Letter writing is an essential skill. In spite of the prevalence of e-mail and text messages, letters are still one of the most important and popular means of communication. Commerce, trade, official correspondence, public representation, complaints and other dealings, transactions and communication with people are still conducted through letters.
Types of Formal Letters
Formal letters can be broadly classified into four types. These are:
1. Complaint Letters : As the name suggest, these letters are written to lodge a complaint. The complaint letters can be addressed to a public/private company or organisation.
2. Enquiry Letters : These letters are written when a person wants to get more information about a product or service or to obtain a quotation for purchasing a product or service. These letters are the most common form of formal letters.
3. Letters for Placing an Order : These are business letters and are written when a customer or an organisation wants to place an order for product/s or goods from another company or organisation. These may also include letters for cancellation or amendments to orders placed as well as acknowledgement of orders placed.
4. Letters to the Editor : These letters are usually written on a topic of general concern and to influence public opinion. They may include suggestions on an issue concerning public interests, complaints or request.
Steps to Write a Letter
To write an effective Formal Letter one must follow the correct format and the steps given below:
1. Sender’s Address : Make sure that the sender’s address is clear and precise. It is written at the top on the left hand corner of the page. Specify the house number first, followed by the street, town/state and pincode.
2334/31, Mangal Pandey Nagar
Meerut – 250002
This portion includes the sender’s full address. While writing the address, one must NOT put a comma at the end of each line.
2. Date and Receiver’s Address : While writing date, always remember the day is written in figures, month in words and year in full figures. The date on which the letter is written, followed by the receiver’s address which comprises of the receiver’s name/designation and the complete address.
12th December, 20XX
The Times of India
Delhi – 110002
3. Subject : One of the most important parts of a Formal Letter is the subject. One must ensure that the subject expresses the main theme or crux of the letter clearly. It must be brief as possible, maximum three or four words.
4. Salutation : The salutation used in formal letters is a greeting to whom the letter is addressed. The form of greeting or salutation depends on the relation and degree of intimacy between the writer and the addressee in personal letters. But in official letters, we may use Sir/Madam or Dear Sir/Dear Madam, keeping in mind the gender, if specified in the question.
5. Body of the Letter : The body of the letter is a complex part which contains all the information the writer (you) wants to convey. For this, start with introducing the purpose of writing. Then build up the topic.
The body includes three main parts. It should be:
i) Introductory Paragraph/Sentence : States the purpose of writing.
ii) Informative Paragraph : Gives details of the problems, cause, effect, possible solution etc.
iii) Concluding Paragraph/Sentence : States your hope, comment, request, suggestion etc.
6. Complimentary Close : This is a courteous way of ending a letter. For this , we write Yours sincerely/Yours faithfully/ Yours truly. The first letter of the second word (here ‘s’, ‘f’, ‘t’) is never written in capital letter.
7. Sender/Signature : Just below the complimentary close, sender’s name is written as a mark of signing off. If application, the sender’s designation may be added in brackets.
Letters of Complaint
These letters are written to complaint against a defective product or service. These letters are written in very polite language. Such a letter is addressed to the relevant person of the company/ organisation/ dealer/ service provider who has supplied the defective product or provided the poor service. The writer will introduce himself/ herself and give.
- Details of the product/ service
- Payment information like bill/ cash memo number
- Model number (if applicable)
- Compensation or corrective action required, and
- Nature of the complaint
- Date and place of purchase/ service
- Names of associated persons from supplier side (if applicable),
- Any other details necessary for resolving the complaint.
Letter of complaint format
You are Gunjan, a resident of Delhi. You are a subscriber of a weekly magazine named Outlook. Lately you have not been receiving the copies of the magazine on a regular basis. Write a letter to the Circulation Manager, Outlook regarding the non-receipt of copies. (100-150 words)
Letter of complaint examples
Question 1 : You bought a mobile phone from a reputed showroom in Mumbai but after a month it developed a serious fault. Write a complaint letter to the Manger of the showroom asking for immediate replacement of the same. You are Sadiq/Razia, 123, South TT Nagar, Bhopal. (100-150 words).
123, South TT Nagar
Bhopal – 462003
17th November, 20XX
245/7, Dr Bhadkamar Marg
Mumabi – 400004
Subject : Apple iPhone Defective within Warranty Period
On my last visit to Mumbai, I had bought an Apple iPhone 7 Sr No.7778906 from your showroom on 16th October, 20xx. The Cash Memo number is MS/456/17-18. Unfortunately , the phone has stopped working from yesterday, which is very surprising for a such a high quality product. It has not been damaged in any way by me.
So you are requested to inform me the action to be taken for free replacement of this phone. You are welcome to contact me on mobile no. 98765xxxxx for any clarification.
Question 2 : You had taken an Annual Maintenance Contract from M/s Cool Service Agency, Panchkula, for maintenance of the 16 Samsung air conditioners installed in your office in Sector 17, Chandigarh. However, the service is irregular and unsatisfactory. Write a complaint letter to the proprietor of the agency. Invent the necessary details. You are Dev Arora, Punjab Coaching Institute, Sector 7, Chandigarh. (100-150 words).
Punjab Coaching Institute
Madhya Marg, Sector 7, Chandigarh – 160007
7th May, 20xx
M/s Cool Service Agency
Sector 4, Panchkula – 134112
Subject : Unsatisfactory Annual Maintenance Service for Samsung ACs
We had taken an AMC (Annual Maintenance Contract) for our 16 Samsung air conditioners with your agency under contract to AMC 23/17 on 15th March, 20xx. At that time, we were assured by your Marketing Executive that your service engineer would carry out a monthly preventive maintenance visit in the first week of every month and any other complaints registered by us will be promptly attended to within one day.
Unfortunately the preventive maintenance monthly visit for May has not been held so far. Last month two of our complaints got unsatisfactory response from your side, as they were attended after 4-5 days. This is causing great inconvenience to us. Our students have started complaining and threatening to boycott classes due to the discomfort during summer.
You are requested to initiate action at the earliest so that you honour the terms of the AMC, otherwise we will be compelled to go to the consumer forum for redressal.
Question 3 : Write a letter to the Director of the Archaeological Survey of India complaining about the damage caused to a historical monument in your city due to negligence.
36, JL Nehru Road
Kolkata – 700017
13th July, 20xx
Archaeological Survey of India
Kolkata – 700001
Subject : Damage Caused to Monument
I wish to bring to your notice the deplorable condition of the Victoria Memorial Monument and the grounds surrounding it. Being old, the monument is in constant need of repairs, which are not being carried out periodically or when required. This should be arranged by your office, as the Government of India has authorised you for this purpose.
Further, the grounds are littered with soft drink plastic bottles, paper scraps and polythene bags thrown by visitors, much to the disgust of foreign tourists. This monument is of prime importance to the history of our country and it is about time the civic authorities should realise this fact. They should carry out the cleaning regularly.
Necessary repairs should be carried out to the interior as well as exteriors of the monument. Security personnel should be increased to prevent littering of the grounds. If these measures are carried out, I am sure the Victorian Memorial will regain its lost glory.
Letters of Enquiry
A letter of enquiry is written to ask for more information concerning a product, service or other information about a product or service. These letters are often written in response to an advertisement that we have seen in the paper, a magazine or on TV. We write such letters when we are interested in purchasing a product, but would like more information before making a decision. In the letter, the writer will introduce himself/herself and give
- The facility/ product/ service required
- Nature of the information required – this may be a quotation, a brochure or other details
- Payment terms like credit
- Any other details required.
Letter of Enquiry Format
Letters of Enquiry Examples
Question 1 : You are Binod/Bhawna Talwar, Warden of the the hostel in Karuna Public School, Allahabad. Write an enquiry letter to the Marketing Manger, Prayag Domestic Appliances, Naini, requesting a quotation for ceiling fans, tube light fixtures and other electric items required for the hostel. Specify the number required of each item and request for credit in the terms of payment (100-150 words).
Karuna Public School
Allahabad – 211001
13th February, 20xx
The Marketing Manager
Prayag Domestic Appliances
Naini, Allahabad – 211008
Subject : Requirement of Electrical Fixtures for Hostel
We require the following electrical fixtures in our newly built school for secondary students.
|S No.||Item Description||Qty Reqd||Remarks/Brand|
|1||Ceiling fans 36″||60||Usha/Crompton only|
|2||Tube light fixtures 40 W||60||Crompton/ Philips only|
|3||Storage geysers||3||No more than 2.5KW/Venus|
|4||Electric ovens||4||1200 W/ Bajaj or LG|
Kindly send us your lowest quotation for the above items. You should offer us wholesale prices as the quantity required is large. The prices must mention the amount of GST being charged on each item.
We request for credit in the terms of payment, as our standard terms of payment for all suppliers we take 30 days credit after receipt of goods in good condition.
We hope for an early reply.
Binod Talwar (Hostel Warden)
Question 2 : You are Sudhir/Sita, the Head Boy/Girl of ABC Public School, Jayanagar, Bengaluru. Your school has planned an overnight excrusion of students and teachers to Mysuru an nearby areas. Write a letter to the Secretary, Ace Youth Hostel, Mysuru requesting him to send you a quotation for the costs of providing accommodation for 15 girls, 20 boys and two teachers for two days next month. Specify the dates when you want the accommodation and any other terms and conditions. (100-150 words)
ABC public School
Jayanagar , Bengaluru – 560070
23rd October, 20xx
Ace Youth Hostel, Mysuru – 570001
Subject : Accommodation Required for Student Group on 10 and 11 November, 20xx
Our school is sponsoring an average excursion of senior students to visit Mysuru and nearby areas on 10th and 11th November, 20xx. The group consists of 15 girls and 20 boys accompanied by two teachers. They will require overnight accommodation on the night of 10th November in Mysuru, will be reaching at 11 AM on the 10th. Thys they will say for two days, departing by 5 PM on the 11th. Two dormitories (bedroom) will be required for the students, one for girls and one for boys. The teachers will require separate single rooms. If you require any further information, you may contact the undersigned on phone no 97456xxxxx.
Sudhir (Head Boy)
Question 3 : You are Rajat Kumar, a resident of 79, Sector 4, RK Puram, New Delhi. You are interested in joining the course in Communication Skills advertised by the Elite School of Language, South Extension – II. Write a letter of enquiry for the same (100-150 words).
70, Sector 4, RK Puram
New Delhi – 110045
12th August, 20xx
Elite School of Language
New Delhi – 110048
Subject : Elite School of Language
This refers to your advertisement in ‘The Times of India’ dated 10th August, 20xx announcing the new course in Communication Skills that you have introduced. I have passed Class XII and plan to take up a part-time job as a Customer Care Executive in a reputed call centre. For this I shall need to improve my communication skills and would appreciate it if you could forward me the details of the course.
Please let me know the duration of the course for beginners and the advanced course as well as the fees charged for both courses. I would like to know if they are diploma or certificate courses. Kindly furnish the details of the address mentioned above as early as possible , so that I can decide about enrolling myself for one of them.
Letters of Placing an Order
These business letters which include placing an order for products / services from another company or organisation, cancelling or modifying orders already placed and acknowledging orders placed on your organisation. While placing an order, the writer has to be very careful about giving accurate information. Any inaccuracies may result in delayed / wrong deliveries with serious financial implications. Such letters should give
- Specifications (with quantities) of the product/ service to be supplied
- Reference number of the quotation/ price list against which the order has been placed
- Payment terms/ credit terms/ bank details (as applicable)
- Required date of delivery
- Mode of transport of goods
- All taxes/ delivery charges
- Any other terms and conditions
Letter of Placing an Order Format
Letters of Placing an Order Examples
Question 1 : Write a letter to M/s PK Publications, Karol Bagh, New Delhi ordering some titles of National Integration books for your school library. You are Sakina/ Saif, Librarian of Happy School , Daryaganj, Delhi(100-150 wrods).
Ansari Road, Daryaganj
20th July, 20xx
M/s PK Publications
106, WEA, Karol Bagh
New Delhi – 11005
Subject : Order for Books on National Integration
Kindly refer to our telephonic conversation on 15th July wherein I enquired about books available with you on National Integration for school children. Based on your verbal quotation and terms of payment, we are enclosing herewith a demand draft no 184397 dated 19th July, 20xx for Rs. 2100/- drawn on Punjab National Bank, favouring M/s PK Publications payable at Delhi against the supply of the following books.
1. Importance of National Integration : 6 copies
2. Swami Vivekanand on National Integration : 8 copies
Please send the above books through courier, suitably packed at the earliest.
Question 2 : You are the Librarian of Army Public School. You had placed an order for textbooks with Dhanpati and Sons, Chennai. As the books did not arrive on time, you have decided to cancel the order. Write a letter to the Manger, Dhanpati and Sons, Chennai, cancelling the order. (100-150 words).
Army Public School
24, Ooty Road
13th April, 20xx
M/s Dhanpati & Sons
12/A Anna Salai
Subject : Cancellation of Our Order APS/33/17-18
Kindly refer to our above order dated 7th March, 20xx for various textbooks for our school students, in which the last chance of delivery was 31st March, 20xx.
We regret that the books ordered by us have not been received so far despite several reminders to you on the phone and also on e-mail. We regret to point out the fact that you have sorely disappointed us. It was not expected from a reputed supplier like you.
As the new term of the school has already started, we are constrained to cancel the above order, as you did not comply with the delivery date and also have not informed us when you expect the books to be delivered.
Kindly acknowledge receipt of his letter.
Question 3 : You are Vidushi/Vishal, Hostel Warden, Zenith Public School, Kosi Kalan. Write a letter to the Sales Manger, Bharat Electricals and Domestic Appliances Limited, Delhi, placing an order for fans, microwave ovens, geysers and tubelights that you wish to purchase for the hostel. Also ask for the discount permissible on the purchase.
Zenith Public School
Kosi Kalan – 281401
11th March, 20xx
Bharat Electricals and Domestic Appliances Ltd, Delhi – 110030
Subject : Purchase Order for Electrical Goods
Kindly supply the following electrical goods for the school hostel at the earliest possible time at the prices mentioned in your price list no. BEDA/43 dated 1st January, 20xx.
|I||Ceiling fans 36″||Usha||10|
|II||Table fans 12″||Usha||10|
|IV||Geysers 2.5 KW||Thompson||5|
Please send the goods to the school on any weekday between 9 am and 1 pm. You are also requested to send the bill after allowing the discount permissible for schools. Payment will be made after the consignment is received and checked by the Hostel Committee of the school.
If defects are found in the products, the whole consignment will be returned without any payment.
For any enquiry from your side, feel free to contact the undersigned.
Vishal (Hostel Warden)
(Mobile no. 99680xxxxx)
Letters to the Editor
These letters are a written way of talking to a newspaper, magazine, or other regularly printed publication. They can take a position for or against an issue, or simply inform, or both. They can convince readers by using emotions, or facts, or emotions and facts combined. They include the following elements in the order given below
- Grab the reader’s attention
- Explain why the issue is important
- State the writer’s opinion about what should be done
- Any other details required for supporting the stand taken by the writer of the letter.
- Explain what the letter is about at the start.
- Given evidence of any praise of criticism
Letter to the Editor Format
Letters of the Editor Examples
Question 1 : You are Prabhu Kumar/Parvati of 17E, Ravi Dass Road, Kochi. Write a letter in 100-150 words to the editor of a newspaper about the nuisance caused by loudspeakers in the city during examination days drawing attention of the concerned authorities to the problem.
17E, Ravi Dass Road
15th March, 20xx
Subject : Nuisance Caused by Loudspeakers
Through the columns of your newspaper, I want to highlight the nuisance caused by loudspeakers blaring music and films during various social functions like marriages, religious festivals, processions etc in the city. At this time in the year, school and college students are preparing for or facing examinations. Such loud sounds disturb our studies during the evenings, when we need to study. If such loudspeakers also blare during the late hours at night, the disturb the sleep of all citizens.
I suggest that the municipal authorities should take strong action against the persons responsible for creating such a disturbance by either penalising them with heavy fines or banning them altogether. Further, the authorities may ask the concerned persons to keep the sounds emanating from their loudspeakers to a tolerable level. In this way, the sound will not disturb students who are concentrating on their studies.
I hope that the authorities will read my letter and take action accordingly.
Question 2 : Many students from different parts of the country come to Delhi to study. Finding affordable accommodation is the main problem faced by them. Landlords charge exorbitant rents and in some cases refuse to rent rooms to them because of their different food habits and culture. The hostel facility provided by educational institutions is too inadequate to meet the demand. Write a letter in 100-150 words to the editor of a local daily drawing attention of the authorities and requesting them to take appropriate action. You are Raman/Raveena, 12, Station Road, Delhi.
12, Station Road
New Delhi – 110054
25th July, 20xx
The Times of India
Subject : Inadequate Hostel Facility for Students
Through this letter, I want to highlight the problem of inadequate hostel accommodation for college and university students who come from all over India to study in the various educational institutions and universities in Delhi.
The hostel facility provided by educational institutions in Delhi is too inadequate to meet the demand. Consequently, such students have to hire private accommodation near to their place of study. As a result, landlords charge exorbitant rents for it. Sometimes, they may refuse to rent rooms to such students because of their different food habits and culture. Thus, these students face a serious accommodation problem, which interferes with their studies.
It is suggested that the educational authorities should provide more hostel accommodation in or near colleges and universities. Wherever possible, independent student hostels, on the line workmen hostels, may be constructed near educational institutions to solve this problem. Only bona fide students with admission letters to colleges or universities in Delhi should be allowed to stay in such hostels. In hope that the concerned authorities will take speedy action on these suggestions.
Question 3 : Write a letter to the Editor, The Times of India, about evoking awareness for the use of solar energy among the citizens of India. You are Daman/ Damini from Vijay Nagar, New Delhi.
81/139, Vijay Nagar
New Delhi – 110051
29th March, 20xx
The Times of India
New Delhi – 110002
Subject : Evoking Awareness About Use of Solar Energy
I wish to make the people aware of the growing need for use of solar power and its necessity. We all know that our mother Earth is showing sings of declining health. It is due to excessive pollution and excessive use of resources, particularly fossil fuels, that is leading to this situation. Man has a desire to lead a luxurious life and for that he is overusing electricity.
To find alternate sources of energy, we should switch over to use of solar energy like solar cookers, solar lanterns, solar water heaters and solar electric panels. All these items are available in the market and the government should subsidise them so far more and more people switch over to this option.
I am sure that by using alternate energy we shall be able to cut down the pollution level and make Earth a better place to live in.
Question 4 : You are Kavita Yadav, a resident of B-3/13 Ashok Vihar, New Delhi. You have noticed that in spite of the government’s initiatives and provisions made for the girl child, the actual school enrolment statistics do not show an encouraging trend. Write a letter to the Editor of a national daily, expressing your concern about the issue and the need to work on a war footing to counter the problem of poor enrolment of girls. Take ideas from the notes given below. (100-150 words)
- Poor enrolment ratio
- Education to all is important
- Effect of gender discrimination
- Government efforts required
- Spreading awareness
- Sensitise parents
B-3/13 Ashok Vihar
New Delhi – 110054
7th March, 20xx
The Indian Express
New Delhi – 110002
Subject : Universal Education for Girls – Still a Dream!
I wish to throw on the prevailing poor enrolment ratio of girls in our country. Education is a human right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that education is given to all.
Gender discrimination and cultural factors continue to make the situation worse. Collective efforts on a war footing and on an individual and national level are needed now. Some parents hesitate to send girls to far off schools by raising their concern for security. Considering this, more educational institutions must be opened in safe and nearby areas.
Awareness programmed should be conducted to sensitise parents, as it is important for the poor to understand the importance of education. Incentives in the form of financial scholarships may also help motivate poor parents to enrol their girl child. With these steps, we may emancipate and empower girls of our country.