What Is the Standard Way to Write a Letter in English?


Quick Answer

The standard format for a letter in English includes the date, address, salutation to one individual or group, the body paragraphs, closing paragraph and signature. The arrangement of these components, as well as the tone of the writing, varies depending on the audience and purpose of the letter.

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Full Answer

In a letter addressed to a friend, family member, or acquaintance for any non-formal communication, the content and style of the letter is constrained only by the boundaries of the relationship. Some people find that they can say things in a letter to a close friend or relative that they are unable to say in person because of the emotional distance of the person reading something they wrote in another location. A friendly letter may be handwritten, typed or written on a postcard.

A business letter or other formal communication follows stricter guidelines. The address of the sender should be written in the top-left corner of the paper. The salutation should be: "Dear ____." Take care to ascertain that the letter is addressed to the exact person who will be reading it. Content should be professional and avoid poetic language and sentimentality. Business letters should be typed unless otherwise requested by the recipient.

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