Writing Correspondence

Letter Formats

Common Formats:

Full Block



When you choose to correspond via letter, you need to realize that letters come with a long tradition of formal expectations about parts and layout. Understanding which layout to use can make a significant impression on the overall effect of the message of your letter.

For example, if you chose a less formal or personal layout for a letter of inquiry for a research position with a governmental agency, your layout does not match the purpose of your communication. Many readers won't bother to read a letter that looks unprofessional.

Because many people within business and industry expect certain formats or layouts for specific types of letters, you have to have a good working knowledge of these formats. Only then can you best match your layout with your intended message.

The most commonly used layouts for letters are:

After reviewing the three types of formats, answer the following questions:

  1. Which is the most formal format for a letter?
    1. Simplified
    2. Full-Block
    3. Semi-Block
    4. Cinder Block

  2. If the date is flush right, where is the inside address?
    1. Aligned under the date
    2. Flush left
    3. Center

  3. If paragraphs are indented, where will the signature be?
    1. Aligned under the date
    2. Flush left
    3. Center

  4. If the letter does NOT have a salutation section, what should it have?
    1. To whom it may concern
    2. A subject line in CAPS
    3. Nothing

Learn the parts of a letter -->

Copyright 2001 - James Dubinsky, Marie C. Paretti, Mark Armstrong