Skills Centre

How to Format a Letter

Writing a letter these days is not a very common thing to do, but when we are in a situation when we need to write a letter we must ensure this is something we are doing correctly.

The General Structure of a Letter

A formal letter has a standard structure, which is:

  • Your full address
  • Date of the letter


  • Name of the person you are writing to
  • Their full postal address


  • Dear {Name of the recipient}
  • The subject of the letter
  • The text of the letter


  • Sign off {Yours sincerely / Your faithfully}
  • Signature
  • Your full name

If you are writing an informal letter, you may omit the recipient’s name and address, and you may also sign it off more informally: ‘With love’, or ‘With best wishes’, rather than ‘Yours sincerely’, and sign with just your first name, omitting your surname and title.

Signing off a letter depends on how you addressed it. The rule is that if you addressed it ‘Dear Sir’, then you sign off ‘Yours faithfully’, and if you addressed the person by name, then you sign off ‘Yours sincerely’.

Avoid starting a letter ‘Dear Sir or Madam’. In this day and age, there is no excuse for not knowing the name of the person to whom you are writing. Search the company to which you are writing on the internet and use the correct persons name wherever possible.