How To

How To Write A Letter


How To Write A Letter

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How To Write A Letter

How To Write A Letter

How to Write a Letter in Standard American English

Written communication remains an essential part of professional and social interactions. Composing a well-written letter in Standard American English can make a lasting impression and effectively convey your message. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you master the art of letter writing:

1. Structure

a. Heading:

  • The heading includes your contact information and the date the letter was written.
  • Write your address on the first line, followed by the city, state, and zip code on the second line.
  • On the third line, write the date in the format: Month Day, Year

123 Main Street
Anytown, CA 12345
April 10, 2023

b. Inside Address:

  • The inside address contains the recipient’s name and contact information.
  • Use a formal salutation, such as "Dear Mr./Ms./Dr. Last Name."
  • For business letters, include the company name and address below the recipient’s name.

John Doe, Esq.
1000 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

c. Body:

  • The body is the main part of the letter where you convey your message.
  • Use clear and concise language.
  • Organize your thoughts logically, starting with an introduction, followed by the main points, and ending with a conclusion.
  • Use paragraphs to separate different topics.
  • Be specific and provide supporting evidence when necessary.

d. Closing:

  • The closing is a formal way to end the letter.
  • Use a closing salutation, such as "Sincerely," "Respectfully," or "Yours truly."
  • Leave four lines of space for your signature.
  • Type your name below the signature line.


Jane Doe

2. Language and Style

  • Use Standard American English and avoid slang or informal language.
  • Use active voice over passive voice.
  • Proofread your letter carefully for any errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

3. Formatting

  • Use a standard font size, such as 12pt Times New Roman or Arial.
  • Left-align your text and single-space within paragraphs.
  • Double-space between paragraphs.
  • Use one-inch margins on all sides.

4. Special Considerations

a. Business Letters:

  • Use letterhead with your company logo and contact information.
  • Include a reference line after the inside address, such as "RE: Proposal for Marketing Campaign."
  • Use a professional tone and avoid using "I" or "me."

b. Personal Letters:

  • You can use a more informal and personal tone.
  • Start with a warm salutation, such as "My Dearest Friend."
  • Share personal news and updates.
  • End with a loving sign-off, such as "With love," or "Best wishes."


Q: What is the difference between "Dear" and "Dear Mr./Ms./Dr."?
A: "Dear" is less formal and can be used for personal letters or when the recipient’s name is not known. "Dear Mr./Ms./Dr." is more formal and should be used for business or professional letters.

Q: How do I address a company in an inside address?
A: Use the company name in place of the person’s name. For example:
XYZ Corporation
123 Main Street
Anytown, CA 12345

Q: What should I do if I don’t know the recipient’s name?
A: If you don’t know the recipient’s name, you can use the following generic salutations:

  • "To Whom It May Concern" (formal)
  • "Dear Hiring Manager" (for job applications)

Q: How long should a letter be?
A: The length of the letter will depend on the complexity of the subject matter. Generally, business letters should be no longer than one page. Personal letters can be longer, but keep it concise and engaging.

Q: What is a reference line?
A: A reference line is a line that helps the recipient identify the purpose of the letter. It is typically used in business letters and is placed after the inside address. For example:
RE: Proposal for Marketing Campaign

Q: How do I sign a letter?
A: Sign the letter in black or blue ink. Use your full name, and make sure your signature is legible.