Formal Letters for Business and University, Part 2

Continuing on from last week, where we learned about the addresses and dates on our letter, we’ll take a look at the start and end of our letter.

The salutation is the “hello” of the letter. There are several common choices, depending on how well you know the recipient.

If you don’t know their name, use “Dear Sir or Madam,” or “To whom it may concern,” to start your letter. If you have spoken to them on the phone, sent emails, or have met them once or twice, use “Dear Mr. Familyname,” or “Dear Ms. Familyname.” If you know them well, or see them often, “Dear Firstname” is acceptable.

The closure comes at the end of the letter. There is some personal choice here, but “Yours truly,” and “Sincerely” are always correct. In casual situations, you could use “Thanks,” or “Cheers,” if you know the recipient really well. Leave two blank lines, so you have room to sign your name, and then print your name with a period at the end, like this:

Sincerely,

Dave Henderson.

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