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How to lay out a letter
Transcript of How to lay out a letter
Here (the top right) is where you put your own name and address. If you have one, you might want to put your mobile phone number or email address here too.
This part on the left is where you write the name and address of the person your letter is for. If you put it in an envelope with a window on it, this is where the visible address is. Even if you don't, you should write this part clearly so that it gets to the right person in the organisation you are writing to.
This is the main bit of the letter itself. You should always try to:
Keep it short: a single page for the letter is ideal.
Keep it in chronological order.
Keep your explanation simple, and limited to the facts.
Make it clear what's gone wrong, and what you're asking for.
State any laws or contract terms you are relying on.
Enclose any necessary paperwork (like receipts or forms of ID). Always enclose copies, never the originals.
Always give a deadline for a response.
This is where you need to write the date. It's on the right, but below your own details and above the main letter. This should be the date you wrote the letter. If you need to prove that you sent it on this date, you can't rely on this bit: you will need to get proof of posting, or send it be recorded delivery.
In all official letters, it's good to have a single sentence - often written in bold if you're writing it on a computer - that is a heading for what your letter is about. It helps the letter get to the right place. If you have a reference number for your complaint, this is the best place to put it.
At the bottom, on the left, a letter ends with Yours sincerely if you know the name of the person you're writing to, and Yours faithfully if you don't. Either way, you should then sign it - there's a gap here for that - and then have your name neatly under that (typed if you can, or written clearly if not).
This is a simple letter complaining about a faulty TV, made especially for this exercise. Let's go through it step-by-step and see how it's laid out.
Always write the letter to someone. If you know the name of the person or company, 'Dear.....' is a good way to start. If you don't know who to write to, then 'Dear sir/madam' or 'To who it may concern', are the best ways to write this.