Writing Formal and Informal Letters
I’ve been lying here on my camp bed and watching this creepy black and orange spider crawling up the tent wall.

Writing Formal and Informal Letters

This English Language quiz is called 'Writing Formal and Informal Letters' and it has been written by teachers to help you if you are studying the subject at middle school. Playing educational quizzes is a fabulous way to learn if you are in the 6th, 7th or 8th grade - aged 11 to 14.

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There are two types of letter styles: formal and informal. Formal Letters are letters written to businesses or to clients and/or customers of a business or to a professional person who is not well known. An example of a salutation (greeting) in a formal letter would be: Dear Miss ___: or To Whom It May Concern: -- Notice that after “Miss___” and “To Whom It May Concern” a colon is used.

Informal Letters are letters that you would write to close family members and friends. The language you use is more open and friendly. An example of a salutation (greeting) in an informal letter would be: Hi Matt, -- Notice that “Matt” is followed by a comma rather than a colon.

Whether you are writing a formal letter or an informal letter, both letters must follow the same pattern. The order of the pattern is as follows:

  • Provide contact information
  • Provide the current date
  • Provide a salutation (greeting)
  • Write the body of the letter
  • Provide a closing, such as “Sincerely yours,”
  • Sign the letter underneath the closing
For the numbered items below, determine whether what is written is a salutation, the body, the contact information, the date, the closing or whether it would go in a formal letter or an informal letter.
1.
December 18, 2013
Formal letter
Informal letter
The closing
The date
As this is a date, there is no way to determine if it is provided on an informal or formal letter. Neither Answer (a) nor (b) is correct. It is also clearly not a closing which leaves us with Answer (d), the current date of the letter.
2.
To the Director of Science at Harvard University:
The body
Formal letter
Informal letter
Contact information
This is clearly not what would be contained in the body of a letter nor is it the closing or contact information. It does not appear to be friendly but, rather is very formal. Therefore, this would be the salutation of a formal letter. Answer (b) is the correct answer.
3.
Howdy Dad, I’ve been lying here on my camp bed and watching this creepy black and orange spider crawling up the tent wall. Gee whiz, I hope it’s not poisonous.
Informal letter
Formal letter
Contact information
The closing
I think it is rather easy to rule out that this is either contact information or the closing so Answers (c) and (d) are not correct. It also opens with “Howdy Dad,” followed by a comma. That shows that it is definitely not a formal letter. Therefore, Answer (a) is the correct answer as it belongs in an informal letter.
4.
Looking back over the years that we have been friends, I find it almost shocking at how much our lives have paralleled each other. We got married in the same year. We had our first child in the same year and now, we both lost our husbands in the same year. How do you explain that? I don’t think it is just coincident.
Contact information
The closing
The body
The salutation
As the contents appear to show that the person who is being written to is someone the writer has known for a very long time, this language would be found in an informal letter. This is also not a salutation or closing or the contact information. It would be found in the body of a letter. Answer (c) is the correct answer.
5.
To Captain John Andrews:
Contact information
The salutation
The closing
The body
This writing does not provide contact information nor is it a closing so Answers (a) and (c) are not the correct answers. There is also not enough information for it to be the body of a letter. That leaves us with Answer (b) the salutation or the greeting. As the salutation is followed by a colon, we also know that it will be part of a formal letter.
6.
Meeting you at the seminar was a blessing in disguise. My company has been looking for someone with your very talents. I and my colleagues would be honored to have you come and check out our facilities so we can show you around and let you get a feel of who we are and what we do.
Informal letter
The salutation
The body
The closing
As the contents appear to show that the person who is being written to is someone the writer just recently met, this language would not be found in an informal letter. This is also not a salutation or closing. It would be, however, found in the body of a letter. Answer (c) is the correct answer.
7.
With warm regards,
The closing
The salutation
The body
Informal letter
We do not have enough information here to know if this is part of a formal or informal letter so Answer (d) is not correct. There is also not a greeting so Answer (b) would be incorrect as well. As the body of a letter would provide detail, we can easily rule out Answer (c). Answer (a) is the correct answer as this is an example of a closing to a letter.
8.
The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
The salutation
The closing
Formal letter
Contact information
There is not enough information here to determine whether this is part of a formal or informal letter so Answer (c) is not correct. It is also not a closing which rules out Answer (b). It is also not the salutation. The absence of both a comma and a colon are quick clues to this. Answer (a) is not correct. This information should be provided in the contact information. Therefore, Answer (d) is the correct answer.
9.
I am writing to you to see if you have any openings in your company. I recently graduated from UCLA and will be travelling to Texas in a few weeks. I would love to be able to visit your facilities and meet with you.
Informal
Formal letter
The closing
Contact information
This writing does not provide any contact information nor is it a closing so we know than we can easily rule out Answers (c) and (d). The writing style seems to be more business than friendly so we can rule out Answer (a). Answer (b) is the correct answer we need here as this is a formal letter to a business.
10.
Hi Mom, I just arrived at my new dorm.
The signature
Formal letter
The date
The salutation
The first answer we can quickly rule out is Answer (a) as this is clearly not a signature. It is also not displaying a date so Answer (c) would not be correct either. When writing a formal letter, the greeting is followed by a colon. This writing does not show a colon so we know it is not part of a formal letter. Answer (d), however, is the correct answer as it shows the salutation “Hi Mom,” followed by a comma. It is also part of an informal letter.
Author:  Christine G. Broome

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