Language of Formal Letters

Language of Formal Letters

The basic phrases (Dear Sir Sincerely, Thank you, Best wishes …) that are usually found in a formal letter. These phrases are used as a kind of frame to introduce the content of a letter. By using these standard phrases, you can give a professional tone to letters in English. In this unit we will look at the language and content of formal letters: letters to offices or business houses or to professionals.

In this age of advanced electronic communications, composing a well-crafted letter is no less important than it was earlier. We still depend on letters as a means of communicating our professional, business or consumer interests. Our letters frequently express a point of view, make a case, register an opinion or profess a need. This purpose requires the writer’s language to be precise, formal, friendly and polite. Always remember, writing that is too formal can sound unfriendly, and an overly obvious attempt to be causal and informal may strike the reader as insincere or unprofessional. In using a formal style, we have to ensure that your style is businesslike without being stuffy. The tone should suggest that you are sensible, objective, interested in facts and courteous.

Many people write in too formal a style which contains tired overused phrases like we acknowledge receipt of.. .. after careful consideration.. . Enclosed herewith, I am writing his letter to inform you …. One of the common failings of such writing is either using words that are unnecessary or using wordy phrases when a much shorter phrase would do.

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