Letter writing

Learning focus

Learn how to use the correct format when writing a formal letter.

This lesson includes:

  • one video

  • three activities

Learn

There are all sorts of reasons that you might want to write a formal letter. They can be used to say thank you, to keep in touch with relatives, for booking holidays or applying for a job or work experience.

Watch this video to learn about the key features of a formal letter.

Learn how to write a formal letter using the correct layout and language.

When writing a formal letter there's a few key things to remember. The list below will help you get started!

Key features of a formal thank you letter

1. Layout - including address and date

  • Your address should be written in the top-right corner of the page.
  • The date should be written below your address.
  • Below the date on the left hand side of the page, write the recipients address.

2. Who are you writing to?

  • If you do know the person; use their name. For example: Dear Ms M Coles.
  • If you don’t know the person/people then use Dear Sir/Madam.
  • Remember, add a comma after their name.

3. Beginning the letter

Your opening sentence should get to the point and clearly state why you are writing.

  • I am writing to say thank you for ...
  • I write to share my gratitude for...

4. Tone (the way the letter sounds)

  • The aim is to sound businesslike whilst also being warm and friendly.
  • Avoid using too much casual or chatty language.

5. Paragraphs

  • Include all the relevant details of why you are thankful.
  • Make sure that each point you make has a separate paragraph.

6. Closing statement

  • Restate the main point of your letter.
  • Make sure that you provide an action for the reader. For example: Keep smiling and take care.

7. Ending your letter

  • Use yours sincerely if you do know the person.
  • Use yours faithfully if you don’t know the person.

Practise

You may need paper and a pen or pencil for some of these activities.

Activity 1

Test your knowledge of the features of a formal letter by completing this quiz.

Activity 2

Write your very own thank you letter to our wonderful Healthcare Heroes.

Remember to use the correct features of a formal letter.

Top tip!

Remember, checking your work and redrafting is part of the writing process. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes!

Super challenge

Can you make your letter more interesting by using adjectives, similes and metaphors?

Activity 3

Do you fancy another challenge?

Read this amazing story from Newsround.

Write a letter to Captain Thomas Moore congratulating him on his incredible fundraising efforts.

Make sure to include all the key features of a formal letter!

Where next?

In this lesson you have learnt how to use the correct format when writing a formal letter.

There are other useful articles on Bitesize to help you to understand more about writing:

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