a formal letter

Formal letters are different to informal letters. We write formal letters to a bank, a doctor, the local council, your landlord or a company. We write informal letters to friends and family.


Task 1 - how to write a formal letter

Task 2 - formal and informal language

Task 3 - type the missing formal words

Task 4 - rewrite Anna's letter

Now it's your turn!

  • Download the 'Your turn'  document.
  • Cut up Anna’s sentences on Page 1 and reorder them.
  • Then rewrite Anna’s letter on Page 2.


Dear Mr Green,

I am writing to complain about the service I have received from your company.

Last month I visited Cornwall with my family and booked one of your two-bedroom apartments.  When we arrived at six o’clock in the evening on 17th May, our apartment was not ready and we had to wait in the car for an hour.

When we entered our apartment, we found that there was only one bedroom.  The children had to sleep on the floor.

The next morning I went to reception to complain.  The receptionist was very rude and informed us that there were no two-bedroom apartments free.  We left your apartment and booked into a nearby hotel. 

I am very dissatisfied with your service and I would like a full refund.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours sincerely,

Anna Jansone


  • What formal letters do you write in English?

Write in and tell us! We'd love to hear from you

4 votes

This is very useful.

0 votes

Thanks for the letter specimen. And what I wish to ask if the pattern is different in regard to the place of date, which I have often seen written just below the letter head.