Letters: Politeness formulas to know

Writing a letter is not easy pus. Wondering how to finish a letter? Depending on the context and the recipient, what are the politeness formulas to know? We take stock of you and give you some tips to know how to write formally.

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  • importance of politeness formulas
  • Write a letter and choose your politeness formula
  • The structure of a beautiful letter
    • The header of a letter
    • The recipient of your letter
    • The body of a letter
  • Choosing your writing style according to intent
  • Letter: the various formulas of politeness
  • Introducing a formula of politeness
  • The epistolary tradition in France

The importance of politeness formulas

We never repeat it enough: yes, in France, is committed to politeness, including the formulas of politeness. Politeness is an oral expression but also written . Today we will focus on politeness formulas in writing. These may be necessary when writing a cover letter or a motivation email, or simply for an administrative request.

Politeness formulas are important in our country, and for specific reasons. By means of politeness formulas, we are allowed to make a specific request by putting the forms into it. Often the form counts more than the bottom in itself. And it is of course natural to decide, as an employer, administrative agent or as mayor (for example), that forms are important.

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The feeling also goes through the forms that can be given to a letter. A query will be always better received if written with respect to the addressee. Hence the importance of making (proper) use of politeness formulas in our written letters and exchanges, whatever they may be.

Write a letter and choose your politeness formula

Yes, in France, it is often required or even required that the formulas of politeness be used in order to serve a just cause: the smooth running of any procedure. Whether it is in the administration, employment, everyday life, politeness is in place and our children are aware of these social codes very early, for a better living together.

When faced with writing a letter for the first time, the formulas of politeness may be missing. And even if they are not lacking, how to choose your politeness formula ? What is the right context for to use this or that expression of politeness?

There are many nuances that in writing will make a difference. Indeed, a politeness formula can say a lot about you. Politeness can be more or less formal, familiar, close or distant. Because an expression of politeness can be used to maintain a healthy distance , it can also send a certain message. Depending on how it is used and the context surrounding your expression of politeness, you deliver a message that can have many meanings.

So how can we find it in the politeness formulas of written French? Don’t panic, we give you some examples of politeness formulas , as well as recommendations to be able to write a letter without being lost.

The structure of a beautiful letter

A beautiful letter has above all a structure. Even before to think about the formula or politeness formulas that will close your letter, it is obvious to think about structuring one’s thinking by following accepted and widespread writing codes.

A letter therefore includes a header, a body and finally a politeness formula, followed by your signature. The header of your letter or email — especially if it is a motivational email — identifies you as the author of the letter. You insert the place of writing, the date, your surname and first name and the subject of the mail if necessary.

The header of a mail

The header of your mail must include a certain amount of information to be readable and understandable. It must also be placed at the top and left of your mail. Indeed, in France, writing reading from left to right and from top to bottom, always places by tradition the author at the top left corner of a mail (including for an email if necessary).

Your civility may also appear: Madame or Sir. The very outdated Mademoiselle no longer exists. Academic, aristocratic or military titles can also be mentioned, such as Professor, General, Prince, Doctor…

Your address must then appear below your first and last name. Your address, by letter, must appear with a comma after the number, if applicable. Postal code and name of the municipality (and country if necessary) are then added.

The recipient of your letter

The recipient of your letter is specified in front of your own contact details, under the date of writing of the mail.

The addressee of a letter must be specified with his civility, function. The name of the company is added below, if applicable.

The body of a letter

Above the body of the letter can be introduced the subject of the missive or motivational mail, but this one is absolutely not expected, especially as regards emails. The object is recommended when you send an administrative mail or for an application to a company.

The body of any letter should be structured into an introduction, development and conclusion. Finally, the formulas of politeness that interest us.

To properly write the body of a letter, follow a logic and a main idea per paragraph. Your letter conclusion may recall its introduction, in order to give a sense of consistency to your mail.

A readymade phrase can be used at the beginning of each paragraph to articulate your ideas: “First, then, secondly, on the one hand, on the other hand, finally, to finish, and so on.”

Choosing your writing style based on intent

A cover letter, a motivation email or a simple missive must be adapted according to your intentions. Your tone must be as clear as possible .

If sometimes irony is necessary, depending on the context, it is advisable to remain pragmatic and present facts. Indeed, sometimes the fact of using feelings in his writings have the opposite effect of the original intention.

If you want to make your voice heard in a specific context, it is advisable to make a letter that serves your interests, but devoid of poorly placed emotions. It is important to be able to put aside certain emotions in order to write a clear letter. From this In this way, you give your mail more likely to have a positive impact on your recipient, who will not feel attacked.

Letter: the various formulas of politeness

At the end of the mail, come the formulas of politeness. But how to choose them correctly ? And how to use them without being too pompous? How to choose the right measure when we do not know the recipient of our letter personally.

The formulas of politeness are diverse and varied. This is usually an expression of greeting, a simple formula for closing and concluding a letter on a ready-made expression.

These formulas are chosen according to the person you are addressing. Parameters should be taken into account in your correspondence and in the choice of formulas and expression:

  • hierarchy
  • company or institution
  • position of the addressee
  • position we wish to take vis-à-vis the recipient
  • the use of a particular tone is very speaking
  • Expressed or expected degree of compliance

The most common expressions and formulas of politeness are as follows, in order:

  • Distinguished Greetings/Sincere Greetings (Equal Recipient)
  • Expression of Dedicated Feeling/ Distinguished Consideration/High Consideration Assurance
  • Assurance of very high consideration (high-positioned recipient)/expression of very respectful feelings/expression of my most distinguished feelings, etc.

Introduce a politeness formula

As for how to introduce formulas or an expression of politeness, you have the choice, depending on the hierarchy that exists:

  • Please receive, Sir, insurance/ the expression of distinguished feelings, etc.
  • I beg you to believe, Madam, in insurance
  • Please accept, Madam, the expression of my devoted feelings.
  • Please accept, Sir, the expression of my dedicated feeling

For a less formal expression and lighter and friendly formulas, we will gladly use:

  • Believe, sir, in my best feelings
  • Friendly Yours/Sincerely Yours
  • Regards, well cordially
  • Friendships
  • Greetings
  • Friendly greetings
  • My friendly feelings
  • My best feelings
  • My friendly memory
  • All our friendship
  • My tributes (from a man to a woman)

Finally, you finish your letter or email with the affixing of your signature. It arises at the bottom right, after skipping a few lines for make your letter breathe.

If you respect these few writing codes, rest assured that your motivation email or letter will not be rejected due to its form.

When giving importance to form, then the background can be heard immediately better . Stay clear, make short sentences and do not forget for a moment who you are talking to. Your reader must be able to read your missive without being embarrassed by anything.

This applies to an underestimation but also for an overestimation of your recipient, which may be misreceived, depending on the person you have in front of you.

The epistolary tradition in France

Writing is a great specificity in France. If sometimes it is thought that it is accepted to be able to do without the formulas of politeness, make your own experiments. Quickly, you will realize that the fact of knowing writing a letter or email, in a professional or even institutional context, is essential to be heard and taken seriously.

It is possible to find many patterns of letters on the Internet. You carefully choose the expression or formula of politeness that seems to you best suited to your situation and your first intention.

Good drafting!