Official Letters and Personal Letters: Definition, Structure, Characteristics, Etc

Official Letters and Personal Letters: Definition, Structure, Characteristics, Etc



Definition of Official Letter (Official)

Official letters are letters written in formal situations and for formal official purposes (Kemdikbud Team, 2017, p. 248). This letter can be written by a person to an agency or on behalf of a government agency, company, or organization addressed to other organizations.



Meanwhile, Kosasih (2014, p. 98) states that official letters are letters that concern official matters and contain matters of an official nature. The contents of an official letter are official and contain official topics such as permit applications, job application letters, meeting invitations, etc.



Sample official letter (Team of the Ministry of Education and Culture, 2017, p. 252).

Nature of Official Letter

Official letters are official and concern official topics. The language used in official letters is the standard language and what it is. Official letters do not require figurative or “flowery” language. The nature of the language of an official letter is brief and clear, expressed as it is and has a fixed pattern.


Characteristics of Official Letters

For more details, the characteristics or characteristics of official letters are as follows.



Contains official official requirements.

Only written by an agency to another agency or individual.

Related to official topics such as: meeting invitations, apologies, replies to job applications, permission not to enter, permission to use a place, etc.

Use official standard language.

Types of Official Letters

Finoza (2009, p. 11) describes the classification of official letters as follows.


government letter,

is an official letter that is mainly used by government agencies for the benefit of government administration. Government letters are used by government agencies from the lowest level to the highest.

Business Letter (Commerce),

in the form of letters that are mainly used by companies in buying and selling or trading matters. Business letters have various forms, but still follow the provisions of official letters. Usually, the use of the language of business letters is more flexible when compared to the language of government letters, depending on the policies of each company.

Social Letters,

is a letter used by social organizations or institutions, such as: community organizations, foundations, sports associations, regional organizations, and other non-profit organizations (eg NGOs).

Definition of Personal Letter

A personal letter is a form of written communication (correspondence) carried out by a person to another person as a person, not as a representative or for institutional/official/official matters (Kemdikbud Team, 2017, p. 246).


Personal letters are free, the contents can only be in the form of warm greetings, congratulations, or other personal matters. The language used is also everyday language. Sometimes this letter is also filled with the language commonly used by the sender and recipient. Various language styles are also commonly included in it.



Characteristics of Personal Letters

Some of the distinctive characteristics that characterize personal letters are as follows.


Personal letter is a form of interactive communication between the first person (sender) and the second person (recipient).

A personal letter contains elements of the date of the letter, the address of the letter, the opening of the letter, the introduction, contents and closing of the letter, as well as the name of the sender of the letter or signature.

The contents of personal letters relate to personal problems asking news, personal needs, and other personal communication purposes (Kemdikbud Team (2017, p. 248).

Structure of Official Letters and Personal Letters

The structure is the part of the official letter that builds the overall shape or form of the letter. Sometimes the structure is also referred to as the elements or format of the letter. Of course, personal letters and official letters have different structures. Here is the presentation.


Service Letter Structure

Referring to the presentation of the Ministry of Education and Culture Team (2017, p. 250) the structure or elements of official letters are as follows.



this section is filled with the name of the institution and various other information which usually includes the institution’s logo, address and contact number.

Reference number,

an institution usually has its own letter number format which is followed to ensure the validity of the letter, for example: : 05/K/PKSB.

letter Date,

information on the date when the letter was sent, for example: 09-May-2021.


as an explanation that in the letter there are written materials that are included apart from the letter itself, it can be in the form of a decision letter, data or statistics that need to be conveyed as more context than the letter, etc. For example: Lamp: two files.


title or essence of the letter, for example: Subject: Application for permission,

mailing Address,

address and name or position of the authorized recipient of the letter. For example: Head of Central Jakarta Kwarcab in Jakarta.


make sure we greet the recipient of the letter. In official letters, greeting words must be standard, for example: With respect.

opening paragraph,

contains background, reasons, and other contexts in sending letters.

letter Core,

is the main content and message to be conveyed in the letter.

closing paragraph,

contain acknowledgments and other necessary closings.


on a business letter one of the most common closing greetings is: Sincerely yours.

name and signature,

on official letters, usually the name and signature listed is someone authorized on behalf of the organization or institution.

Personal Letter Structure

Meanwhile, according to the Ministry of Education and Culture Team (2017, p. 254) the structure or elements of a personal letter include the following points.


Address and date of letter,

so that the reader knows where and when the writer wrote the letter.


greet the reader of the letter to feel warmer.

paragraph opening sentence,

provide an impressive first sentence or provoke interaction in order to inspire the reader to read the letter.

Content of letter,

convey the main content or message to be conveyed.

cover letter,

to make a good final impression and if necessary to ensure that personal letters are replied to.

name and signature,

ensure that the letter writer is actually the one who sent the letter.

Rules of Language for Official Letters and Personal Letters

As previously explained, these two types of letters have different linguistic conventions. The following is the presentation.


Characteristics of Language Use in Personal Letters

The choice of address is personal (emotive and expressive words).

Personal letter language is not formal but polite.

The choice of language varies depending on who the recipient of the letter is.

Using greetings (like people talking).

Use the first person pronoun (for the sender) and the second person pronoun for the recipient.

Characteristics of the use of language in official letters

The choice of greeting words is formal.

Standard variety language.

The word chosen contains the actual meaning or denotative (not figurative).

Examples of official letters and personal letters

The following are examples of official letters and personal letters based on the examples provided by the Ministry of Education and Culture Team (2017).


Example of official letter

According to the Ministry of Education and Culture Team (2017, p. 248) examples of official letters are as follows.






No : 08/K/UKS 23 November 2015

Lamp : 1 file


Dear Guardian of Student Sofia Nazila


In Tuban


Subject: Application for permission


Yours faithfully,


In an effort to get to know the coastal environment better and help preserve the environment, the Scouts of SMP Mutiara Harapan 1 will hold camps on Saturday and Sunday from the 5th to the. December 6, 2015 in the Kelapa beach area, Tuban. Therefore, we ask you to allow your sons and daughters to take part in these Persami activities. For consideration, we attach a schedule of activities.


Thank you for your attention and permission, Mr and Mrs.




Best regards,


Chairman of the committee








Rozik Ahmad Zaini


Sample Personal Letter

According to the Ministry of Education and Culture Team (2017, p. 251) an example of a personal letter is as follows.


Malang, 14 November 2015


Greetings students!


How are you, Ozi?


Ozi, I heard that your city is being hit by a smoke disaster. I’m worried about your situation. Are you okay? Can you study at school without being disturbed by the smoke?


This semester break, my father will provide counseling on the Fire Free Village program in your village. I was invited by father to be able to visit you. Are you busy this semester break? If not, I would love to be able to visit you.


First of all, I’m waiting for your reply.


Your cousin and best friend,



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