The Rules of Formal Writing for Small Business

Before you begin writing to promote your small business (an article, essay, story or letter) you should think about what audience it is going to address. Your work is dependable on may factors. One thing you should be careful about is the style of writing you are goingWriting to use. There are two major types of styles – formal and informal. As far as formal style of writing is concerned, there are a number of strict rules that should be followed in order to write a good, succinct article. Here we provide for you some rules of formal writing. Have a look.

General Rules

  • Contractions are not acceptable in formal writing so do not use them.

isn’t → is not
aren’t → are not
can’t → cannot
shouldn’t → should not

  • Do not begin a sentence with BUT, AND, SO, THIS and IT. This is considered a weak sentence.
  • Do not write as if you are writing an email. Slangs, abbreviations and symbols are not okay. Don’t use the following: b/c for because; w/out for without, & for and; lol for laugh out loud, u for you and :).
  • Write simple, concise sentences.
  • Do not use PASSIVE VOICE.

Active: She wrote that article.
Passive: That article was written by her.

Formal Letters

The main idea is to write in a simple and clear way. Try to be as precise as possible. Don’t make the letter too long if you don’t have much to say. Contractions are to be avoided too.

1. Formatting

First off, start with your address. Put it down in the top right corner of the letter. Then on the left include the address of the recipient.


  • Dear Mr Longfellow,
    (if you know the name of the person, use their last name to address them, adding the title Mrs, Miss, Mr, Dr, etc; if you are not sure whether a woman uses Mrs or Miss, go for Ms, which is for both single and married women)
  • Dear Sir or Madam
    (if you don’t know the name of the person)
    You may also start with “To whom it may concern…”

You end a letter with:

  • Yours truly/sincerely
    (if you know the name of the person you are writing to)
  • Yours faithfully
    (if you don’t know the name of the person you are writing to)
  • Finish with your signature

2. Content and helpful phrases

General formal letters

Why you are writing:

  • I am writing with regard to…/ I am writing regarding your…
  • I am writing in response to your…

How you end a general letter:

  • I look forward to… (hearing from you/your reply)
  • Yours faithfully/sincerely (already discussed)

Letters of Complaint

Why you are writing:

  • I am writing to complain about
  • I am writing in order to…

How to introduce the complaint:

  • First of all
  • In the first place
  • My first concern…
  • The problem is…

How to introduce the next arguments:

  • In addition
  • In the second place
  • Second
  • Not only… but also
  • Furthermore

How to demand action:

  • I would appreciate it if you…
  • I would be grateful if you…
  • I suggest that…

How you end a letter of complaint:

  • I look forward to:
  • hearing from you
  • receiving an explanation
  • receiving a full refund

Letters that Provide Information

Why you are writing:

  • I am writing to:
  • inform you about
  • let you know that
  • provide you with information about

Your first point:

  • I would like to begin with…
  • The first thing I need/would like to to tell you
  • First I want to inform you that/about…

Further points:

  • Furthermore…
  • Another point I would like to add
  • I would also like to… (inform you that/let you know that)

How you end a letter:

  • Should you require further information…
  • Please do not hesitate to contact me, if you…
  • If you need more information on the subject, please let me know

Our last point would be about sexist language. It is not tolerated in formal writing. What does this mean? That you should not use “he” as a generic pronoun. Instead you have to use “they”.

For example:

An Internet user is supposed to pay HIS bills. WRONG!
An Internet user is supposed to pay THEIR bills. CORRECT!

About Jack Sheamus

Jack Shamus loves to write about small business. He runs and has a lot to share with his readers.