter to principal from student 2, formal letter writing topics.

Formal letter writing questions expected in the upcoming exams are curated and provided as formal letter writing topics in the table below.

formal letter writing assignment

Do's And Dont's Of Formal Letter Writing

Do's: formal letter writing format.

  • Make your letter's goal clear; it should be straightforward and focused.
  • Your letter should be left-justified.
  • In your letter, a single space and a space between each paragraph are required.
  • Examples of plain typefaces are Arial, Times New Roman, Courier New, and Verdana. The font size ought to be 10 or 12.
  • Leave a blank line between the salutation and the closing.
  • Business letters should always be produced on white bond paper as opposed to colorful paper or personal stationery.
  • If you're writing an email letter, follow these instructions for what to include and how to format your signature.
  • After you've finished writing your letter, always proofread it for spelling and grammar mistakes.

Don't's: Formal Letter Writing Format

Here are the common mistakes in formal letter writing that should be avoided.

  • Make sure to adhere to the right formal letter format. This comprises a suitable headline, salutation, body, conclusion, and signature.
  • Make sure the goal of your communication is stated in full. Be specific in what you want to say or what you are asking for.
  • Check your letter carefully for any spelling or grammar mistakes before sending it. Use the appropriate punctuation and capitalization.
  • Avoid employing slang or informal language in formal correspondence. Be respectful and professional in your tone.
  • Double-check that the recipient of your letter has the correct name and address. This will guarantee that your mail gets to the correct person.
  • Keep your letter brief and crisp. Don't blather on or provide unnecessary details.
  • Make sure your letter is understandable and clear. Avoid using technical phrases unless absolutely required and speak plainly.
  • If you expect a response to your letter, make sure to follow up if you don't get one in a timely manner.
  • You may write a formal letter that is both effective and professional by keeping these most common errors to a minimum.

FAQs - Formal Letter Writing Format

Q. What is a formal letter?

A formal letter is one that uses formal language and is written in a formal style. Such letters are not addressed to private individuals, such as friends or family members, but rather to authorities, dignitaries, coworkers, and seniors for official objectives. Writing formal letters requires adherence to a variety of conventions.

Q. What are the types of formal letters?

The types of formal letters are Recovery Letter, Resignation Letter, Order Letter, Promotion Letter, Job offer letter, Complaint letter, Business letter, Appointment letter, Leave application for Marriage/ Sick/ maternity, Letter of Enquiry, Sales Letter, etc.,

Q. What is the formal letter writing format?

The sender's address, the date, the recipient's address, the subject, the salutation, the content of the letter, a complimenting ending, and finally the signature with name (in block letters) and designation should all be included in a professional letter.

Q. How To Write A Formal Letter?

Make sure you are familiar with the format of a formal letter before you begin writing one. Include all the information required to understand the topic under discussion. Be sure to speak in plain, basic words. Make sure the recipient is aware of both your expectations and your needs. Always be truthful.

formal letter writing assignment

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formal letter writing assignment

Literacy Ideas

How to write a letter

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how to write a letter | What is a letter 1 | How to write a letter |

In this age of digital communication, writing letters is becoming something of a lost art. Emails and text messages can be sent instantly and for a fraction of the cost good old-fashioned snail mail can offer.

So, why bother teaching letter-writing at all? Well, though electronic ‘letters’ are often freer in formatting and language than physical letters, we can also apply letter-writing rules to electronic media. However, physical letters do offer some distinct benefits of their own too.


Whilst we pride ourselves here on how to write a great essay, information report, or another text type that is primarily used in an educational setting, the ability to craft a powerful letter or email has literally changed people’s lives, altered the course of history and been the difference between life and death in some cases.

It can be the one opportunity to remove all the noise and confusion on any subject area and honestly tell someone how you feel straight from the heart.  Pen to paper.  

For whatever reason, a thousand emails, tweets, and likes will never have the same impact as a well-crafted handwritten letter.  Its very creation and existence show your reader how passionate and genuine about what it contains.

Letters fall under the transactional writing category; if you want to know more about transactional texts, be sure to check out our in-depth guide here.

Visual Writing Prompts


how to write a letter | formal letter writing unit 1 | How to write a letter |

Over 100 PAGES of engaging RESOURCES , various letter SAMPLES , LESSON PLANS and INTERACTIVE DIGITAL RESOURCES to teach your students how to write amazing LETTERS and EMAILS .

Teach this life skill with confidence through this excellent ALL-IN-ONE RESOURCE . No preparation is required.


1. the personal touch: .

how to write a letter | Written in 1939 the EINSTEIN SZILARD LETTER WOULD CHANGE THE COURSE OF HISTORY | How to write a letter |

Those of us who grew up in an age before the internet got going will remember the excitement of waiting for and receiving a letter. Many of us will have had childhood pen pals we never met or received love letters from our teenage sweethearts. Maybe some treasured letters are still securely stored in a bedside drawer.

There is something extremely personal and intimate about the letter that email cannot capture. Letters are physical, and their increasing rarity makes them seem even more intimate today.

In this day and age, receiving a personally written letter is something a unicorn in communication terms. Students who know how to produce a well-crafted letter can use it to their advantage. For example, any business hiring manager will undoubtedly be numbed by the constant torrent of emails flooding their inbox.

That mailed resume accompanied by a handwritten letter that waits for them on their desk in the morning will surely stand out and secure an attentive read. The letter, in its various forms, is guaranteed to stand out and make an impact in an age where the vast majority of communication is digital.

3. Handwriting

how to write a letter | letter handwriting | How to write a letter |

Just as letter writing has declined in popularity, so too has the emphasis on well-developed handwriting skills. You can, if you wish, take the opportunity here to have the students work on their handwriting skills.

While students may protest that they can accomplish the task much quicker by word-processing, another benefit of handwriting a letter is that the speed becomes almost meditative. This allows students to focus carefully on their grammar and punctuation without always resorting to the crutch of spell-checkers and grammar correction software.


The table below outlines whether your letter should be written formally or informally, with some suggested prompts .  Whilst there are many similarities, a formal letter should always be considered as a document with a real purpose and ramifications.



INVITATION Make someone feel special about an upcoming event.

APPLICATION Write a professional letter of application for a job or group you wish to join.

REFEREE / REFERENCE Vouch for another’s skills, personality or credibility.

ACCEPTANCE & REJECTION Approve or deny an applicant in a professional manner.

MAKE AN OFFER Make a formal and binding offer in writing.

EXIT / RESIGNATION Formally leave or step down in a professional and dignified manner.



THANK YOU Let someone know you appreciate their efforts.

CONGRATULATIONS Acknowledge someone’s achievements in life.

GRIEVANCE / LOSS Acknowledge someones personal loss or suffering and let them know you care.

FRIENDSHIP & LOVE Tell someone how special they are to you and why?

LETTER TO THE EDITOR / MAYOR ETC. Let someone know how their actions and adversely affect you and others.

LETTER TO SELF Give your older or younger self some words of advice and wisdom.

INFORMATIONAL UPDATE Write a letter back home telling them what you have been up to.


The writing process begins with planning.

As with all genres of writing, the process of formal letter writing should start with planning. This should involve sketching a brief outline from which to work rather than a comprehensive detailing of minutiae. The plan should include:

  • Note addresses, names etc. – who are you writing to?
  • Record the purpose of the letter – what do you want to say?
  • List points to be made (each will form a paragraph) – how will you say it?
  • State action point – what do you want the reader to do?

Formal letters can be written for a wide range of purposes and may come in various shapes, including a letter of complaint, a cover letter accompanying a job application, a letter of invitation, a reference letter, or a proposal letter – to name a few. Though each will adhere to its own rules of formatting and tone when writing formal letters, students should avoid using slang or contractions.

Language should be straightforward and polite. Encourage students to avoid bursts of purple prose in favor of direct, functional language. Usually, a formal letter will be written to achieve a particular end and should be written with that end foremost in mind. Students should avoid meanderings and stay firmly focused on the task at hand.


how to write a letter | how to write a formal letter 1 | How to write a letter |

  • The writer’s address should be in the top right-hand corner.
  • The date should be written below the writer’s address
  • The recipient’s name and address are below that on the left-hand side
  • Use the correct opening (Dear Sir / Madam, Dear Mrs Ferguson, etc.)
  • Use Standard English
  • The opening sentence should explain the purpose of the letter
  • Each paragraph should make a single specific point
  • Use an appropriate formal tone and register in the wording of the letter
  • Avoid contractions, slang, and abbreviations
  • The concluding ‘action point’ paragraph states what you want the recipient to do
  • The formal ending, such as Yours Sincerely or Yours Faithfully

A Note on Salutations

If the student knows the intended recipient’s name, start with Dear Mr. / Mrs Surname and end with Yours Sincerely. If they don’t know the recipient’s name, start with Dear Sir / Madam and end with Yours Faithfully.

Use of Rhetorical Devices

As mentioned, formal letter writing focuses on attempting to convince someone to take some course of action or other. To do this, it is helpful to employ some rhetorical devices to make the writing more persuasive . Some useful techniques to encourage your students to employ include:

Direct Address: Using the pronoun ‘you’ in a formal letter makes the reader feel that you are speaking directly to them. This helps to engage the reader and encourage them to continue reading the letter.

how to write a letter | 1 Love letter | How to write a letter |

Emotive Language: Where students are trying to convince the reader to take a course of action, the use of emotive language can often be a powerful tool. Students can use either positive or negative colored words to create the desired response in the reader.

Facts and Figures: Another way to persuade and convince is to employ facts and figures to support the points made in the letter.


how to write a letter | Formal letter writing example year 3 | How to write a letter |

How to write an informal letter

Common features of informal letters:.

There are far fewer rules to follow when writing an informal letter, but there are still some practical guidelines to follow that will prove helpful for students engaged in writing informally.

As with any piece of writing, it is important to consider who the audience is and the reason for writing in the first place. In particular, this will help decide the tone and the language register. The more intimate the relationship, the more informal the language can be.

Though the letter will be informal, it will still have a purpose. Information should still be organized into paragraphs, as would be done with a formal, more ‘official’ letter. Students sometimes struggle with this aspect, as they often conflate ‘informal’ with ‘disorganized.’ Making them plan their informal letter before writing can help ensure it is sufficiently organized.


how to write a letter | how to write an informal letter 1 | How to write a letter |

Informal letters will start with a greeting appropriate to how close the relationship is. For acquaintances, this may be ‘Dear Tom,’ (using the first name instead of the surname) to a very informal ‘Hi Jane,’. Don’t forget the comma after the name!

After the greeting, a general opening sentence should follow. Usually, this will be something like a ‘How are you?’ or a ‘How have you been?’. If the recipient is married or has kids, you may wish to ask how their spouse or children are.

Next, students should state the reason for writing. The language should be open and friendly in tone and, in contrast to the formal letter, colloquial language, idiomatic expressions, and contractions are perfectly okay and even desirable.

Just as the opening salutation to an informal letter is much more relaxed, so too will the closing salutation. There are many possibilities for the students to choose here, and their decision will depend on who they are writing to and their personal preferences. Some examples of possible closings include ‘Love’, ‘Best regards’, ‘All the best’, and ‘Thanks’.


how to write a letter | infomal letter sample year 4 | How to write a letter |

Teaching Resources

Use our resources and tools to improve your student’s writing skills through proven teaching strategies.


The most effective way for students to internalize all the features of letter writing, formal or informal, is to gain experience by writing various letters for differing purposes. The following activities offer some suggestions for students to get practising today:


Have students write as if they were a character from a piece of fiction you have been reading in class. Choosing a dramatic point in the plot , ask students to imagine they are one of the characters writing a letter to another character in the story. This writer may be either formal or informal, depending on the scenario presented. This will give students realistic letter-writing practice while also getting them to engage closely with the text and respond imaginatively to its themes.


Either offer a range of possible life predicaments or cut out the questions from the ‘agony aunt’ page of a local newspaper. Students must write back offering advice in response to the predicaments expressed in the question or predicament. The response should be written in full letter format. This activity also lends itself to several variations. The response may be written to a close friend, for example, or written from the perspective of a professional agony aunt employing a more formal tone and presentation.


Have students think of their favorite candy bar or clothing item. Encourage them to imagine they have bought this product lately and found it to be substandard. Students must write a formal letter of complaint to the manufacturer outlining their complaint and recommending a course of action to satisfactorily resolve that complaint. They must use all the features of a formal letter as outlined above.

old handwritten letter


  • Write in pencil or a calligraphy pen,
  • screw them up tightly and carefully unfold and flatten.
  • Lightly dab coffee stains over the paper to make it look aged.
  • Carefully singe or burn the edges of your paper.
  • Add some sepia-filtered photos for effect.


As students become more confident in their understanding of letter-writing formats, encourage them to exchange letters with each other for peer assessment. You may wish to provide them with a checklist of features to look for while reading over their partner’s work.

Letter-writing can also be a great way to partner up with schools overseas; often, children studying English as a second language will be delighted to receive letters from (and write to) students in English-speaking countries. And though email increasingly encroaches on the traditional territory of the letter, many of the skills garnered in the practice of letter writing are transferable to the modern manifestation. There is ample opportunity here to link letter-writing learning with approaches to writing emails too.

Letter-writing can provide a focus for a wide range of learning objectives while also teaching students valuable practical skills that will serve them well beyond their school years, both in their personal and work lives. And who knows, perhaps in years to come, one of the letters your student writes in your class may become a treasured keepsake in someone’s bedside drawer.




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how to write a letter | how to write a formal letter 2 | How to write a letter |


how to write a letter | transactional writing guide | Transactional Writing |

Transactional Writing

how to write a letter | how to write a personal narrative | Personal Narrative Writing Guide |

Personal Narrative Writing Guide

how to write a letter | how to write a recount | How to Write a Recount Text (And Improve your Writing Skills) |

How to Write a Recount Text (And Improve your Writing Skills)

Content for this page has been written by Shane Mac Donnchaidh.  A former principal of an international school and university English lecturer with 15 years of teaching and administration experience.  Editing and support content has been provided by the literacyideas  team.

  • Letter Writing
  • Formal Letter Writing In English

Formal Letter Writing in English - Definition, Format and Writing Samples

The article elaborates on the format of writing a formal letter, the definition and structure of a formal letter, along with sample formal letters for your reference. Formal Letters are professional and need to be drafted carefully. The following topics will help you understand how to write a formal letter in the most effective manner.

Table of Contents

Definition of a formal letter.

  • Structure of a Formal Letter – Types of Formal Letters

Writing a Formal Letter – Parts of a Formal Letter

Formal letter writing samples.

  • FAQs on Formal Letter Writing Format in English

Formal Letters, also called Business Letters or Professional Letters, are letters that are written in a strict and specific format. Formal letters are naturally much more formal in style than informal/friendly letters. Formal letters can be written for a number of reasons such as,

  • to express your concerns while working in a professional setup
  • to provide official information across your workspace
  • to order goods, to apply for employment, etc.
  • to the Editor of a newspaper addressing the problems faced by various groups of people in different areas, etc.

Structure of a Formal Letter

In order to be able to write a formal letter, you have to first understand the reason behind the letter. As far as formal letters are concerned, the structure of the letter changes depending on the type of letter. There are certain rules to be followed to be able to draft a formal letter. Every sentence should be well thought out and laid down in such a way that the message you want to convey should be precise and clear to the reader.

Types of Formal Letters

There are different types of formal letters, as discussed, and they can generally be labelled under the following terms:

Business Letters

Letters of application, letters to newspapers.

Business letters should be terse, clear and to the point. There is no room for any kind of stories in a business letter. Before you start to write a business letter, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

  • Use simple, everyday language to convey the message clearly instead of using flamboyant and overemphatic vocabulary.
  • Never use jargon that is commonly used in business when you write a business letter.
  • Avoid using abbreviations as much as possible.
  • The modes of address vary according to the type of letter and the receiver.
  • Clear and exact descriptions of the articles necessary with the expected quality and quantity should be listed with utmost care when you write a letter to order goods.
  • When replying to a business letter, always quote the date of the letter you are responding to and its reference numbers (if any).

Formal/Business letters include letters from an employer to the employees and vice versa, letters to order and replace goods, letters of serious concern to an officer of higher rank, letters of complaint, etc.

Letters of Application usually consist of letters applying for employment. Before and after you write a letter of application, make sure you check for the following:

  • Always start with a short introduction stating whether the applicant is writing in response to a reference from an advertisement found online or in the newspaper.
  • State the age, education and experience of the applicant.
  • Provide the employer with a genuine expression of the applicant’s earnestness in taking up the job in the respective company.
  • Also, furnish references so that the employer can gather an idea of the kind of employee you would be.

Letters of Application should follow the format of formal/business letters.

Always address these letters to ‘The Editor’ and end with ‘Yours faithfully’. Letters to the Editor are letters that express concerns that should be addressed to the higher authorities. These letters should be professional and authentic. No newspaper would publish anonymous letters, so make sure you are writing the letter for a cause and provide your name and address correctly.

When writing a formal letter, always be respectful and conscious of your language, no matter what the subject of the letter might be. To write a formal letter, there are some points to be remembered.

  • Always start with the sender’s address
  • This is followed by the date .
  • The receiver’s address comes next. The receiver can be the name of the firm or the one who represents the firm.
  • The subject of the letter is very important. It is a statement of the purpose of the letter. It should be written in a single line.
  • The salutation can be Dear Sir/Ma’am. If it is a person you know well, you can address them by their name, ‘Dear Shrinath’.
  • The first paragraph should be aimed at introducing yourself and stating the purpose of your letter.
  • The second paragraph should furnish all the information about the matter.
  • The third paragraph can be a concluding paragraph where you lay out your expectations regarding the matter.
  • To close the letter , you can use a complimentary closing like ‘ Yours faithfully’, ‘Yours sincerely’ etc.
  • Unlike informal letters, the signature should include your name (in block letters) and designation below your signature.

Formal Letter Sample 1 – Letter to the publisher ordering books for your store

Read More Book Store

24, Crosby Lane

Bangalore 600045

20th August, 2019

The Manager

Zack Publishing House

Mumbai 400012

Subject: Requirement of new books for the store

I have received the books that you sent last week. The books are in perfect condition, and they were delivered on time. Owing to the great service rendered, I would like to order more books that would be a great addition to the wide range of books available at my store. Given below is a list of books that I would like to purchase:

I shall be grateful if you could send me copies of these books as mentioned by VPP as early as possible to the address given.

Thank you in advance.

Yours faithfully,

Manager,  Read More Book Store

Formal Letter Sample 2 – Letter to the Editor about a road that needs repair

25, SS Street

Cheran Nagar

Coimbatore 641023

8th September, 2019

Subject: Repair of the road in Cheran Nagar

I would like to bring to your notice that the people in and around Cheran Nagar have been facing difficulties in travelling back and forth because of the bad condition of the roads there. We have appealed to the Municipality, but there has not been any response on the issue so far.

As our appeals to their office have had no effect, we believe that perhaps a mention in the media would be of great help. Since the beginning of the last month, the roads in Cheran Nagar have been almost impassable. The surface is badly broken up by the heavy rains, and on a dark night, it is positively dangerous for vehicles to pass that way. Moreover, there are heaps of road metal on both sides of the road, which leave very little room in the middle. The residents of the area have been inconvenienced in this way for weeks.

The situation is becoming worse. There have been multiple accidents happening due to this condition. I request you to highlight the seriousness of the matter in your newspaper so that the road may be properly repaired without further delay.

Thanking You

Yours sincerely,

More Formal Letter Samples,

FAQ on Formal Letter Writing Format in English

What is a formal letter.

A formal letter is written for official purposes such as to express your concerns while working in a professional setup, to share official information at your workspace, to order goods, to apply for employment, to the Editor of a newspaper addressing the problems faced by various groups of people in different areas, etc.

What is the format of a formal letter?

A formal letter should include the sender’s address, date, receiver’s address, subject, salutation, body of the letter, complimentary closing and finally, the signature with name (in block letters) and designation.

How can I write a formal letter?

Before you start writing a formal letter, make sure you understand the pattern of the formal letter. Try to include all the necessary information about the matter that is being discussed. Keep your language simple and clear. Make the receiver understand your requirements and also your expectations. Provide authentic information no matter what.

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Business Communication  - How to Write a Formal Business Letter

Business communication  -, how to write a formal business letter, business communication how to write a formal business letter.

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Business Communication: How to Write a Formal Business Letter

Lesson 7: how to write a formal business letter.


How to write a formal business letter

formal letter writing assignment

Whenever you need to communicate with another company or share important news, business letters can present your message in a classic, polished style. Unlike internal memos, business letters are usually written from one company to another, which is why they’re so formal and structured . However, letters are also quite versatile, as they can be used for official requests, announcements, cover letters, and much more.

Despite the formality, letters can still have a friendly tone , especially because they include brief introductions before getting to the main point. Regardless of the tone you use in your letter, your writing should remain concise, clear, and easy to read.

Watch the video below to learn about formal business letters.

This lesson focuses on American business letters. Letters written in other parts of the world may have minor differences in formatting.

The structure of a business letter

The business letter’s precise structure is crucial to its look and readability. As you write your letter, you can follow the structure below to create an effective document.

  • Opening : Include your mailing address, the full date (for example, July 30, 2017), and the recipient’s name, company, and address. Skip one line between your address, the date, and your recipient’s information. Don’t add your address if you’re using letterhead that already contains it.
  • Salutation : Address the recipient using “Dear,” along with their title and last name, such as “Dear Mr. Collins” or “Dear Director Kinkade.” If you don’t know the recipient’s gender, use their full name, such as “Dear Taylor Dean.” Finally, be sure to add a colon to the end of the salutation.
  • Body : In the first paragraph, introduce yourself and the main point of your letter. Following paragraphs should go into the details of your main point, while your final paragraph should restate the letter’s purpose and provide a call to action, if necessary.
  • Closing : Recommended formal closings include “Sincerely” or “Yours truly.” For a more personal closing, consider using “Cordially” or “Best regards.” Regardless of what you choose, add a comma to the end of it.
  • Signature : Skip four lines after the closing and type your name. Skip another line and type your job title and company name. If you’re submitting a hard copy, sign your name in the empty space using blue or black ink.
  • Enclosures : If you’re including documents with this letter, list them here.

Another important part of the structure is the layout , which determines how the text is formatted. The most common layout for a business letter is known as block format , which keeps all text left-justified and single spaced, except for double spaces between the paragraphs. This layout keeps the letter looking clean and easy to read.

As stated in Business Writing Essentials , revision is a crucial part of writing. Review your letter to keep it concise, and proofread it for spelling and grammar errors. Once you’re finished writing, ask someone to read your letter and give you feedback , as they can spot errors you may have missed. Also make sure any enclosures are attached to your document and that any hard copies are signed.

After revising the content, consider the appearance of your letter. If you’re printing a hard copy, be sure to use quality paper. Also try using letterhead to give your document a more official look.

Example of a business letter

To see this lesson in action, let’s take a look at a polished business letter by reviewing the example below.

formal letter writing assignment

This letter looks great! The structure is perfect, and the text is left-justified and single spaced. The body is formal, friendly, and concise, while the salutation and closing look good. It also contains a handwritten signature, which means it’s ready to be submitted as a hard copy.

Knowing how to write a business letter will serve you well throughout your career. Keep practicing and studying it, and you’ll be able to communicate in a classic style.



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Letter Format Example and Writing Tips

formal letter writing assignment

What To Include in a Formal Letter

Writtten letter format, email letter format, letter template to download, professional written letter example, professional email example, tips for formatting your letter, proofread, spellcheck, and print, how to address the envelope.

 Theresa Chiechi / The Balance

A printed letter is usually reserved for important professional communications, such as recommendation letters, cover letters, resignation letters, business and legal correspondence, and company communications. Since a letter is a formal mode of communication, you'll want to know how to write one that is professional.

Correct formatting is especially important if you're sending a hard copy to the recipient rather than an email, because the letter needs to fit the page, be clear and concise, be easy to read, and look professional.

Review information on what you need to include when writing a professional letter, examples, and advice on the appropriate font, salutation, spacing, closing, and signature for business correspondence.

Key Takeaways

  • A formal letter should include details about why you’re writing, an expression of your appreciation to the recipient for considering your request, and your contact information.
  • Correspondence can be sent as a written letter or in an email. When sending an email message, list the reason you are writing in the subject line of the message.
  • When writing a professional letter, carefully proofread and spellcheck before you print or send it.

Formal correspondence should include the details of why you’re writing, your contact information so the recipient can follow up, a greeting and closing, and your signature.

Contact Information (Written Letter):  A written letter should include your and the recipient’s contact information (name, title, company name, address, phone number, email), followed by the date.

Contact Information (Email):  When sending an email, you don’t need to include the recipient’s contact information. List your contact information at the end of the letter, after your signature.

Greeting:  Address the letter using a professional greeting and formal title ("Dear Mr./Ms./Dr.").

Body of Letter

  • The first paragraph of your letter  should provide an introduction as to why you are writing, so that your reason for contacting the person is obvious.
  • Then, in the  following paragraphs , provide specific details about your request or the information you are providing.
  • The  last paragraph  of your letter should reiterate the reason you are writing and thank the reader for reviewing your request. If appropriate, it should also politely ask for a written response or for the opportunity to arrange a meeting to further discuss your request.

Closing:  Use a formal sign-off , such as "Sincerely" or "Best regards."

Signature (Written Letter):  End the letter with your handwritten signature followed by your typed name.

Signature (Email):  Include your typed name followed by your contact information.

It’s important to include enough detail so that the recipient understands why you’re writing and the response you expect to the letter.

Here’s a template for each section of a formal letter:

Your Contact Information   Name Address City, State Zip Code Phone Number Email Address

Recipient Contact Information  Name Title Company Address City, State Zip Code

Greeting   Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name,

Use a  formal salutation , not a first name, unless you know the person well. If you do not know the person's gender, you can write out their full name. For instance, write, "Dear Pat Crody" instead of "Dear Mr. Crody" or "Dear Ms. Crody." If you do not know the recipient’s name, it’s still common and acceptable to use the old-fashioned “ To Whom It May Concern .”

Body of Letter

  • Paragraph 1: State the reason you are writing, for example, you are asking for something or sharing a piece of information.
  • Paragraph 2:  Provide details about your request or the information you’re sharing.
  • Paragraph 3:  If necessary, include additional information on the purpose of your letter.
  • Paragraph 4:  Thank the reader for considering your request, and ask for a response to your letter.

Closing Best regards,

Signature Handwritten signature (use black or blue ink to sign a written letter)

Typed Signature  Your typed name

Here’s a template for each section of a professional email:

Subject Line Subject: Your Name — Reason for Writing

Greeting Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name,

Body of Message Your message should be two or three paragraphs at most and should explain why you’re writing and what you’re requesting.

Closing Sincerely,

Typed Signature and Contact Information Mikala Schwartz 617-123-1234

When sending email correspondence, include the reason you are writing in the subject line of the message. List your contact information under your typed signature at the end of the message.

Here is a letter template that you can download  (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online), or review the text version below.

Nicole Thomas 35 Chestnut Street Dell Village, Wisconsin 54101 555-555-5555

September 5, 2022

Jason Andrews Manager LMK Company 53 Oak Avenue, Ste 5 Dell Village, Wisconsin 54101

Dear Mr. Andrews,

I’m writing to resign from my position as customer service representative, effective September 16, 2022.

I’ve recently decided to go back to school, and my program starts in late September. I’m tendering my resignation now so that I can be as helpful as possible to you during the transition.

I’ve truly enjoyed my time working with you and everyone else on our team at LMK. It’s rare to find a customer service role that offers as much opportunity to grow and learn, and perhaps more rare to find such a positive, inspiring team of people to grow and learn with.

I’m particularly grateful for your guidance while I was considering furthering my education. Your support has meant so much to me. 

Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you find and train my replacement.

Thanks and best wishes,

Signature (hard copy letter)

Nicole Thomas

Subject: Annual Meeting

Dear Kathleen,

Thank you so much for your assistance in planning our annual meeting. Your expertise in handling the meeting arrangements, booking the conference facilities and hotel, coordinating travel, scheduling events, and organizing the meeting is greatly appreciated.

I appreciate your help and advice, and I am hoping we can plan on having your assistance with next year’s event. It’s tentatively scheduled for January 16–20, 2023, in Tampa, Florida. If you can confirm your availability, I’ll be in touch when we’re ready to start planning.

I look forward to working with you in the future, and thank you again.

Best regards,

Peter Hancock

Professional letters should be simple, short, and written in business format using a traditional font.

  • Length of the Letter: Most formal letters are no more than one typed page.
  • Font Style and Size: Use a plain font such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri. Your font size should be between 10 and 12 points.
  • Margins:  Use one-inch margins and left justify your text.
  • Spacing: Single space your letter and leave a space between each paragraph. Use one-inch margins and align your text to the left. Leave an extra space after the salutation, before the closing, and before and after your handwritten signature in a printed letter.
  • Printing the Letter:  Business letters should be printed on plain white paper.

Once you have written your letter, proofread it and carefully spellcheck it on the screen. Then print it out and read it through aloud at least one more time, checking for any errors or typos. This is important as it's often easier to spot errors on a hard copy. 

Reading your letter out loud is a good way to catch a mistake.

Check for formatting errors, such as two paragraphs that don’t have a space between them or lines that are indented incorrectly. Then, before putting your letter in an envelope, sign above your typed name using black or blue ink. 

If you’re emailing your letter, send a copy to yourself to be sure it’s perfect. Then send the final version to the recipient.

Print a copy of your written letter so you have it for your records. Your email will be saved in your “sent” email folder.

When your letter is ready to mail, fold it in thirds so it fits into a business-size envelope. You can use your word processing program to print the addresses on the envelope or handwrite them. 

Print your name on the top left corner of the front of envelope. Print the recipient’s address in the center of the envelope, parallel with the long side. Add a stamp to the top right of the envelope.

NMU Writing Center. " Parts of a Business Letter. "

University of Arizona. " Writing a Professional Letter ."

USPS. " How to Send a Letter or Postcard: Domestic ."

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Resources for Teachers: Creating Writing Assignments

This page contains four specific areas:

Creating Effective Assignments

Checking the assignment, sequencing writing assignments, selecting an effective writing assignment format.

Research has shown that the more detailed a writing assignment is, the better the student papers are in response to that assignment. Instructors can often help students write more effective papers by giving students written instructions about that assignment. Explicit descriptions of assignments on the syllabus or on an “assignment sheet” tend to produce the best results. These instructions might make explicit the process or steps necessary to complete the assignment. Assignment sheets should detail:

  • the kind of writing expected
  • the scope of acceptable subject matter
  • the length requirements
  • formatting requirements
  • documentation format
  • the amount and type of research expected (if any)
  • the writer’s role
  • deadlines for the first draft and its revision

Providing questions or needed data in the assignment helps students get started. For instance, some questions can suggest a mode of organization to the students. Other questions might suggest a procedure to follow. The questions posed should require that students assert a thesis.

The following areas should help you create effective writing assignments.

Examining your goals for the assignment

  • How exactly does this assignment fit with the objectives of your course?
  • Should this assignment relate only to the class and the texts for the class, or should it also relate to the world beyond the classroom?
  • What do you want the students to learn or experience from this writing assignment?
  • Should this assignment be an individual or a collaborative effort?
  • What do you want students to show you in this assignment? To demonstrate mastery of concepts or texts? To demonstrate logical and critical thinking? To develop an original idea? To learn and demonstrate the procedures, practices, and tools of your field of study?

Defining the writing task

  • Is the assignment sequenced so that students: (1) write a draft, (2) receive feedback (from you, fellow students, or staff members at the Writing and Communication Center), and (3) then revise it? Such a procedure has been proven to accomplish at least two goals: it improves the student’s writing and it discourages plagiarism.
  • Does the assignment include so many sub-questions that students will be confused about the major issue they should examine? Can you give more guidance about what the paper’s main focus should be? Can you reduce the number of sub-questions?
  • What is the purpose of the assignment (e.g., review knowledge already learned, find additional information, synthesize research, examine a new hypothesis)? Making the purpose(s) of the assignment explicit helps students write the kind of paper you want.
  • What is the required form (e.g., expository essay, lab report, memo, business report)?
  • What mode is required for the assignment (e.g., description, narration, analysis, persuasion, a combination of two or more of these)?

Defining the audience for the paper

  • Can you define a hypothetical audience to help students determine which concepts to define and explain? When students write only to the instructor, they may assume that little, if anything, requires explanation. Defining the whole class as the intended audience will clarify this issue for students.
  • What is the probable attitude of the intended readers toward the topic itself? Toward the student writer’s thesis? Toward the student writer?
  • What is the probable educational and economic background of the intended readers?

Defining the writer’s role

  • Can you make explicit what persona you wish the students to assume? For example, a very effective role for student writers is that of a “professional in training” who uses the assumptions, the perspective, and the conceptual tools of the discipline.

Defining your evaluative criteria

1. If possible, explain the relative weight in grading assigned to the quality of writing and the assignment’s content:

  • depth of coverage
  • organization
  • critical thinking
  • original thinking
  • use of research
  • logical demonstration
  • appropriate mode of structure and analysis (e.g., comparison, argument)
  • correct use of sources
  • grammar and mechanics
  • professional tone
  • correct use of course-specific concepts and terms.

Here’s a checklist for writing assignments:

  • Have you used explicit command words in your instructions (e.g., “compare and contrast” and “explain” are more explicit than “explore” or “consider”)? The more explicit the command words, the better chance the students will write the type of paper you wish.
  • Does the assignment suggest a topic, thesis, and format? Should it?
  • Have you told students the kind of audience they are addressing — the level of knowledge they can assume the readers have and your particular preferences (e.g., “avoid slang, use the first-person sparingly”)?
  • If the assignment has several stages of completion, have you made the various deadlines clear? Is your policy on due dates clear?
  • Have you presented the assignment in a manageable form? For instance, a 5-page assignment sheet for a 1-page paper may overwhelm students. Similarly, a 1-sentence assignment for a 25-page paper may offer insufficient guidance.

There are several benefits of sequencing writing assignments:

  • Sequencing provides a sense of coherence for the course.
  • This approach helps students see progress and purpose in their work rather than seeing the writing assignments as separate exercises.
  • It encourages complexity through sustained attention, revision, and consideration of multiple perspectives.
  • If you have only one large paper due near the end of the course, you might create a sequence of smaller assignments leading up to and providing a foundation for that larger paper (e.g., proposal of the topic, an annotated bibliography, a progress report, a summary of the paper’s key argument, a first draft of the paper itself). This approach allows you to give students guidance and also discourages plagiarism.
  • It mirrors the approach to written work in many professions.

The concept of sequencing writing assignments also allows for a wide range of options in creating the assignment. It is often beneficial to have students submit the components suggested below to your course’s STELLAR web site.

Use the writing process itself. In its simplest form, “sequencing an assignment” can mean establishing some sort of “official” check of the prewriting and drafting steps in the writing process. This step guarantees that students will not write the whole paper in one sitting and also gives students more time to let their ideas develop. This check might be something as informal as having students work on their prewriting or draft for a few minutes at the end of class. Or it might be something more formal such as collecting the prewriting and giving a few suggestions and comments.

Have students submit drafts. You might ask students to submit a first draft in order to receive your quick responses to its content, or have them submit written questions about the content and scope of their projects after they have completed their first draft.

Establish small groups. Set up small writing groups of three-five students from the class. Allow them to meet for a few minutes in class or have them arrange a meeting outside of class to comment constructively on each other’s drafts. The students do not need to be writing on the same topic.

Require consultations. Have students consult with someone in the Writing and Communication Center about their prewriting and/or drafts. The Center has yellow forms that we can give to students to inform you that such a visit was made.

Explore a subject in increasingly complex ways. A series of reading and writing assignments may be linked by the same subject matter or topic. Students encounter new perspectives and competing ideas with each new reading, and thus must evaluate and balance various views and adopt a position that considers the various points of view.

Change modes of discourse. In this approach, students’ assignments move from less complex to more complex modes of discourse (e.g., from expressive to analytic to argumentative; or from lab report to position paper to research article).

Change audiences. In this approach, students create drafts for different audiences, moving from personal to public (e.g., from self-reflection to an audience of peers to an audience of specialists). Each change would require different tasks and more extensive knowledge.

Change perspective through time. In this approach, students might write a statement of their understanding of a subject or issue at the beginning of a course and then return at the end of the semester to write an analysis of that original stance in the light of the experiences and knowledge gained in the course.

Use a natural sequence. A different approach to sequencing is to create a series of assignments culminating in a final writing project. In scientific and technical writing, for example, students could write a proposal requesting approval of a particular topic. The next assignment might be a progress report (or a series of progress reports), and the final assignment could be the report or document itself. For humanities and social science courses, students might write a proposal requesting approval of a particular topic, then hand in an annotated bibliography, and then a draft, and then the final version of the paper.

Have students submit sections. A variation of the previous approach is to have students submit various sections of their final document throughout the semester (e.g., their bibliography, review of the literature, methods section).

In addition to the standard essay and report formats, several other formats exist that might give students a different slant on the course material or allow them to use slightly different writing skills. Here are some suggestions:

Journals. Journals have become a popular format in recent years for courses that require some writing. In-class journal entries can spark discussions and reveal gaps in students’ understanding of the material. Having students write an in-class entry summarizing the material covered that day can aid the learning process and also reveal concepts that require more elaboration. Out-of-class entries involve short summaries or analyses of texts, or are a testing ground for ideas for student papers and reports. Although journals may seem to add a huge burden for instructors to correct, in fact many instructors either spot-check journals (looking at a few particular key entries) or grade them based on the number of entries completed. Journals are usually not graded for their prose style. STELLAR forums work well for out-of-class entries.

Letters. Students can define and defend a position on an issue in a letter written to someone in authority. They can also explain a concept or a process to someone in need of that particular information. They can write a letter to a friend explaining their concerns about an upcoming paper assignment or explaining their ideas for an upcoming paper assignment. If you wish to add a creative element to the writing assignment, you might have students adopt the persona of an important person discussed in your course (e.g., an historical figure) and write a letter explaining his/her actions, process, or theory to an interested person (e.g., “pretend that you are John Wilkes Booth and write a letter to the Congress justifying your assassination of Abraham Lincoln,” or “pretend you are Henry VIII writing to Thomas More explaining your break from the Catholic Church”).

Editorials . Students can define and defend a position on a controversial issue in the format of an editorial for the campus or local newspaper or for a national journal.

Cases . Students might create a case study particular to the course’s subject matter.

Position Papers . Students can define and defend a position, perhaps as a preliminary step in the creation of a formal research paper or essay.

Imitation of a Text . Students can create a new document “in the style of” a particular writer (e.g., “Create a government document the way Woody Allen might write it” or “Write your own ‘Modest Proposal’ about a modern issue”).

Instruction Manuals . Students write a step-by-step explanation of a process.

Dialogues . Students create a dialogue between two major figures studied in which they not only reveal those people’s theories or thoughts but also explore areas of possible disagreement (e.g., “Write a dialogue between Claude Monet and Jackson Pollock about the nature and uses of art”).

Collaborative projects . Students work together to create such works as reports, questions, and critiques.

Number Dyslexia

List Of 40 Formal Letter Writing Topics [PDF Included]

Last Updated on March 4, 2024 by Editorial Team

Are you tired of staring at a blank page when you need to write a formal letter? Do you find yourself struggling to come up with topics to write on? Fear not, because we’ve got you covered! 

In this blog post, we’ve compiled 25 formal letter-writing topics on professional communication, along with tips and tricks to help you craft the perfect letter every time. Whether you’re writing a cover letter, a complaint letter, or a letter of recommendation, this post has everything you need to know to make a lasting impression. So grab a pen and paper, and let’s get started!

Formal letter writing topics: A comprehensive list for professional communication practice

Since effective written communication is crucial, writing a well-crafted formal letter can demonstrate your professionalism, attention to detail, and effective communication skills. By learning how to write a formal letter, you can enhance your ability to communicate effectively and increase your chances of success in various professional contexts in the future. Here are a few topics for you to practice:

  • A complaint letter to a teacher or principal about a school issue.
  • A request letter to ask for a recommendation letter from a teacher or mentor.
  • A letter to a local representative or official about a community issue.
  • A letter to a university or college to request information or admission.
  • A Letter of inquiry to a company or organization regarding job or internship opportunities.
  • A letter to a school board or district regarding a policy or funding issue.
  • A letter to a news or media outlet regarding a social issue or event.
  • Writing a letter of appreciation to a teacher or mentor.
  • A letter to HR regarding an Application for a job
  • A letter to Request a salary increase
  • A Letter to a landlord giving notice of intent to vacate a rental property
  • A letter to Request an appointment with a doctor
  • Letter to principal to grant sick leave
  • Request for a recommendation letter from a former employer
  • Letter to a company requesting a product sample
  • Letter to a customer apologizing for a mistake
  • Request for a review of a performance appraisal
  • Request for a leave of absence from work
  • Letter of resignation from a volunteer position
  • Application for an internship
  • Cover letter for a job application
  • Letter to a professor requesting an extension on an assignment
  • Letter to a restaurant complaining about poor service
  • Request for a copy of a transcript from a school
  • Suggesting a new school program or activity
  • A letter to the principal requesting permission to organize a school event
  • A letter to the school board requesting a change in the curriculum
  • A letter to the school administration requesting an extension on a deadline
  • A letter to the school counselor seeking advice on personal issues
  • A letter to the teacher thanking them for their support and guidance
  • A letter to the school administration requesting financial assistance for a student’s education
  • A letter to the school administration regarding a concern over the quality of education being provided.
  • Complaint letter about a teacher or school policy
  • Request for a recommendation letter from a teacher or guidance counselor
  • Letter to the principal expressing concerns about school safety
  • Letter to the school administration requesting better resources for students with disabilities
  • Invitation letter to a school event, such as a fundraiser or talent show
  • Letter to the school board requesting more funding for extracurricular activities
  • Letter to the school administration requesting a change in school start times
  • Complaint letter about school transportation services.

Formal letter writing topic

The art of crafting the perfect letter: Tips and tricks to make your message stand out”

Crafting a perfect letter can be daunting, especially if you want to communicate your thoughts and emotions in written form. However, with a few simple tips and tricks, you can brainstorm while writing as you draft a compelling letter that accomplishes your objective. Here are some suggestions to help you create a perfect letter:

  • Identify the Purpose: Before you start writing, determine why you are writing the letter. Are you expressing appreciation, asking for something, or apologizing? Understanding your letter’s purpose will aid you in crafting your message effectively.
  • Consider the Recipient: It is crucial to consider the person who will be reading the letter and their relationship with you when composing a letter. Adapt your tone and language to suit the recipient.
  • Begin with a Strong Opening: The beginning of your letter should be intriguing, captivating, and cohesive . You may start with a relevant quotation, a personal story, or a thought-provoking question. A strong opening will maintain your recipient’s interest.
  • Be Brief and To the Point: A perfect letter should be concise and straightforward. Avoid rambling or veering off topic. Stick to the letter’s purpose and keep your message brief and to the point.
  • Use a Conversational Tone: To create an ideal letter, use a conversational tone. Write as if you are speaking to the recipient face-to-face. Avoid using overly formal or complex language, which can be off-putting.
  • Include Specific Examples: Use specific examples related to the letter’s purpose to make your message more convincing. This will help to clarify your point and make your message more memorable.
  • End with a Clear Call-to-Action: A perfect letter should end with a clear call-to-action. Whether you want a response, a meeting, or are expressing gratitude, make it clear what action you want the recipient to take.

Few notable additional tricks

  • Use Active Voice: Using active voice in your letter can make it more engaging and persuasive. It can also emphasize your point.
  • Edit and Proofread: Before sending your letter, carefully review and proofread it. Check for spelling and grammar errors, and ensure that your message is clear and concise.
  • Personalize it: A personalized letter is more likely to be well-received than a generic one. Address the recipient by name and reference specific details relevant to them.

By following these tips and tricks, you can create a perfect letter that effectively communicates your message and accomplishes your goal.


Writing a perfect letter, email or message may seem challenging, when it comes to making a compelling message that achieves your desired outcome. Remember to identify the letter’s purpose, consider the recipient, use a conversational tone, include specific examples, and end with a clear call to action.

Additionally, utilizing active voice, editing, and proofreading, and personalizing the letter can further enhance its effectiveness. With these tools, you can confidently craft a perfect letter that effectively communicates your thoughts and emotions.

With these tips and tricks and some practice, you’ll be well on your way to becoming skilled in writing like Adam Searle !

formal letter writing assignment

I am Shweta Sharma. I am a final year Masters student of Clinical Psychology and have been working closely in the field of psycho-education and child development. I have served in various organisations and NGOs with the purpose of helping children with disabilities learn and adapt better to both, academic and social challenges. I am keen on writing about learning difficulties, the science behind them and potential strategies to deal with them. My areas of expertise include putting forward the cognitive and behavioural aspects of disabilities for better awareness, as well as efficient intervention. Follow me on LinkedIn

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Understanding Assignments

What this handout is about.

The first step in any successful college writing venture is reading the assignment. While this sounds like a simple task, it can be a tough one. This handout will help you unravel your assignment and begin to craft an effective response. Much of the following advice will involve translating typical assignment terms and practices into meaningful clues to the type of writing your instructor expects. See our short video for more tips.

Basic beginnings

Regardless of the assignment, department, or instructor, adopting these two habits will serve you well :

  • Read the assignment carefully as soon as you receive it. Do not put this task off—reading the assignment at the beginning will save you time, stress, and problems later. An assignment can look pretty straightforward at first, particularly if the instructor has provided lots of information. That does not mean it will not take time and effort to complete; you may even have to learn a new skill to complete the assignment.
  • Ask the instructor about anything you do not understand. Do not hesitate to approach your instructor. Instructors would prefer to set you straight before you hand the paper in. That’s also when you will find their feedback most useful.

Assignment formats

Many assignments follow a basic format. Assignments often begin with an overview of the topic, include a central verb or verbs that describe the task, and offer some additional suggestions, questions, or prompts to get you started.

An Overview of Some Kind

The instructor might set the stage with some general discussion of the subject of the assignment, introduce the topic, or remind you of something pertinent that you have discussed in class. For example:

“Throughout history, gerbils have played a key role in politics,” or “In the last few weeks of class, we have focused on the evening wear of the housefly …”

The Task of the Assignment

Pay attention; this part tells you what to do when you write the paper. Look for the key verb or verbs in the sentence. Words like analyze, summarize, or compare direct you to think about your topic in a certain way. Also pay attention to words such as how, what, when, where, and why; these words guide your attention toward specific information. (See the section in this handout titled “Key Terms” for more information.)

“Analyze the effect that gerbils had on the Russian Revolution”, or “Suggest an interpretation of housefly undergarments that differs from Darwin’s.”

Additional Material to Think about

Here you will find some questions to use as springboards as you begin to think about the topic. Instructors usually include these questions as suggestions rather than requirements. Do not feel compelled to answer every question unless the instructor asks you to do so. Pay attention to the order of the questions. Sometimes they suggest the thinking process your instructor imagines you will need to follow to begin thinking about the topic.

“You may wish to consider the differing views held by Communist gerbils vs. Monarchist gerbils, or Can there be such a thing as ‘the housefly garment industry’ or is it just a home-based craft?”

These are the instructor’s comments about writing expectations:

“Be concise”, “Write effectively”, or “Argue furiously.”

Technical Details

These instructions usually indicate format rules or guidelines.

“Your paper must be typed in Palatino font on gray paper and must not exceed 600 pages. It is due on the anniversary of Mao Tse-tung’s death.”

The assignment’s parts may not appear in exactly this order, and each part may be very long or really short. Nonetheless, being aware of this standard pattern can help you understand what your instructor wants you to do.

Interpreting the assignment

Ask yourself a few basic questions as you read and jot down the answers on the assignment sheet:

Why did your instructor ask you to do this particular task?

Who is your audience.

  • What kind of evidence do you need to support your ideas?

What kind of writing style is acceptable?

  • What are the absolute rules of the paper?

Try to look at the question from the point of view of the instructor. Recognize that your instructor has a reason for giving you this assignment and for giving it to you at a particular point in the semester. In every assignment, the instructor has a challenge for you. This challenge could be anything from demonstrating an ability to think clearly to demonstrating an ability to use the library. See the assignment not as a vague suggestion of what to do but as an opportunity to show that you can handle the course material as directed. Paper assignments give you more than a topic to discuss—they ask you to do something with the topic. Keep reminding yourself of that. Be careful to avoid the other extreme as well: do not read more into the assignment than what is there.

Of course, your instructor has given you an assignment so that he or she will be able to assess your understanding of the course material and give you an appropriate grade. But there is more to it than that. Your instructor has tried to design a learning experience of some kind. Your instructor wants you to think about something in a particular way for a particular reason. If you read the course description at the beginning of your syllabus, review the assigned readings, and consider the assignment itself, you may begin to see the plan, purpose, or approach to the subject matter that your instructor has created for you. If you still aren’t sure of the assignment’s goals, try asking the instructor. For help with this, see our handout on getting feedback .

Given your instructor’s efforts, it helps to answer the question: What is my purpose in completing this assignment? Is it to gather research from a variety of outside sources and present a coherent picture? Is it to take material I have been learning in class and apply it to a new situation? Is it to prove a point one way or another? Key words from the assignment can help you figure this out. Look for key terms in the form of active verbs that tell you what to do.

Key Terms: Finding Those Active Verbs

Here are some common key words and definitions to help you think about assignment terms:

Information words Ask you to demonstrate what you know about the subject, such as who, what, when, where, how, and why.

  • define —give the subject’s meaning (according to someone or something). Sometimes you have to give more than one view on the subject’s meaning
  • describe —provide details about the subject by answering question words (such as who, what, when, where, how, and why); you might also give details related to the five senses (what you see, hear, feel, taste, and smell)
  • explain —give reasons why or examples of how something happened
  • illustrate —give descriptive examples of the subject and show how each is connected with the subject
  • summarize —briefly list the important ideas you learned about the subject
  • trace —outline how something has changed or developed from an earlier time to its current form
  • research —gather material from outside sources about the subject, often with the implication or requirement that you will analyze what you have found

Relation words Ask you to demonstrate how things are connected.

  • compare —show how two or more things are similar (and, sometimes, different)
  • contrast —show how two or more things are dissimilar
  • apply—use details that you’ve been given to demonstrate how an idea, theory, or concept works in a particular situation
  • cause —show how one event or series of events made something else happen
  • relate —show or describe the connections between things

Interpretation words Ask you to defend ideas of your own about the subject. Do not see these words as requesting opinion alone (unless the assignment specifically says so), but as requiring opinion that is supported by concrete evidence. Remember examples, principles, definitions, or concepts from class or research and use them in your interpretation.

  • assess —summarize your opinion of the subject and measure it against something
  • prove, justify —give reasons or examples to demonstrate how or why something is the truth
  • evaluate, respond —state your opinion of the subject as good, bad, or some combination of the two, with examples and reasons
  • support —give reasons or evidence for something you believe (be sure to state clearly what it is that you believe)
  • synthesize —put two or more things together that have not been put together in class or in your readings before; do not just summarize one and then the other and say that they are similar or different—you must provide a reason for putting them together that runs all the way through the paper
  • analyze —determine how individual parts create or relate to the whole, figure out how something works, what it might mean, or why it is important
  • argue —take a side and defend it with evidence against the other side

More Clues to Your Purpose As you read the assignment, think about what the teacher does in class:

  • What kinds of textbooks or coursepack did your instructor choose for the course—ones that provide background information, explain theories or perspectives, or argue a point of view?
  • In lecture, does your instructor ask your opinion, try to prove her point of view, or use keywords that show up again in the assignment?
  • What kinds of assignments are typical in this discipline? Social science classes often expect more research. Humanities classes thrive on interpretation and analysis.
  • How do the assignments, readings, and lectures work together in the course? Instructors spend time designing courses, sometimes even arguing with their peers about the most effective course materials. Figuring out the overall design to the course will help you understand what each assignment is meant to achieve.

Now, what about your reader? Most undergraduates think of their audience as the instructor. True, your instructor is a good person to keep in mind as you write. But for the purposes of a good paper, think of your audience as someone like your roommate: smart enough to understand a clear, logical argument, but not someone who already knows exactly what is going on in your particular paper. Remember, even if the instructor knows everything there is to know about your paper topic, he or she still has to read your paper and assess your understanding. In other words, teach the material to your reader.

Aiming a paper at your audience happens in two ways: you make decisions about the tone and the level of information you want to convey.

  • Tone means the “voice” of your paper. Should you be chatty, formal, or objective? Usually you will find some happy medium—you do not want to alienate your reader by sounding condescending or superior, but you do not want to, um, like, totally wig on the man, you know? Eschew ostentatious erudition: some students think the way to sound academic is to use big words. Be careful—you can sound ridiculous, especially if you use the wrong big words.
  • The level of information you use depends on who you think your audience is. If you imagine your audience as your instructor and she already knows everything you have to say, you may find yourself leaving out key information that can cause your argument to be unconvincing and illogical. But you do not have to explain every single word or issue. If you are telling your roommate what happened on your favorite science fiction TV show last night, you do not say, “First a dark-haired white man of average height, wearing a suit and carrying a flashlight, walked into the room. Then a purple alien with fifteen arms and at least three eyes turned around. Then the man smiled slightly. In the background, you could hear a clock ticking. The room was fairly dark and had at least two windows that I saw.” You also do not say, “This guy found some aliens. The end.” Find some balance of useful details that support your main point.

You’ll find a much more detailed discussion of these concepts in our handout on audience .

The Grim Truth

With a few exceptions (including some lab and ethnography reports), you are probably being asked to make an argument. You must convince your audience. It is easy to forget this aim when you are researching and writing; as you become involved in your subject matter, you may become enmeshed in the details and focus on learning or simply telling the information you have found. You need to do more than just repeat what you have read. Your writing should have a point, and you should be able to say it in a sentence. Sometimes instructors call this sentence a “thesis” or a “claim.”

So, if your instructor tells you to write about some aspect of oral hygiene, you do not want to just list: “First, you brush your teeth with a soft brush and some peanut butter. Then, you floss with unwaxed, bologna-flavored string. Finally, gargle with bourbon.” Instead, you could say, “Of all the oral cleaning methods, sandblasting removes the most plaque. Therefore it should be recommended by the American Dental Association.” Or, “From an aesthetic perspective, moldy teeth can be quite charming. However, their joys are short-lived.”

Convincing the reader of your argument is the goal of academic writing. It doesn’t have to say “argument” anywhere in the assignment for you to need one. Look at the assignment and think about what kind of argument you could make about it instead of just seeing it as a checklist of information you have to present. For help with understanding the role of argument in academic writing, see our handout on argument .

What kind of evidence do you need?

There are many kinds of evidence, and what type of evidence will work for your assignment can depend on several factors–the discipline, the parameters of the assignment, and your instructor’s preference. Should you use statistics? Historical examples? Do you need to conduct your own experiment? Can you rely on personal experience? See our handout on evidence for suggestions on how to use evidence appropriately.

Make sure you are clear about this part of the assignment, because your use of evidence will be crucial in writing a successful paper. You are not just learning how to argue; you are learning how to argue with specific types of materials and ideas. Ask your instructor what counts as acceptable evidence. You can also ask a librarian for help. No matter what kind of evidence you use, be sure to cite it correctly—see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial .

You cannot always tell from the assignment just what sort of writing style your instructor expects. The instructor may be really laid back in class but still expect you to sound formal in writing. Or the instructor may be fairly formal in class and ask you to write a reflection paper where you need to use “I” and speak from your own experience.

Try to avoid false associations of a particular field with a style (“art historians like wacky creativity,” or “political scientists are boring and just give facts”) and look instead to the types of readings you have been given in class. No one expects you to write like Plato—just use the readings as a guide for what is standard or preferable to your instructor. When in doubt, ask your instructor about the level of formality she or he expects.

No matter what field you are writing for or what facts you are including, if you do not write so that your reader can understand your main idea, you have wasted your time. So make clarity your main goal. For specific help with style, see our handout on style .

Technical details about the assignment

The technical information you are given in an assignment always seems like the easy part. This section can actually give you lots of little hints about approaching the task. Find out if elements such as page length and citation format (see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial ) are negotiable. Some professors do not have strong preferences as long as you are consistent and fully answer the assignment. Some professors are very specific and will deduct big points for deviations.

Usually, the page length tells you something important: The instructor thinks the size of the paper is appropriate to the assignment’s parameters. In plain English, your instructor is telling you how many pages it should take for you to answer the question as fully as you are expected to. So if an assignment is two pages long, you cannot pad your paper with examples or reword your main idea several times. Hit your one point early, defend it with the clearest example, and finish quickly. If an assignment is ten pages long, you can be more complex in your main points and examples—and if you can only produce five pages for that assignment, you need to see someone for help—as soon as possible.

Tricks that don’t work

Your instructors are not fooled when you:

  • spend more time on the cover page than the essay —graphics, cool binders, and cute titles are no replacement for a well-written paper.
  • use huge fonts, wide margins, or extra spacing to pad the page length —these tricks are immediately obvious to the eye. Most instructors use the same word processor you do. They know what’s possible. Such tactics are especially damning when the instructor has a stack of 60 papers to grade and yours is the only one that low-flying airplane pilots could read.
  • use a paper from another class that covered “sort of similar” material . Again, the instructor has a particular task for you to fulfill in the assignment that usually relates to course material and lectures. Your other paper may not cover this material, and turning in the same paper for more than one course may constitute an Honor Code violation . Ask the instructor—it can’t hurt.
  • get all wacky and “creative” before you answer the question . Showing that you are able to think beyond the boundaries of a simple assignment can be good, but you must do what the assignment calls for first. Again, check with your instructor. A humorous tone can be refreshing for someone grading a stack of papers, but it will not get you a good grade if you have not fulfilled the task.

Critical reading of assignments leads to skills in other types of reading and writing. If you get good at figuring out what the real goals of assignments are, you are going to be better at understanding the goals of all of your classes and fields of study.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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How To Write A Formal Letter

formal letter writing assignment

A formal letter has been one of the most important forms of communication throughout history. Throughout the globe, writing and sending formal letters is the only way to convey important messages to your colleagues or different organisations. Although, since the rise of modern technology, a large majority of people don’t even know how to write a formal letter properly and get anxious when there comes a time in their lives when they have to write a letter.

In this article, we help you understand how to write a formal letter by exploring its different components and offer you some tips on how to write a formal letter with exceptional flair every single time.

However, for individual who may be a little too short of their deadline, or have too much on their plate to get to learn how to write a formal letter, such individuals can get instant help from our expert writers. We have been providing professional writing help to people of all ages and requirements. Writing academic and business documents require a lot of skill and experience which most people can’t grasp overnight. It is why, with the help of our professional business and academic writers, we are able to write and deliver all forms of formal documents to people who need them.

What is a formal letter? A formal letter is a business document, which is written in an organised and structured manner all over the world. It is to maintain uniformity and ensure complete clarity and allow the readers to understand the contents of the letter, along with additional information, about the sender, in a very accurate and precise fashion.

formal letter written

A formal letter is usually written, to the government or private institutions, or universities. Students often learn how to write a formal letter, since an early age for this reason, because while applying for colleges and universities for their undergraduate courses, applicants, will be required to write a lot of formal letters to universities, as part of their application.

In addition to colleges, formal letters are also the main method of communication in the business sector. Employees, candidates, and organisations, rely on the formal letter format, to communicate with their peers and prospective employees, or other firms.

Formal letters are often written to, HR Managers of an Organisation, customer support departments, making suggestions or addressing grievances, to the principal of a school or the dean of a university, business colleagues, governments firms, private organisations and many other instances, where a formal tone of writing is required. It is for this reason; a formal letter is not used to write a letter to your friends, relatives or family.

Understanding the key components of a formal letter A formal letter involves various components, which are very important and cannot be skipped out. Therefore, it is necessary that you provide extra attention to them while learning how to write a formal letter.

key components of a formal letter

The key sections of a formal letter are:

  • Details of the Sender (From)
  • Details of Recipient (To)
  • Salutations
  • Introductory paragraph
  • Main body of the letter
  • Closing paragraph

Let us have a look at what each of these sections actually requires:

From Section- Details of the Sender: The section is written first, on the left-hand side of the page. It provides important details about the senders and tells them about where this letter has come from. The details you are required to provide while understanding how to write a formal letter are:

  • Full name of the sender
  • Address of the individual or the organisation
  • Date when the letter was written
  • Email Address
  • Phone number

Providing such information is important in a formal letter as it allows the recipient to respond to the letter much more easily as they have all the information needed to send you their response of query as an answer to the formal letter which you have sent.

To Section- Details of the Recipient The section is also an important part of your formal letter because it ensures that the letter reaches the individual for which it was intended. It is written just below the ‘From ‘section and includes the following information about the recipient:

  • Full Name of the Sender
  • Designation
  • Their organisation of affiliation
  • Full Address

Subject The subject in a formal letter is very important. It makes the letter more accurate and to the point, by laying out the main motive of the letter right in the beginning. While understanding how to write a formal letter, it is also important to understand how you should frame your subject line, in order to provide the maximum information in the least number of words.

Salutations Proper salutations are very important in a formal letter because this is where the interaction between the sender and the recipients actually begins. In most formal letters, the most commonly used salutation is ‘Dear’

‘Dear Ms Karen,’

‘Dear Mr. Arnold,’ or

‘Dear Sir/Madam,’ is common formats of providing a salutation in a formal letter.

Introductory Paragraph An introductory paragraph helps you start off the essay in a polite manner and then transition into a discussion about the main subject of the essay. It doesn’t, have to be a whole paragraph, only one or two lines for introducing yourself and providing the background.

Main Body of the Letter It is where you should put time and efforts while learning how to write a formal letter. The body is where you will be discussing all of the important facts and other information related to your subject. It is where you are required to present your writing skills and write a good formal letter, which is accurate, clear and puts the message across in a suitable manner.

Stick to a formal tone throughout your letter and avoid using casual words and informal tone. It helps to learn about your targeted recipient so that you can cater to the main contents of your letter as per their convenience for maximum effect.

Closing Paragraph Just like an academic essay, it is also important to write a closing paragraph while learning how to write a formal letter. Just like the introductory paragraph, the closing paragraph doesn’t necessarily have to be a long paragraph, even 3-4 line may do. However, it depends solely on the context and the main body contents of your letter.

Provide a closing statement, which brings all of your main points together, and end the letter formally by including a good wish or requesting a call to take action or respond to the letter.

Signing Off It is the final section of your letter, where you will include a final greeting for the recipient followed by your name.

greeting for a formal letter

Common forms of greeting for a formal letter are:

‘Thanking You’

‘Yours Sincerely’

‘Yours Truly’

We hope this article helped you in understand how to write a formal letter and enabled you to learn about its different components.

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In this section



Learn About Formal Letter Writing with Examples

Table of Contents

Are you struggling to write a formal letter? Cool! Just have a look at this blog post to know about formal letter writing. Especially, to help you out, here, we have shared the standard format of a formal letter with some samples. Also, for your better understanding, in detail, we have explained how to write a formal letter in a more professional manner.

What is a Formal Letter?

A formal letter is a letter written for official purposes in a professional tone. Like informal or personal letters, formal letters are not flexible. It is a kind of business letter that should be written in a standard format using conventional language.

A formal letter can be written for various reasons like applying for leave, resignation, job, etc. There are different types of formal letters such as sales letters, appointment letters, claim letters, inquiry letters, cover letters, complaint letters, acceptance letters, and apology letters. Depending upon your business need, you can write the appropriate letters of any type by following the general formal letter format.

Formal Letter Writing

Key Components of a Formal Letter

When you write a formal letter, you should include the following components to make it look professional.

Sender’s Address

The recipient should know from where the letter comes. So, begin the letter by writing the sender’s address. If you are the sender, then write your address details in the top-left corner of the page. You need not mention these details if you own a letterhead with your details printed on it.

Mention the date on which you are writing the letter. The date should not be written as 30.08.2021. Leave a line below the sender’s address and write the date in the expanded format. Say, 30 August 2021 or August 30, 2021.

Recipient’s Address

This section should contain details about the person to whom you are writing the letter. The recipient should be addressed with a personal title such as Dr., Mr., Ms., etc. followed by the last name. When writing the recipient’s details, make a note to include the recipient’s company name and the correct address with the zip code.


Greetings or salutation is the formal way of starting a professional letter. The most professional style of greeting a recipient is with their personal title and last name followed by a colon or comma. For example, you can write “Dear Mr.James” or “Dear Dr. San”.Never address the recipient by their first name. You can use “Dear Sir/Madam” to address the recipient if you are not aware of the recipient’s name.

To give a hint to your recipient about the purpose of the letter, add a crispy subject line.

Here, explain the purpose of the letter in two or three paragraphs. In the first paragraph, introduce yourself and mention the reason for writing the letter in a concise manner. Next, in the next paragraph, include the details supporting the reasons mentioned in the introduction paragraph. Finally, in the last paragraph, summarize the purpose of the letter and thank the recipient for spending time on your letter. You can also include a call to action in the concluding paragraph.

Like the opening, the letter should also be closed formally with words such as Sincerely, Faithfully, Respectfully, etc.

Below the closing section, add a signature block. Below the space left for your signature, mention your name and contact information.

If you attach any documents as proof along with the letter, then make a note to add the enclosures list below the signature section.

Standard Format of a Formal Letter

The letter written for official purposes should be in a standard format including all the above-mentioned elements starting from the Sender’s Address to the Signature. When writing a letter, you can use a block format or a modified block format.

If you use a block format, the entire text should be left justified. If you use a modified block format, you can add the sender’s address at the top right corner. The block format is the preferred style of writing a formal letter.

For crafting a letter, you can use MS Word. To present the text in the letter clearly and in a readable pattern, use fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial, Verdana, or Courier New of font size 10 or 12 points.

Spacing is important while formatting. Between each paragraph, remember to add a blank line. The professional letter should be framed without any alignment, spacing, spelling, or grammatical errors.

Here is the standard formal letter template that you should follow while writing any type of business letter.

[Sender’s Address]   [Date]   [Recipient’s Address]   Dear Sir/Madam, Subject:   [Body of the letter]   Thank you for your consideration. I am waiting for your response.   Sincerely,   (Signature) [Sender’s Name] [Contact details]   Enclosures: 1. 2.

Formal Letter Writing Tips

When writing a formal letter, make sure to follow the below-mentioned tips.

  • The letter should be concise and clearly explain the purpose with supporting proof.
  • Avoid writing a lengthy subject line.
  • Do not elaborate on the purpose of the letter. It should be to the point and should not exceed more than one page.
  • Be respectful and write the content in a professional tone.
  • The formal letter structure should include all the components.
  • Add the enclosures section at the bottom of the page if you attach any documents along with the letter, but this section is optional.
  • Professional letters should be free from errors. So, without forgetting, proofread the letter and rectify the errors, if there are any.

Sample Formal Letters

For your better understanding, here we have added a few formal letter samples. Without skipping, have a look at all those formal letter examples and get an idea of how to write an error-free formal letter as per the standard template.

A sample resignation letter.

David Newyork, 10014   30 August 2021   Peter Smith Manager XYZ Corporation Newyork, 10045   Dear Mr. Smith, Subject: Resignation Letter I would like to inform you that I am resigning from my position as Senior Sales Analyst for XYZ Corporation, effective from 15 September 2021. Thank you for all the support and opportunities that you have provided in the past 9 years. I truly enjoyed my tenure at XYZ Corporation. I am grateful for the encouragement you have given me in achieving my career goals. It is XYZ Corporation that helped me gain the knowledge of sales and marketing that I would carry throughout my career. Please let me knowif you need any help during this transition. I will be available to train my replacement. Also, I will complete all the pending tasks before my last working day. Thank you once again. I am looking forward to staying in touch. You can email me at [email protected] . Yours Sincerely, (Signature) David

A sample invitation letter.

ABC University Newyork, 10014   August 30, 2021   Mr. James David Managing Director Infy Technologies Newyork, 10045   Dear Mr. David,   Subject: Invitation to host Big Data Workshop I would like to invite you to host the upcoming Big Data Workshop to be conducted by the Computer Science Department of ABC University. The workshop is scheduled on September 21, 2021 for the duration of 3 hours between 3.00 p.m. and 6.00 p.m. We wish to offer the knowledge of advanced technology to our students and faculty members with the help of technical experts and business leaders like you. The workshop will be held at the Department Auditorium located inside the University Campus, Newyork, 10275. If you are interested in hosting the Big Data workshop and sharing your knowledge for the benefit of our students, please let me know at the earliest. I will make appropriate arrangements for your travel and accommodation at your convenience. Also, I will share other details regarding the workshop once you accept the invitation. Thank you for your valuable time. I hope to hear from you soon. You can send an email to [email protected] .    Sincerely,   (Signature) Zen Paul HOD Computer Science Department ABC University

Final Words

Writing a letter is a kind of art. You can easily write a formal letter if you are aware of the general letter-writing format. The key things that you need to remember while writing formal letters are the format, tone, and alignment.

As formal letters are written for professional use, you should write them without any errors. So, do a revision multiple times and rectify the errors if you spot any. When writing a business letter , be sure to stick to the point and address only the purpose with relevant proof.

You can become an expert at writing professional letters if you keep practicing. Since all the types of formal letters are of the same format, gaining knowledge of how to write a professional letter would help you to write professional letters of any kind. Keep practicing and become a wizard of letter writing.

If you are still confused about how to write a formal letter, then quickly connect with our experienced assignment helpers or refer to the sample formal letter format templates available online. The assignment experts at will assist you in crafting all types of formal letters in a customized manner.

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IELTS General Writing Task 1 – Sample Formal Letters

Courtney Miller

Updated On Dec 06, 2023

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IELTS General Writing Task 1 – Sample Formal Letters

Effective IELTS Essay Connectors for Writing Task 2 & Task 1

The IELTS General Writing Task 1 is a critical component of the IELTS General exam, designed to assess your ability to communicate effectively in writing for everyday situations. It requires candidates to write a formal letter based on a given situation or request.

In this blog, we will delve into the nuances of IELTS General Writing Task 1 and provide you with valuable insights and examples of sample formal letters to help you excel in this section of the exam.

Introduction to IELTS General Writing Task 1

In IELTS General Writing Task 1, candidates are presented with a specific situation and asked to write a formal letter in response. This task evaluates your ability to:

  • Convey information clearly and concisely in a formal tone.
  • Organize your thoughts effectively.
  • Use appropriate language and expressions.

Understanding the Task

There are 3  types of letters :

  • Semi-formal

So before we dive into the sample letters, it’s essential to understand the structure of a formal letter in the context of the IELTS General Writing Task 1.

Now, let’s break down the structure of a formal letter for the IELTS General Writing Task 1.

Structure of a Formal Letter

A typical formal letter comprises the following components:

  • Sender’s Address: Your address is usually placed at the top-right corner.
  • Date:  The date when the letter is written.
  • Recipient’s Address:  The recipient’s address is typically placed below the sender’s address.
  • Salutation:  A formal greeting, such as “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern.”
  • Introduction:  The opening paragraph that briefly introduces yourself and the purpose of the letter.
  • Main Body:  Several paragraphs that provide details, explanations, or requests.
  • Conclusion: A closing paragraph summarizing the key points or actions required.
  • Complimentary Close:  A formal closing phrase like “Yours faithfully” or “Yours sincerely.”
  • Signature:  Your signature (if it’s a real letter, but not required in the IELTS exam).
  • Name:  Your full name, printed below the signature.

IELTS Formal Letter Samples 

Now, let’s explore three sample formal letters that demonstrate different scenarios you might encounter in the IELTS General Writing Task 1.

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Sample Formal Letter #1

Writing a Formal Complaint

Suresh Reddy

7, Rizvi Baug, 37th Road, Old Khar Village, Khar (west)

Mumbai, 400052

Email:  [email protected]

Tel:  8291088561

Date:  02.09.2023

Jayesh Soni

Samsung Inc, Lodhi Road


Dear Jayesh,

I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing to formally express my dissatisfaction with a recent purchase I made at your store. On [Date of Purchase], I bought a [Product Name] from your establishment with the expectation of receiving a high-quality item. However, I am deeply disappointed to report that the product I received is faulty and does not meet the standards of quality I associate with your store.

I would like to provide a detailed breakdown of the issues I have encountered with the product:

The [Product Name] that I purchased is supposed to [Briefly describe the product’s intended function or purpose]. Unfortunately, upon opening and using the product, I immediately noticed [Describe the specific problem or fault you encountered, e.g., “a malfunction in the product’s electronic components,” “a dent on the screen,” etc.].

Considering the circumstances, I kindly request that you take the following actions to address this issue:

  • Replacement or Refund:  I would like to request either a replacement of the [Product Name] with a fully functional unit or a full refund of the purchase price, as stated in your store’s return policy.
  • Improvement in Customer Service:  I also urge you to review the customer service procedures at your store to ensure that customers with defective products receive the necessary assistance promptly. This would greatly enhance the overall shopping experience at your establishment.

I expect a timely resolution to this matter and kindly request that you respond to this complaint within 14 days of receiving this letter. You can reach me at [Your Phone Number] or [Your Email Address] to confirm the resolution or to discuss any additional information you may require.

Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter. I look forward to a swift resolution.

[Enclosures: (List any documents or photographs you are including with the letter, e.g., Receipt, Photos)]

Sample Formal Letter #2

Making a Formal Request.

Vivek Changotia

330, Anna Salai, Chennai

Tamil Nadu, 600035

Date:  05.09.2023

Roshan Singh

ZOHO Corporation Private Limited

11F/12, Campus – 4A, 3rd floorAA II, Newtown

New Town, West Bengal 700156

Dear Roshan,

I am writing to formally request a period of time off from work due to a family emergency. I understand the importance of my role at [Company Name] and the responsibilities that come with it, and I am committed to ensuring a smooth transition during my absence.

A family emergency has arisen unexpectedly and requires my immediate attention and presence. I anticipate needing [number of days] days off from [start date] to [end date] to address this situation and provide the necessary support to my family.

During my absence, I will do my utmost to ensure that my work responsibilities are managed efficiently. I am willing to work with my colleagues to delegate tasks and responsibilities, and I will ensure that all pending projects are well-documented and accessible to the team. If necessary, I am also available to provide guidance remotely or assist in any way possible to ensure the continued smooth operation of our department.

I will remain accessible during my time off and can be reached via email or phone for any urgent matters that require my attention. In my absence, please feel free to contact [colleague’s name and contact information] for any work-related queries or concerns.

I am committed to returning to work on [return date], and I will make sure to promptly catch up on any missed work and ensure a seamless transition back into my role.

Thank you for your understanding and assistance in this matter. If you require any additional information or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

ID:  2140, Digital Marketing Specialist

Tel:  9830456781

Sample Formal Letter #3

Expressing Gratitude

Kiyan Ahmed

9th Cross, J P Nagar

Bangalore, Karnataka – 560078

Email:  [email protected]

Tel:  9132672233

Date:  07.09.2023

Nikunj Agarwal

Astro FinTech Corporation

3461/1, Narang Colony, Tri Nagar

Delhi, 110035

Dear Nikunj,

I hope this letter finds you in good health and high spirits. I wanted to take a moment to express my heartfelt gratitude for the opportunity to interview for the [Job Position] at [Company Name] on [Interview Date]. It was a privilege to meet with you and the interview panel, and I am truly appreciative of the time and consideration you afforded me throughout the interview process.

I would like to convey my appreciation for the thoroughness of the interview process and the engaging questions that were posed. It was clear to me that [Company Name] places a high value on selecting individuals who are not only skilled but also aligned with the company’s culture and values. This has only increased my eagerness to contribute to your team.

I would also like to extend my gratitude to you for your kindness and the genuine interest you showed in getting to know me. Your insights into the company’s mission and vision were inspiring, and I am excited about the prospect of being a part of your dynamic team.

I would like to reiterate my strong interest in the [Job Position] and my eagerness to contribute to [Company Name]’s continued success. I look forward to the possibility of further discussions and the opportunity to demonstrate how I can make a meaningful impact on your team.

I wish you continued success, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

In the IELTS General Writing Task 1, common mistakes include:

  • Not adhering to the formal letter structure: Ensure you include all necessary components.
  • Using overly informal language: Maintain a formal tone throughout the letter.
  • Inadequate detail: Provide sufficient information to address the situation effectively.
  • Grammar and spelling errors: Proofread your letter to avoid mistakes.
  • Word count: Stick to the recommended word count (at least 150 words).

Tips for Success

To excel in the IELTS General Writing Task 1, consider the following tips:

  • Practice regularly:  Write formal letters on various topics to enhance your skills.
  • Plan your response:  Spend a few minutes outlining your letter before writing.
  • Vocabulary:  Use a range of vocabulary to express your ideas effectively.
  • Grammar and punctuation:  Pay attention to correct usage.
  • Time management:  Allocate the right amount of time for each letter.

Mastering the  IELTS General Writing Task 1  is crucial for achieving your desired IELTS score. Understanding the structure of a formal letter and practicing with sample letters can significantly improve your performance. Remember to follow the formal letter format, avoid common mistakes, and utilize our tips to increase your chances of success in this section of the exam. Good luck with your IELTS General Writing Task 1!

IELTS General Writing Task 1 Sample Formal Letters:

Frequently asked questions.

What is assessed in the IELTS General Task 1?

Mention some tips for General Writing Task 1

What is the structure of a formal letter?

How to end a formal letter?

Is it important to segregate the letters into different paragraphs?

Practice IELTS General Writing Task 1

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Band 9 IELTS Vocabulary for Academic Writing Task 1 + PDF

Courtney Miller

Courtney Miller

Courtney is one of our star content writers as she plays multiple roles. She is a phenomenal researcher and provides extensive articles to students. She is also an IELTS Trainer and an extremely good content writer. Courtney completed her English Masters at Kings College London, and has been a part of our team for more than 3 years. She has worked with the British Council and knows the tricks and tips of IELTS.

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A complete guide on how to write a formal letter for students

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how to write a formal letter

We are living through an era of the internet when everything is easily accessible to us. Now, even though we rarely send hand-written letters to our loved ones, but these letters still hold some significance in case you’re trying to reach out to a higher authority with a complaint or a request.

This is the major reason why academic institutions continue to encourage students to write formal letters. If you’re a student in need of some guidance with formal letter writing, then these insights might be beneficial.

What is a formal letter?

A formal letter may help elaborate on an enquiry, a complaint or a request for something that's meaningful to you. A formal letter generally addresses the higher authority with the purpose to come up with a solution.

While writing a formal letter, you must make sure it's not personal and offensive. Also, make it short but not too short. Tell them what they need to know but not what you wanted to share.

How to write a formal letter: A step-by-step process 

Step 1: mention the sender’s address.

If you're not clear how to start your formal letter, this is the step you should remember.  The address of a sender in a formal letter goes at the top-left corner of a page. In this case, make sure you don't write the entire address in a single line and break them into 2-3 lines instead.

The first line should include the house or apartment number. In the second line, write your street address. Thereafter, write your city, state, and zip code on the line below the second one.

Here's an example of the sender's address to give you more clarity.          

16/2, Melville Apartments,

23 rd Avenue,

Seattle, WA 98255

Step 2: Place the date directly below the sender's address

The date should be included beneath the sender’s address. The date is crucial to include in your formal letter because of two reasons.  Firstly, you're trying to get an individual or an organization to perform an action in a timely manner; it will allow the recipient some timeframe to work with. Secondly, the date is necessary if you need to save a copy of the letter for posterity. This is another crucial step that you have to consider when you’re learning how to write a formal complaint letter

Here's how the date is included in the letter:

17 th January 2020

Step 3: Write the recipient’s name along with his/her job title

After you write the date, leave a little space below and then write the name of the recipient, along with the name of the company. In the next line, write the recipient’s street address, after which you can include the city, state, and zip code.

If you don’t know the recipient’s title, do some background research or call the company to find out.

23 rd Avenue, Seattle,

Mr. Steven Smith

The Principal

Lakeview High School

42 nd Street, Seattle,

Step 4: Include an appropriate salutation

It’s vital that you address your recipient with a proper salutation. "Dear Sir/Madam" works just fine in this case, or if you know the first name of the recipient of your letter, address them directly.  

However, you must ensure that you address them formally using "Rev.", "Mr.", "Dr.", "Mrs.", or "Ms.", and write their full name if known. Add a colon after the salutation and then add a subject line between the salutation and the body of the letter.

17 th January, 2020

Step 5: Write the main body of the letter

The main section of the letter shouldn’t be more than three paragraphs. If you can't convey the message it in three paragraphs or less, then you're not being concise enough. While writing the body of the main section, keep the following things in mind.

  • In the first paragraph of the body of your letter, include a friendly opening and then mention the reason or purpose of the letter. Don’t beat around the bush.
  • In the second paragraph, you can incorporate examples to highlight the issue, if possible.
  • In the final paragraph, sum up the purpose of writing the letter and suggest how you might want to proceed further.

Step 6: Sign off your letter with a proper salutation

Make sure you leave a space between your salutation and your name for a signature, if possible. Greetings like "sincerely," "yours sincerely," and "warm regards" are all perfect, in this case. Leave a space under your name, and end your letter with the title underneath your signature (if applicable).

Remember to keep everything left justified except for the date and the closing salutation.

An insight into the formal letter example

. A typical template formal letter is listed down below.  

  • Sender’s address
  • Name / Designation of recipient
  • Address of the sender
  • Salutation or greetings
  • Subject line
  • Body paragraph
  • Complimentary close
  • Name of the Sender
  • Designation (if any)

If you do not know how to write a resignation or a formal complaint letter, here’s an example of a formal letter that you may find useful.

Sub: Approval for commencing the tree planting project

I am writing to you to seek your permission for initiating a tree-planting project that my club members and I had talked to you in our previous meeting. Our school’s Environment Club has resolved to plant more trees for the sustainability of our environment.

Therefore, I humbly request that you look into it soon because we are almost at the end of the term and we wouldn’t like to end it without achieving this objective.

I am looking forward to a positive response from you.

Yours Sincerely,

Amber Peterson

(Environment Club Representative)

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Informal Writing Assignments

Brad hughes, martin nystrand, paige byam, and tom curtis, english.

The assignments below are generally short, informal, perhaps ungraded writing assignments that instructors might consider adapting to their classes. Students often appreciate the opportunity to explore their thoughts on paper in a way that relieves the pressure of a longer, more formal writing assignment.

The Question Box

Having students write anonymous questions about the content of lectures encourages them to think more critically about what they are hearing. Students can be asked to write these questions before, during, and after lectures. They can deposit their questions in a cardboard box near the exit of the lecture hall. During subsequent classes, the lecturer actually incorporates these student questions and insights into the presentation material, usually by reproducing the remarks on transparencies and projecting them directly to the class for comment and response.

Anticipatory Writing or Freewriting

Instructors can ask students to write informally (or to engage in a “freewrite”) about a particular course topic before they read, hear a lecture, or participate in a discussion about it. Such anticipatory writing helps students connect their previous knowledge with new information and prepares them for fuller participation in reading, lecture, or discussion.

  • EXAMPLE (from a sociology course on criminal justice, before lectures about police corruption): “List the factors you can think of that lead to police corruption. How do you think those reasons might vary from urban to non-urban police forces?”

Microthemes or Minute Papers

Brief essays, written in class or as homework, ranging from a 3 x 5 card to a page in length. This kind of assignment is designed to encourage students to reflect on what they’re learning, to give feedback to instructors, and to promote specific cognitive skills, such as summarizing, argument, analysis, problem solving, or hypothesizing from data. Some benefits: students must learn to see right to the heart of an issue, to select only major points; instructors can emphasize a particular issue or type of thinking, can learn what students understand and what they don’t, and can read the microthemes quickly.

  • EXAMPLE (from any course): To be written quickly and submitted at the end of the class—”What was the most important thing that you learned today?” “What were the main points of today’s lecture?” “What questions remain uppermost in your mind?” Begin the next class meeting by reading aloud selected microthemes.
  • EXAMPLE (from a course in gender and the professions): “You are a writer for a major advertising firm. You have been asked to design two written advertisements for a vacation in England, one of which will attract men (Esquire) and the other to appeal to women (Ms.). You think, however, that two ads are unnecessary. Write a memo to your boss and explain why.”
  • EXAMPLE (to promote specific kinds of thinking in any course): Provide students with a thesis that they then have to support in the microtheme with specifics. From a finance course: “Choose one of the following propositions and defend it in two pages: The price earnings ratio of a stock does/does not reflect the rate or return that investors in that stock will achieve.” Or provide students with specifics that they must draw a conclusion from. Or ask students to apply a theory to a new set of facts. Or ask students to explain (perhaps in outline form) a process for solving a problem.
  • EXAMPLE (from a course in physiology): “Some organs of the body are functionally unique single structures (e.g., one heart, one spleen). Others are found as functionally redundant pairs (two kidneys, two lungs). Explain how the human brain might be cited as an illustration of both kinds of anatomical structure.”

Response Papers

These are one-, two-, or three-page exploratory “think pieces” requiring students to react to some aspect of an article or book or lecture. Typically the instructor asks students to take an idea that has come up in class lecture or discussion or in readings and develop it more fully. These pieces of writing should be treated as exploratory drafts; students might pick 2 or 3 such texts to revise and submit for grading at the end of the term. They will be most effective if instructors assign or allow students to choose a persona to adopt, a particular situation to respond to, an audience to address, a particular purpose to fulfill. To set this up, instructors should assign students a professional identity, a situation, and even a rhetorical form (letter, memo, etc.).

  • EXAMPLE (from Professor Lee Hansen’s Econ. 450 class): “Imagine that you are serving as the principal economic adviser to Secretary of Labor Brock who asks you for a two-page analysis of Reissman’s proposal (attached) for a legislated four-day, 32-hour week; this would entail amending the Fair Labor Standards Act. Explain the likely effects of such legislation on measured employment and unemployment, total hours worked, the labor cost index, and earnings.”

Letters to Authors

A personal response to an assigned reading in the form of a letter. The informal style and imagined possibility of letters often makes them easier to write than essays.

  • EXAMPLE: “Pick an author with whom you disagree or whom you admire. Write a letter to this person expressing your views.”

Persona Pieces

A short text in which a student role plays a particular figure, perhaps in the form of a journal entry or a letter.

  • EXAMPLE: “Imagine that you are William Buckley and you are getting ready to debate Noam Chomsky on American foreign policy in Central America. Write down the points you intend to make in your debate. In order to anticipate Chomsky’s own arguments and be prepared, also write down what you expect to be his main points and how you will respond.”

Argumentative and persuasive texts geared to the classroom community or to a broader group.

  • EXAMPLE (from a philosophy course): “Write an editorial for The Progressive or The National Review in which you support or argue against parents’ and doctors’ use of sophisticated biomedical techniques to detect potential birth defects in fetuses.”

Journals (special notebooks in which students write regularly) provide students with time and a requirement to think about course material and to engage in an ongoing written dialogue with their instructors. As Toby Fulwiler explains, journals can help individualize learning and encourage “writers to become conscious, through language, of what is happening to them, both personally and academically.” Students can use journals to

  • record thoughts, insights, and impressions about course material
  • ask questions and speculate; clarify, modify, and extend ideas
  • respond to reading, lectures, or instructor’s questions
  • begin thinking about ideas that can later be developed into more formal papers
  • discover connections between course materials; prepare for exams, class discussion, or course papers
  • gain fluency in writing.

Journals are different from other kinds of assignments in the freedom they provide for thinking that isn’t directly evaluated by the professor; they can provide a place for personal responses and for experimentation. Because journals are personal and because instructors need to make students feel comfortable being tentative and taking the kinds of risks that journals offer, it’s important to allow students leeway in the kinds of entries that they choose to write. Some students respond well to using a journal to sponsor their own topics in an unstructured way, while others seem to need more specific guidelines for journal writing.

Even though instructors do not usually grade journals for content or expression, they should, however, expect students to write regularly and thoughtfully in their journals. Part of a discussion or participation grade or a percentage of a student’s overall grade is often based on the effort exhibited in regularly writing in the journal. (Many instructors give their students A’s for a journal-keeping requirement if students regularly write in it and “No Credit” if they don’t.) One way to stress the importance of journals is to integrate them with other class activities. For example, journals can be used as a place for students to write at the beginning or end of class; instructors can periodically ask students to read entries aloud in class as a way to open up discussion. Students can also be asked to develop formal papers out of promising journal entries. And because journal writing takes place over an extended period of time and emphasizes developing thinking, some instructors have students review and write an introduction to their journals as a culminating assignment.

To make students take a journal assignment seriously and to encourage good thinking, instructors must read and respond to the journals, especially early in the semester. To keep the reading load manageable, instructors often

  • skim journals to check on progress
  • collect journals on a rotating basis
  • respond briefly to selected entries that appear interesting or that students have selected for response; responses can take the form of a personal comment or a question to prompt further thought.

Double-Entry Learning Logs

These are special journals in which students respond to the material they read for class, on the one hand, and “talk with the teacher about the readings,” on the other. In these logs, students summarize key information (rather than just highlight key passages in the books or articles themselves) and respond to the reading—raising questions, drawing parallels, voicing objections, confessing confusion. If instructors respond to these logs, they can focus and direct students, point our ideas for fuller treatment in formal papers, suggest other reading, answer questions, challenge ideas. (Students can use a variation of this technique as they take class notes: in the right-hand column they can summarize, respond to, or question the detailed notes in the left column.) A word of caution, however: journals and learning logs are time-consuming for both instructors and students, and if instructors assign them, they may have to adjust the amount of reading as they assign or else use the logs for only certain readings.

Class Minutes

Summary of the class lecture or discussion, prepared by a student selected as secretary-for-the-day; duplicated for all class members, presented, and discussed briefly at the beginning of the next class.

Course Dictionaries

Glossary of key terms in a course, with students producing definitions, examples, illustrations, maps, diagrams, etc. During the first part of a course, students identify main terms and major concepts; during the second part, students collaboratively compile the course dictionary. The audience for the dictionary is students who will take the course in future semesters.

Students read half a story, chapter, book, or experiment, or a partial data set, and then predict the rest and justify their conclusions.


  1. 35 Formal / Business Letter Format Templates & Examples ᐅ TemplateLab

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  1. Format of letter- General format of formal letter writing/letter writing/handwriting

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    1) Address. The sender's and recipient's addresses are the first item in the formal letter format. Sender's Address: Be sure to include your street address, city, state, zip code, and phone number when writing your address in the left-hand corner of the page. Address of Recipient - Always include the address of the recipient in the right-hand ...

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    If you are using the indented form, place your address at. the top, with the left edge of the address aligned with the. center of the page. Skip a line and type the date so that it. lines up underneath your address. Type the inside address and. salutation flush left; the salutation should be followed by a. colon.

  9. How To Write a Formal Letter

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  10. Formal Letter Format

    Congratulations! You have finished the first part of the letter, and can move on to writing out the recipient's information. 3. Recipient's name and address on a formal letter. The recipient's information (the person you are sending the letter to) should always be formatted along the left-hand side of the letter.

  11. Letter Format Example and Writing Tips

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    Selecting an Effective Writing Assignment Format. ... They can write a letter to a friend explaining their concerns about an upcoming paper assignment or explaining their ideas for an upcoming paper assignment. If you wish to add a creative element to the writing assignment, you might have students adopt the persona of an important person ...

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    The IELTS General Writing Task 1 measures the test-taker's ability to communicate about common practical issues. They will have 20 minutes to respond to a question prompt by writing a letter to a person, company, or institution. Their response is worth about 30% of their writing score and is graded separately from the Task 2 Essay.

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    Assignment Letter Example - Project Approval. Dear [Recipient's Name], I am writing this letter to request your approval for [Project Name]. [Project Name] is a project that will involve [Project Objectives and Deliverables], and our team is looking forward to executing it efficiently and effectively.

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    Step 3: Write the recipient's name along with his/her job title. After you write the date, leave a little space below and then write the name of the recipient, along with the name of the company. In the next line, write the recipient's street address, after which you can include the city, state, and zip code.

  21. Informal Writing Assignments

    Letters to Authors. A personal response to an assigned reading in the form of a letter. The informal style and imagined possibility of letters often makes them easier to write than essays. EXAMPLE: "Pick an author with whom you disagree or whom you admire. Write a letter to this person expressing your views.".