How to write a letter: 15 steps (with pictures)

How to write a letter: 15 steps (with pictures)
How to write a letter: 15 steps (with pictures)

Knowing how to write a letter is fundamental, as this skill will serve you well in your business, at school and in your personal relationships. Thus, you will be able to communicate information, express your desires or your affection. However, you will need to follow a few simple rules to present your letter correctly.


Method 1 of 2: Write an official letter

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Step 1. Know when to write an official letter

Such a letter allows you to communicate with a person in a professional context. This includes letters written to government departments or businesses. Usually, you do not know the recipient of the letter well.

  • These letters should be entered and then printed. For this purpose, you can use any word processing software, such as "Microsoft Word", "OpenOffice" or "TextEdit". If the letter is urgent or the recipient prefers email, you can email them.
  • When talking to your boss or a coworker, you can be a little less strict. Usually, an email is sufficient and you do not need to enter an address at the top of the page.
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Step 2. Write your address and date at the top of the page

Also write your name and address at the top of the page on the left. If you're writing a business letter, use the company name and address, or write your letter on letterhead. Either way, skip two lines, then enter today's date.

  • Write the full date. It is best to write out the name of the month entirely, for example: "September 19, 2014". Otherwise you can also write: "19/9/14".
  • Do not put a date in an email.
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Step 3. Write the name and address of the recipient

Skip two lines, then enter the recipient's contact information. This step is not necessary, if it is an email. Write the following inscriptions each on a separate line:

  • function or full title and name,
  • the name of the company or organization (if applicable),
  • full address (use two or more lines if necessary).
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Step 4. Write an appeal form

Skip a line, then you can greet the recipient by writing the word "dear" followed by their name. You will need to use the first or last name and first name, but never the first name alone. Include the title or function abbreviation where applicable.

  • If you only know the function of the recipient, you can write for example: "to mister the director of health" or a similar expression. It is usually possible to find the recipient's name by searching online. So, you will have to try this formula first.
  • If you have no information, just write “madam, sir” or “to whom it may concern”. This last expression looks a bit dry or old-fashioned, so avoid using it as much as possible.
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Step 5. Write the letter

The beginning of a formal letter should contain a clear statement of the purpose. Do not start your letter with a colloquial expression like "hi", but write a formal appeal form instead. Likewise, never end your letter with a buzzword like "see you", but use a classic polite phrase. Proofread your letter to correct any spelling or grammar errors. You can also ask a friend to help you.

If you are writing a business letter, be concise and to the point. If you are writing to a distant relative or in a social relationship, you can adopt a lighter style. However, try not to exceed one page

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Step 6. Write a complimentary conclusion

In fact, it's about concluding your letter on a favorable note, addressing the recipient with an appropriate polite phrase. Skip two lines after the last paragraph, then write your salutation. For formal letters, limit yourself to phrases such as "Please accept the expression of my deep respect" or "Please receive my best regards". Then affix your signature.

  • For a formal letter, skip about four lines after the salutation, then enter your first and last name. Print the letter, then affix your signature in blue or black ink in the space thus delimited.
  • In an official email, type your first and last name after the salutation.
  • By putting your name at the bottom of an official letter, you can use your title of civility. For example, a married woman could sign using the expression “Mrs. Amanda Smith”.
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Step 7. Fold the letter if you want

If you are sending a letter by post, it is best to fold it into three parts. First, fold the bottom of the sheet to cover two-thirds of the page, then fold the top part down to match the crease with the bottom of the sheet. By doing this, you can be sure that the letter will fit in most envelopes.

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Step 8. Write the recipient's address on the envelope

Determine the middle of the envelope lengthwise and widthwise and write the recipient's full address in this location:

  • Mr. Jean Martin
  • 123 abc street
  • Paris, 75099
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Step 9. Write the sender's address on the back of the envelope, if applicable

Thus, if for some reason the Postal Service cannot deliver your letter, they can return it to the sender's address at no additional cost. Write your address in the format you used for the recipient's address (see above). The only difference is that you can just enter your name without mentioning your first name.

Method 2 of 2: Write an informal letter

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Step 1. Determine the degree of formality of your letter

The style of your letter will depend on the nature of your relationship with the recipient. Here are some suggestions you can take inspiration from.

  • Stick to a semi-formal style, if you are writing to an elderly or distant relative or social relation. If the person in question has already emailed you, you can reply with an email. Otherwise, it is better to send him a handwritten letter.
  • If you are writing to a close friend or family member, you can also send either an email or a handwritten letter.
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Step 2. Greet the caller

The formula you use will depend on your relationship with him and the degree of formality of the letter. Here are some suggestions.

  • If you are writing a semi-formal letter, you can start with "dear" or "hello". Use the recipient's first name if you are used to calling them by their first name. Otherwise, you will need to use an appropriate title such as "sir" or "madam".
  • If the letter is informal, you can precede the first name of your correspondent with words such as "dear" or "hello" or a more casual term such as "hi".
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Step 3. Start the letter

Go to the next line and start writing. If your letter is personal, you will need to discuss the recipient's health first. You can use a pretty strict expression like, "I hope you are doing well" or be more laid back and ask him how he is. Imagine that your correspondent is in front of you. How are you going to talk to him?

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Step 4. Write the content of your letter

The main purpose of a letter is to communicate. You will need to give the recipient fairly detailed information about your situation. For example, don't just say “thank you for the gift” to your grandmother. Instead, show him that he means something to you: “I spent the whole night with my friends having fun with the game you gave me. Thank you so much ! »Whatever the subject, you will have to give information to your correspondent.

Identify the topics to avoid. You should not send a letter written out of anger or to induce pity. If you have written such a letter before and are not sure what to do with it, put it aside for a few days before sending it out. Indeed, you may change your mind in the meantime

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Step 5. Complete the letter

The close of an informal letter should reflect your relationship with the recipient. If you are writing to your spouse, a dear friend or a close family member, you can use phrases like "affectionately", "tenderly" or "hugs". For a slightly more formal letter, it would be better to use an expression like "sincerely", "cordially" or "with best regards".

  • If you like the classic style, dedicate your last sentence to close your letter. Originally, this way was considered formal. However, you can have fun using it to end a letter to a friend. For example, you could write your last sentence like this: “I remain, as always, your devoted servant”. Then enter your name.
  • If you want to add a few words after your signature, use a "postscript" (P.-S.).
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Step 6. Send the letter

Place your letter in an envelope. Affix a stamp, then write the recipient's address before delivering the letter to the Postal Service.


  • In order to write your letter, choose a topic that might be of interest to the recipient.
  • Calling terms like "dear" are followed by a comma.
  • When writing a letter of complaint, try to be polite and reasonable. Thus, you will increase your chances of receiving a favorable response.
  • To print an official letter, use the correct weight paper (90 to 100 g / m2).
  • If you are sending an official or semi-formal email, make sure your email address is respectable. An address like "starry sweet 189" will be taken with much less seriousness than an address like "jeanne.martin".
  • Write your letters in blue or black ink.
  • Check that you have written the address correctly.
  • Indent the first line of your paragraphs.
  • Remember to proofread your letter at least twice.

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