Phrases For Personal And Social Correspondence English Language Essay

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Letters remain hugely important in our everyday lives. People still feel the need to have something confirmed in writing and a letter can add the all important personal touch. But there are pitfalls to letter writing. Below are our top tips for getting your letter right.

1. Define your purpose

Before you begin writing a business letter asks yourself:

Why am I writing this letter - what has led up to it?

What do I hope to get out of it (my maximum aims)?

What do you expect to get out of it (my realistic aims)?

What is the best way to achieve this?

What information do I need to provide? For example, dates of previous letters, dates you saw advertisement, dates of appointments, addresses of shops and people, names of people involved, reference or account numbers.

What arguments do I need to use?

2. The first paragraph

The first paragraph of the letter should introduce the subject matter and either state or imply your purpose in writing.

3. The body of the letter

The body of the letter should consist of one or more paragraphs. It should develop clearly and logically the argument and facts of the case. If there is more than one paragraph, each paragraph should focus on a separate aspect of the subject matter and there should be clear links between paragraphs.

4. The final paragraph

The final paragraph should leave the reader in no doubt about your attitude towards the subject of the letter. It may, for example, spell out what you would like to see happen. It should be positive and unambiguous.

5. Achieve the right tone

Although the reader of your letter may be unknown to you, it is important to achieve a suitable tone in your writing and not to be too casual or too formal. So, as far as possible:

Avoid Jargon whenever possible.

Use shorter sentences rather than longer ones.

Avoid using the passive. For example write, 'We sent you that letter by mistake', rather than the more pompous, 'Our letter was sent in error'.

Don't let your feelings get the better of you.

Don't try to be too clever.

Be clear and to the point, but don't be too blunt.

6. Adopt a clear layout

Adopt a letter layout that is clear and consistent. For example, if you put a comma after the person's name in the greeting, include one after Yours faithfully/Yours sincerely; either indent the paragraphs or leave a space between them, without indentation.

7. Sincerely or Faithfully?

If you are writing to someone whose name and title you do not know, use the greeting Dear Sir or Madam, and the ending Yours faithfully, signing yourself with your initials and surname.

If you are writing to a named person, address them as Dear Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms, and end Yours sincerely, followed by your first name and surname.

If you have met them or spoken to them by phone, or otherwise feel that you have some acquaintance with them, address them by their first name and sign yourself Yours sincerely, using your first name.

If you need some extra inspiration then we have sample letters for almost every occasion from letters of resignation to letters of condolence, letters of complaint to letters booking a holiday.

We also have plenty of useful phrases to get your letter started, finished, and on the right track.

Letter Writing: Useful Phrases

Phrases for Personal and Social Correspondence


The standard opening for personal correspondence is 'Dear' but variations include:

My dear …

My dearest …

Darling …

Useful phrases:

Thank you for your letter [inviting, offering, confirming]

I am delighted to announce that

I am very grateful to you for [letting me know, offering, writing]

I was delighted to hear that

It was so kind of you to [write, invite, send]

I am sorry to inform you that

Many thanks for [sending, inviting, enclosing]

I was so sorry to hear that

I am writing to tell you that


Closures: For acquaintances and formal situations

Best wishes

With best wishes

Kindest regards

Closures: Affectionate variations for close friends and family

All my love

See you soon

All the best

Once again many thanks


I look forward to seeing you soon

Lots of love

With love and best wishes

Much love

With love to you all

With love

Do give my kindest regards to …

Love from us both

Letter Writing: Useful Phrases

Phrases for Letters about Employment


The standard opening for formal correspondence is Dear

Dear Sir

Dear Mr.

Dear Madam

Dear Mrs.

Dear Sir or Madam

Dear Ms.

Dear Sirs


Useful phrases:

I am writing in response to your advertisement in [publication]

Thank you for your letter of [date] offering me the post of

I am writing to apply for the post of

I am delighted to accept the position of [job title]

I should be pleased to attend an interview

I look forward to starting work with you


Thank you for considering this application

I should be pleased to attend an interview

Please do not hesitate to contact me on the above number if you should require further information

I look forward to hearing from you

If you know the name of the person use:

Yours sincerely

If you don't know the name of the person use:

Yours faithfully

Letter Writing: Useful Phrases

Phrases for Business Letters


The standard opening for formal correspondence is Dear

Dear Sir

Dear Mr.

Dear Madam

Dear Mrs.

Dear Sir or Madam

Dear Ms

Dear Sirs


Useful phrases:

Thank you for your letter of [date] concerning

I apologise for the delay in replying

Thank you for sending me a [catalogue, quotation]

As stated in your letter/fax of [date]

Thank you for your enquiry of [date]

I wish to draw your attention to the

I refer to your letter of [date] concerning

I wish to inform you that

Further to our telephone conversation of [date]

I am writing to inform you that

I am writing to confirm our telephone conversation of [date]

I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with

I would be grateful if you could forward me a [price list, catalogue]

Please note that

I am contacting you regarding

Please find enclosed

I am writing to complain



I look forward to hearing from you

I trust that you will give this matter your urgent attention

I look forward to hearing your response

I hope you can settle this matter to my satisfaction

I would be most grateful if you would look into this matter as soon as possible

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require further information

Please let me know as soon as possible what action you propose to take

Please contact me if you require further details

If you know the person's name use:

Yours sincerely

If you don't know the person's name use:

Yours faithfully

Rules for Writing Formal Letters in English

In English there are a number of conventions that should be used when writing a formal or business letter. Furthermore, you try to write as simply and as clearly as possible, and not to make the letter longer than necessary. Remember not to use informal language like contractions.


1) Your Address

The return address should be written in the top right-hand corner of the letter.

2) The Address of the person you are writing to

The inside address should be written on the left, starting below your address.


Different people put the date on different sides of the page. You can write this on the right or the left on the line after the address you are writing to. Write the month as a word.

Salutation or greeting:

1) Dear Sir or Madam,

If you do not know the name of the person you are writing to, use this. It is always advisable to try to find out a name.

2) Dear Mr. Jenkins,

If you know the name, use the title (Mr., Mrs., Miss or Ms., Dr., etc.) and the surname only. If you are writing to a woman and do not know if she uses Mrs. or Miss, you can use Ms., which is for married and single women.

Ending a letter:

1) Yours Faithfully

If you do not know the name of the person, end the letter this way.

2) Yours Sincerely

If you know the name of the person, end the letter this way.

3) Your signature

Sign your name, and then print it underneath the signature. If you think the person you are writing to might not know whether you are male or female, put you title in brackets after your name.

Content of a Formal Letter

First paragraph

The first paragraph should be short and state the purpose of the letter- to make an enquiry, complain, request something, etc.

The paragraph or paragraphs in the middle of the letter should contain the relevant information behind the writing of the letter. Most letters in English are not very long, so keep the information to the essentials and concentrate on organising it in a clear and logical manner rather than expanding too much.

Last Paragraph

The last paragraph of a formal letter should state what action you expect the recipient to take- to refund, send you information, etc.

Abbreviations Used in Letter Writing

The following abbreviations are widely used in letters:

a.s.a.p. = as soon as possible

cc = carbon copy (when you send a copy of a letter to more than one person, you use this abbreviation to let them know)

enc. = enclosure (when you include other papers with your letter)

pp. = per procurationem (A Latin phrase meaning that you are signing the letter on somebody else's behalf; if they are not there to sign it themselves, etc.)

PS = postscript (when you want to add something after you've finished and signed it)

pto (informal) = please turn over (to make sure that the other person knows the letter continues on the other side of the page)

RSVP = please reply

Outline: A Covering Letter

A covering letter is the one that accompanies your CV when you are applying for a job. Here is a fairly conventional plan for the layout of the paragraphs.

Opening Paragraph

Briefly identify yourself and the position you are applying for. Add how you found out about the vacancy.

Paragraph 2

Give the reasons why you are interested in working for the company and why you wish to be considered for that particular post. State your relevant qualifications and experience, as well as your personal qualities that make you a suitable candidate.

Paragraph 3

Inform them that you have enclosed your current CV and add any further information that you think could help your case.

Closing Paragraph

Give your availability for interview, thank them for their consideration, restate your interest and close the letter.

Outline: A Letter of Enquiry

A letter of enquiry is when you are approaching a company speculatively, that is you are making an approach without their having advertised or announced a vacancy.

Opening Paragraph

Introduces yourself briefly and give your reason for writing. Let them know of the kind of position you are seeking, why you are interested and how you heard about them.

Paragraph 2

Show why their company in particular interests you, mention your qualifications and experience along with any further details that might make them interested in seeing you.

Paragraph 3

Refer to your enclosed CV and draw their attention to any particularly important points you would like them to focus on in it.

Closing Paragraph

Thank them, explain your availability for interview and restate your enthusiasm for their company and desire to be considered for posts that might as yet be unavailable.

Writing a Complaint Letter

The complaint letter should be written in the business letter format. When writing a complaint letter you want to keep it short and to the point to help ensure that your letter will be read in its entirety, if you write a seven page complaint letter, it's highly unlikely that someone will sit down and read all seven pages.

The complaint letter should be addressed to the customer service/consumer affairs department or the head office if there is no customer service department. The address and contact information of the customer service department should be available on the company's products or website.

Complaint Letter Writing

In the first paragraph you should identify what the issue is and any relevant information that you believe is important. Be sure to include the following information if it's applicable to the situation: the date/time of the issue, location, name of person on duty, name of product, what the problem was, your account number, model number, price, warranty information and reference number. Be sure to stick with the facts and avoid putting emotions into your letter.

The next paragraph should state what you would like done to resolve the situation. If you received poor service, you could request an apology or a coupon. If a product malfunctioned, you could request that you could exchange the product for a new one or request a refund.

The last paragraph should thank the reader for the time. You can also throw in some compliments about something you liked about their company's product or service.

You should include your telephone number/e-mail address after your printed name so that they can contact you ASAP if necessary.

Be sure to keep a copy of the letter for yourself and include photocopies of any relevant documents and enclose them with your letter.

Sample Complaint Letter

65 Market Street

Val Haven, CT 95135


Customer Service

Cool Sports, LLC

8423 Green Terrace Road

Asterville, WA 65435 30 June, 2009

Dear Sir or Madam:

I have recently ordered a new pair of soccer cleats (item #6542951) from your website on June 21. I received the order on June 26. Unfortunately, when I opened it I saw that the cleats were used. The cleats had dirt all over it and there was a small tear in front of the part where the left toe would go. My order number is AF26168156.

2. To resolve the problem, I would like you to credit my account for the amount charged for my cleats, I have already went out and bought a new pair of cleats at my local sporting goods store so sending another would result in me having two pairs of the same cleats.

3. Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I have been a satisfied customer of your company for many years and this is the first time I have encountered a problem. If you need to contact me, you can reach me at (555) 555-5555.



Ken Thomas

Requesting a Letter of Recommendation

Getting a good recommendation letter can significantly help you out in your application process so it is important to ask someone who you are in good terms with for a letter. It is also important to ask someone that knows you well for a recommendation and ask them for it in person. If you are seeking a letter for college or graduate schools, then it is recommended that you request letters from your teachers/professors. If you are seeking a letter for a job, business or professional school then it would be ideal if you got one from your current company. If you have not been at your current company long or if you are not currently employed then asking a previous employer is recommended. If that is not possible seek recommendations from respected professionals that you may know, such as doctors, lawyers, politicians, ministers and so on.

Ask for the letters early on, don't wait until the day before the letter is supposed to be sent in to request the letters of recommendation. Instead ask ahead of time. If you are going to apply to school ask your professor at least a month ahead of time. If you are seeking a professional letter, ask for a letter of recommendation whenever you leave a job.

Assist the writer with as much material as necessary, providing the writer with your resume and a list of achievements will make it easier on the writer. You may also want to give him/her any information that will help with the letter including your plans for the future, your strengths, experiences and other qualities you want to be presented in the letter. Be honest about the information you give, if you embellish it'll catch up with you later.

You should provide the writer with a stamped and addressed envelope. Also if there is a guideline that needs to be followed or any other material that needs to be filled out, you should provide that to him/her.

After the letter is sent out, you should send a thank you note to the writer. You can also thank them in person or over the phone as well.

Sample Letter of Recommendation

562 Banquest Street

Fair Valley, AL 81356 28 September, 2009

To Whom It May Concern:

It is with great pleasure that I am recommending Rose Berdinger to you. I am the Head Sales Manager at Vacuums Plus and Rose has been under my supervision from November of 2000 to August of 2004 as a saleswoman.

2. Rose would be a great asset to any company. She is one of the brightest employees that I have ever had. She also has a great drive and passion for her work.

3. Rose is such a quick learner. Within her first two weeks at Vacuums Plus she had learned all the product names, their features, and how they work. It normally takes a new employee at least two months to get familiar with all the products that we sell.

4. Rose's drive has led her to great success at Vacuums Plus. She has had the honor of receiving the "Top Sales Person of the Month Award" ten times in her last year at Vacuums Plus, which is a feat that no employee has ever achieved here before.

5. I believe that Rose Berdinger will be an excellent fit for your company. Rose has been nothing short of an exemplary employee. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me at (555) 555-555 and I'll be happy to answer any questions you have.



Peter Ziggad

Head Sales Manager

Business Email Writing

The following are some tips to help you when you are writing business letters through email.

A heading is not necessary in an email (your return address, their address, and the date).

Use a descriptive subject line.

Avoid using an inappropriate or silly email, register a professional sounding address if you don't have one.

Use simple formatting, keep everything flush with the left margin; avoid special formatting and tabs.

Keep your letter formal, just because it's an email instead of a hard copy is no excuse for informality (don't forget to use spell check and proper grammar).

Try to keep your letter less than 80 characters wide, some email readers will create line breaks on anything longer and ruin the formatting.

If possible avoid attachments unless the recipient has requested or is expecting an attachment. If it is a text document, simply cut and paste the text below your letter and strip off any special formatting.

If the person's name is unknown, address the person's title i.e. Dear Director of Human Resources.

Sample Business Letter

3519 Front Street

Mount Celebres, CA 65286


Ms. Betty Johnson

Accounts Payable

The Cooking Store

765 Berliner Plaza

Industrial Point, CA 68534 05 October, 2009

Dear Ms Johnson:

It has come to my attention that your company, The Cooking Store has been late with paying their invoices for the past three months.

2. In order to encourage our customers to pay for their invoices before the due date, we have implemented a discount model where we'll give you 2% off your invoice if you pay us within 10 days of receiving the invoice.

3. I hope that everything is going well for you and your company. You are one of our biggest customers, and we appreciate your business. If you have any questions, you can feel free to contact me at (555) 555-5555.



Bob Powers

Accounts Receivable

Sivanesan s/o Balasubramaniam,

IPGM Campus Temenggong Ibrahim,

80350 Johor Bahru,



Director of IPGM Campus Temenggong Ibrahim,

Campus Temenggong Ibrahim,

80350 Johor Bahru,

Johor. 20 July 2009

Dear Sir,

Suggestions to Improve the Facilities In Hostel

On behalf of residents of Block H, I would like to lodge some suggestions to improve the facilities in hostel.

2. First and foremost, I would like to tell about the problems that faced by the training teachers in Block H. Sir the facilities in block H are not much and very few for the amount of training teachers who staying here. For the example, the water cooler easily getting damage at least twice in a month. It is also giving troubles to the training teachers to use the water cooler. It would be useful for us if the water cooler is repaired or changed to a new water cooler.

3. Moreover, we did not have enough boilers and iron boxes in the pantry rooms. Here I would like to remind you sir that the students are not allowed to use their own boiler or iron box. And most of the iron boxes and boilers are in highly damaged condition. So, every morning we have to wait in a long queue to get ready for the classes. So we hope that amount of boilers and iron boxes would be increased in the pantry room so on the training teachers won't face the same problem again.

4. The next is about the rest room. Block H has a well managed rest room but, we did not have enough furniture such as chairs and tables. Most of the students love to spend their time in the rest room by watching television but the television also very old and counting the days for its last day. Other than that, the wireless connection is very poor where the connectivity is very low. The wireless connection also would be turned off on weekends. For your knowledge sir, the students are highly depend on internet to do their assignments and they are facing problems to complete their assignments. It is also would be better for us if the internet connectivity would be improved and didn't turn it off on weekends.

5. Last but not least, the unused tables and chairs that on broken condition are more than the useful furniture. So we hope that the unused furniture would be taken back and replaced with some new furniture. It is quite important for us because the rest room is the place we are getting gathered every time when we are having our block meeting. Moreover, the students also love to do group studies or group work at the rest room. So, it would be better if the amount of furniture would be increased and the television would be changed to the new one

So, I hope that you would take the prompt actions to improve the facilities in our hostel by looking at our suggestions.

Your Sincerely,



Student Chairmen,

Block H.