For my first two General Training lessons I wrote examples of an informal and a formal letter. Today I want to highlight some of the differences between them.
- Beginning: Dear + first name
- Friendly greeting: I hope this letter finds you well.
- Contractions: I'm, didn't, couldn't, there's...
- Questions: Do you remember...? Why don't you...?
- Exclamation: ...earlier than I thought it was!
- Linking: Well, Anyway, so, and
- Phrases: had a great time, couldn't have asked for, working flat out, back to normal
- Ending: Hope to see you soon + first name
- Beginning: Dear Sir or Madam
- No greeting necessary
- No contractions: I am, did not...
- Normally avoid direct questions: "I would like" instead of "Can I have?"
- No exclamation marks (!)
- Linking: However, Consequently, and, also
- Phrases and vocabulary: with regard to, appliance, it was installed, the following day, failed to (meaning "didn't"), procedure, he assured me, report the issue, contacted, under warranty, I am entitled to, replacement, phone me personally
- Ending: I await your prompt response, Yours faithfully + full name
Both letters also contain 'neutral' vocabulary that can be used in any type of letter. For example, I didn't highlight words like 'hosts', 'deadline' or 'assignment' because they could be used in both formal and informal contexts.