Of the different types of writing, letter writing is the most common that we encounter often and make use of as students, citizens, in our work life, among others.

Applications for employment, recommendations, attestations, complaints, etc, have to be written as letters to the concerned parties.

Letter writing adheres to the general guidelines of writing but with some modifications. Understanding the direction and context as well as use of the correct tenses is important.

Letter writing has two different types. The different types are:

1. Formal letters

2. Informal letters

Rules of Writing Formal Letters

Formal letters are distinct from other types of writing in these areas:

  1. Address and Date
  2. Salutation and Heading
  3. Language
  4. Signature

i. Address and Date

One of the rules of writing formal letters is the number of addresses the letter will have. A formal letter must include two addresses, namely,

  1. The address of the writer
  2. The address of the recipient

The address of the writer should be written at the top right corner while the recipient’s address will be written below at the left side.

It is important to include a date in formal letters. This helps as a point of reference.

There will be no need to write the address of the writer if using a letterhead.

ii. Salutation and Heading

The salutation here should be ‘Sir”, “Ma”, or Dear (recipient’s name)

Immediately after the salutation should be a heading describing the subject matter of the letter.

iii. Language

The language of a formal letter is always official. There should be no pleasantries or inquiries as to the receiver’s health status or family’s welfare.  Care should be taken to avoid abbreviations and random observations. The writer’s intention of writing should be made clear to avoid ambiguities.

iv. Signature

A formal letter must bear the first name and surname of the writer at the end, as well as the writer’s signature.

Example of a Formal Letter

Christ the King College,

Gado Nasko Way,

P.O Box 60, Maitama,


6th November, 2019.

The Principal,

Christ the King College,





Thank you for the good work you are doing in keeping our great school together.

We write to bring to your notice, the increasingly unbecoming behavior of vandalism of school property. This issue has grown in huge proportions and is a cause of concern for well-meaning members of the student body.

These acts of vandalism take the form of graffiti writing in various nooks and crannies of the school. Graffiti writing, no doubt, is common among secondary school students around the world, as the students consider it a way of leaving their mark on the school.

This kind of behaviour may be seen by students as high school fun or youthful exuberance but the graffiti writing has taken a turn into the immoral as students write abusive words on the walls and other surfaces of the school. These messages often throw derogatory and unprintable words at school officials, teachers and fellow students. 

Although this vandalism is found in almost every part of the school, the toilets are the most defaced with abusive and immoral words. Even portions of the library did not escape this hooliganism.

Sir, we would appreciate any action to minimize this assault on our morals.

Thank you as we look forward to your response.

Yours faithfully,

Joshua Agbi

Leo Onoja

Rebecca John


We would love to hear from you

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