Useful Phrases and Vocabulary for Writing Letters in English

Useful tips for letter writing or, to be more precise, phrases which you may need when writing both a formal and informal letter


A. Useful Phrases for writing formal letters

FORMAL LETTERS

STARTING

  • We are writing you with reference to (the above order).
  • With reference to your advertisement/letter of 10 March……
  • We are pleased to have your inquiry of 25 of July….
  • We acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated 12 April …..
  • With reference to your letter inquiring about…
  • With reference to our telephone conversation yesterday (about…),…
  • We wish to remind you that…..
  • I am writing this letter to request the cancellation of........
  • I am writing this letter to complain in the strongest terms about the poor service that I have received from your company.

 ACTION

  • Please advise us as soon as the…….
  • Please open a ………….in favour of (name of the company)……….
  • Payment can be made on any basis acceptable to you.
  • Could you please supply us with information about the company’s standing.
  • We have been informed (by one of our clients) that……….
  • We regret to inform you, (however,) that….
  • Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience caused.
  • We must insist on…
  • Please note that the closing date/deadline for the ……… is 30 September, so will you please complete the attached forms and return them as soon as possible.
  • Any information you supply will be treated confidentially.
  • May we remind you that your statement is still outstanding.
  • Will you kindly balance your account promptly.
  • We are puzzled to have had no remittance from you.
  • You already have an overdraft of….
  • Please give the matter your immediate attention.
  • We will be left with no alternative but to (take legal action)… unless payment is received within the next seven days.
  • Our circumstances do not allow us to wait/to go on waiting any longer.
  • Please look into the matter.
  • We were dissatisfied to find that….
  • We shall have to terminate the contract.
  • On examination we have found…
  • We greatly appreciated your patience in this matter.

ENCLOSURES AND ATTACHMENT

  • We would be grateful if you could forward/send any further information (you may have) about…. (products and terms of payment/this case)
  • We will be pleased to supply any further information you require.
  • We are sending the herewith the……
  • We look forward to doing business to our mutual advantage.
  • We would like to make a decision on this as soon as possible.
  • In the meantime, we suggest that you call the ………
  • We hope to meet your requirements.
  • Please send us by return the terms and conditions on …………..
  • For purposes of quick contact a reply by telephone would be appreciated.
  • We look forward to the opportunity of being at your service.
  • Could you please let us know in your earliest convenience whether the above terms and conditions are acceptable for you.
  • We hope that the matter will be settled to our mutual satisfaction.
  • We very much hope that you will be able to…..
  • I would be grateful if you could spare me a few minutes.
  • As our demand/request/issue is very urgent, a quick answer would be appreciated.
  • Would you (also forward details of charges)………. at your earliest convenience?
  • I should/would be pleased if you could send me …….
  • We trust/hope you will find this condition acceptable.
  • If there is any other information you need, please do not hesitate to contact us at the above e-mail address.
  • Thanking you in advance.
  • I would be most grateful if you would reply as soon as possible so that this matter can be resolved to everyone's satisfaction.
  • Please find enclosed….
  • I am enclosing…….
  • Please find attached….

#1

B. Useful Phrases and Vocabulary for Writing Business Letter

If writing a business letter in English takes you much longer than in your own language, here are a few guidelines that you may find helpful.

Plan before you write.

  • Look up the words you need before you start.
  • Note the points you want to make, and order them into logical paragraphs.

Tone

Write as you would speak in a business conversation. The tone should be friendly and polite.

Names  

  • Make sure you check the gender of the addressee (the recipient), as well as the correct spelling of the person's name and title.
  • Use Ms. for women and Mr. for men. You can use Mrs. for a women if you are 100% sure that she is married.

Dates

To avoid any confusion, write the month instead of using numbers (e.g. January 15th, 2011, or 15 January 2011)

Be concise and clear.

The easier it is to read a letter, the better.

  • Keep sentences and paragraphs short and simple.
  • Use straightforward vocabulary to avoid any misunderstanding.
  • Ask direct questions.
  • Rewrite any sentence that does not seem perfectly clear.
  • If the recipient is not a native English-speaker, it is preferable to avoid words and expressions
  • that are too technical or complicated.

Remember this word order principle :

Who  -  Does  -  What  -  How  -  Where  -  When

(Subject - Verb - Object - Manner - Place - Time)

Examples :

  • Mr. Brown will travel by plane to London on Monday, June 5th.
  • A technician will install the equipment in your office on Tuesday morning.
  • I will confirm the transport arrangements as soon as possible.

Avoid old-fashioned words

Although they are used in legal documents and contracts, words like 'herewith', 'hereby', 'herein', 'aforementioned', etc are rarely used in letters. The following style of sentence is preferable: "You will find more information on our products in the enclosed brochure." 


#2

#3

C. Useful Phrases for Letter about Employment

Here are a few Useful Phrases for letter about Employment.

Openings:

The standard opening for formal correspondence is Dear.

  • Dear Sir
  • Dear Madam
  • Dear Sir or Madam
  • Dear Sirs
  • Dear Mr.
  • Dear Mrs.
  • Dear Ms.

Useful phrases:

  • I am writing in response to your advertisement in [publication]
  • I am writing to apply for the post of
  • Thank you for your letter of [date] offering me the post of
  • I am delighted to accept the position of [job title]
  • I look forward to starting work with you

Closures:

  • 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

#4

D. Useful Phrases for Personal and Social Correspondence

Here are a few Useful Phrases for Personal and Social Correspondence. 

Openings :

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 very grateful to you for [letting me know, offering, writing]
  • It was so kind of you to [write, invite, send]
  • Many thanks for [sending, inviting, enclosing]
  • I am writing to tell you that
  • I am delighted to announce that
  • I was delighted to hear that
  • I am sorry to inform you that
  • I was so sorry to hear 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
  • All the best
  • Love
  • Lots of love
  • Much love
  • With love
  • Love from us both
  • See you soon
  • Once again many thanks
  • I look forward to seeing you soon
  • With love and best wishes
  • With love to you all
  • Do give my kindest regards to …

If you know the name of the person use: 

  • Yours sincerely

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

  • Yours faithfully

#5

E. The Writing Process

Questions to consider while growing your writing:

I. Pre-writing: Time to think

- What do I want to say?
- How do I want to say it?
- Who will read my writing?
- Who can I talk to about my ideas?
- Where will I record my ideas?

II. Drafting: Time to write it down

- Are my thoughts organized?
- Which ideas do I want to develop?
- In what order do I want to say them?
- Who can read this and offer suggestions?

III. Revising: Time to improve my writing

- Have I read what I’ve written?
- Are my details clear?
- Should I add or take out parts?
- Have I used the best ideas and words?
- Is my writing in a logical order?
- What suggestions have others given me?

IV. Editing: Time to make things correct.

- Have I used complete sentences?
- Are my spelling, capitalization and punctuation correct?
- Have I marked corrections that I need?
- Has someone checked my work?
- Do I have a corrected copy that I can publish?

V. Publishing: Time to share my writing

- How should I publish this writing?
- Should I illustrate and display it?
- Should I make it into a book?
- Should I read it out loud?

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Useful Phrases and Vocabulary for Writing Letters in English

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