English Notes

Formal and Informal Letters

A      Formal letters: Formal letters are letters we write to people in their  official  positions. These people are normally those we do not know personally, who hold official positions in establishments, schools, business houses, etc. Even when we know them personally, the rule demands that we still write them impersonal or official letters.

Formal letters can be in the form of applications for admission or employment, requests for casual leave by staff in offices, official queries and replies to them, letters by students to the heads of their schools, letters to local government chairman asking for amenities for local communities and other such topics.

Features  of a formal letter

1.      Writer’s address and date

2.      Receiver’s address

3.      Salutation

4.      Heading or topic

5.      Body of the letter

6.      Complimentary close

Format of a formal letter

                                                                                                            3, Fredrick Close,

                                                                                                            Martins Avenue


                                                                                                            16th July, 2010

The Commissioner,

Ministry of Education,


Dear Sir,

Expansion Programme for Baptist College


                                                                                                Yours faithfully,


                                                                                                John Silas


Write a letter to the Minister of works in your country complaining about the deplorable condition of the roads in your area and the effects this has on the lives of your people.

B.     Informal Letters: Informal letters are private or personal letters. They are letters we write to people who are very familiar to us such as our parents, relatives, friends, classmates and other people with whom we have close relationship.

Features of an Informal letter

1. Writer’s address and date.

2. Salutation

3. Introduction

4. Body of the letter

5. Complimentary close.

Format of an informal letter.

                                                                                                             5, Biodun Street,



                                                                                                            16th July, 2010.

Dear Eunice,


                                                                                                Yours sincerely,



‘You have been staying with  your elder brother for sometime and a misunderstanding has  ensued. Write a letter to your father giving at least, three reasons why you feel you can no longer live with your brother.

Topic: Summary : Novel Extract.

The summary passage is an extract from the novel titled ‘The victims’ by I. Okpewho. In the passage, a woman named Nwabunor went to visit a soothsayer in order to overcome a challenge. The soothsayer told her what the gods demanded but she pleaded for the items to be reduced. In response, the soothsayer informed her that the dangers threatening her life and that of her son were too great. She was likely to lose her son if she failed to provide what the gods asked for.


Questions, Page 54.

Topic: Adverbs and Adverbials

An adverb is used to describe the action of a verb such as how, where or when it is done.

Examples: He frowned angrily.

The eclipse will occur soon.

The main function of adverbs and adverbial phrases is to modify verbs. They also modify adjectives, other adverbs and prepositional phrases.

Functions of Adverbs and Adverbials.

1. Modifier of verb

 Mary solved the problem quickly.

 John visited Musa at Kebbi

2. Modifier of adjective.

Peter is very tall

James is far more handsome than Silas.

3. Modifier of another adverb.

Bunmi runs extremely  fast.

He works hard enough to pass his exams.

4. Modifier of prepositional phrase

The girl slapped Tom right  in the face

We are quite  on time for the party.


Exercise, Question 1, Page 214

Countdown to English.


Consonant Clusters



The Dynasty of Ketu

  1. What two sources of information about the names of kings of ketu are mentioned in the text?
  2. What inducement was there for the herald to remember accurately and fluently the names of past Alaketus?


 State the grammatical functions of the underlined expressions.

  • He left the letter where it could be easily seen.
  • Because he was wrong, he apologised.
  • In order that he might secure a seat, he arrived at the stadium.


Revision and Tests Part 1, Page 60, Effective English.

Exercise, Question 2, Page 214, Countdown to English.

Click here to ask a question and get an answer published in the forum. Read our disclaimer.

Get paid for every topic you create in: Forum!MAKE-MONEY