Elements of a formal and informal letter

A letter It is a way of communicating a message from a sender (writer of the letter) to one or more recipients (readers).

There are two main types of cards:

  • Informal letters. They are written between close people, acquaintances or between people who have a feeling for each other.
  • Formal letters. They are written between people who do not know each other or who have a working or diplomatic relationship.

Example of an informal letter

(1 and 2) Monday, October 24, 2016

Dear friend, (3)
I would like to thank you for the gift that I received yesterday from you. I liked it and it served me a lot! I am very happy to have found you again.
I would like to take the opportunity to tell you that you forgot your daughter’s coat at home yesterday. It has remained here among the bags of the other guests. But don’t worry, I’ll save it and bring it to the parents’ meeting on Tuesday. (4)

Thanks again for your love! (5)
Loves you (5)
Your friend Ana (6)

P.S. I have already released the gift you have given me and it suits me wonderfully. (7)

Elements of an informal letter

  1. Header. The header can be divided into:
  2. Place and date: It is placed on the right side of the letter, indicating the place and the date. For example: Mexico City, March 14, 2013. In some cases, the location may not be included.
  3. Initial greeting: In the initial greeting it is made clear if the informal letter is friendly (affective) or just a notification of something. For example: Dear aunt sofia (affective heading) / Rubén García: (non-affective heading)
  4. Body of the letter. Here you will find the message to be transmitted, the reason why the letter is written.
  5. Fired. It is usually a short greeting, with good wishes. For example: I hope you are well. / Nsee you soon. / Take care and it will be until the next meeting.
  6. Name or signature. It is part of the farewell to the letter. Informal letters do not usually include the full name, nor the title of the person writing the letter. Nicknames and nicknames can be used. For example: Your favorite niece. / Cami. / Mother.
  7. P.S. The postscript is often used to include something of importance that has been left out in the body of the letter.

Example of a formal letter

[Logotipo] (one)

Santiago de Chile, October 24, 2016 (2)

Messrs. Of the company of Light “Enerluz “ (3)
To whom it may concern: (4)

I hereby formalize my disagreement with the Enerluz electricity company, since the San Cristobal neighborhood has been without electricity since the end of February.

Faced with the repeated claims of the neighbors, without being able to find a coherent response from the company, we are obliged to encourage the company to resolve this situation within the next 72 business hours. Otherwise, the energy debts of the unpaid tickets by said neighborhood will be canceled due to lack of commitment on the part of the company “Enerluz”. After this period of time, we believe it is appropriate to indicate that Dr. Julio Ramirez, lawyer for the affected municipality, will file a lawsuit for 1,200,000 dollars for physical and moral damages to the population. (5)

Without any other particular,
Kind regards, (6)

Neighborhood Commission of the San Cristobal neighborhood.
United Neighborhood Advocacy Association (7)

[Firma] (8)


Lic. (9) Rodrigo Andrés Cardenas (10)
President of the neighborhood commission (eleven)

Elements of a formal letter

  1. Letterhead. Include the logo of the company or institution. It can be located in the center, to the right, or to the left of the chart.
  2. Date and place. As in informal letters, the date and place place the recipient of the letter in time and space.
  3. Addressee of the letter. It is clarified to whom the letter will be addressed. Generally, both physical and legal first and last names are used. In this case, a legal name was used: the Enerluz company.
  4. Recipient’s name. In case of having the direct name, it is placed in this section. In the example, the name of the person in charge of the electricity supply cut for the San Cristobal neighborhood would be placed, with name and surname.
  5. Body of the letter. As with informal letters, the body of the formal letter explains the reason for sending it.
  6. Last goodbye. The final greeting is only part of an implicit indication so that the recipient understands that the communication has ended. It always has a formal intonation and does not carry exclamation marks or emotional words.
  7. Pre-signature. It is used when the issuer of the letter is an entity (that is, a legal person).
  8. Signature of the person in charge. The signature of the person responsible for issuing the letter is always presented. If the letter has legal power, the signature cannot be scanned but must be an authentic signature of the person in charge.
  9. Title or category of the signer. Indicates the position or educational level of the issuer of the letter.
  10. Issuer’s first and last name. The full name of the issuer should always be clarified and, in some cases, their document number may be included.
  11. Final clarification. Indicates the position he occupies in the institution.

The PD (postscript), which is usually recurrent in an informal letter, is not well received in a formal letter, that is, as the level of formality of a letter increases, the less the postscript is tolerated.