Formal letters cover various types of official letters, such as:
Letters to Editors of newspapers and magazines.
Letter of Complaints; Requests to business houses.
Letters of Reports/statements to Principals/Police Officers
Invitation letters, etc.
The format for formal letters is different from the format for informal letters. The differences between the two are listed below. Check also Book One and Two for additional information.
The Differences between Formal and Informal Letters
S/N Formal Letters Informal Letters
- Two addresses are needed – your address
and the address of the recipient. One address is needed – own address.
- Salute with Dear Sir, or Dear Madam; Start with Dear followed by the person’s name;
if a relation, use the right designation
– Mother; Sister, Uncle etc.
- Give a heading to your letter and underline it. No heading is needed.
- Write in a formal language- no short forms,
abbreviations. Write in colloquial English using short forms, slang
(not for elders), and jokes, abbreviations.
- No exchange of pleasantries Exchange pleasantries
- Go straight to the point of writing form the
first paragraph. Play around with exchange of pleasantries in the
- Close with ‘Yours faithfully’ followed by your
signature and full names Close with ‘Yours sincerely’, followed by your
first name only.
Example of a Formal Letter
10, Johnson Street,
15th June, 2018.
Obafemi Awolowo University,
Request for Application Forms for Traffic Wardens
I refer to your recent advertisement of vacancies for Traffic Wardens in your University.
I wish to apply for the post and would be very pleased if you could send me an application form.
I enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope and a Postal Order for N50.00 as demanded.
Thanks for an anticipated urgent reply.
List four essentials features of formal letters.
Write a letter to your local government Chairman, telling some of the amenities lacking in your village, and requesting for his assistance.
Drama is the imitation of human action presented by performers on stage to an audience. It is the penetration of life through artificial means. In drama real-life people pretend to be imagined people; thus imitating what people do in real life. It is the only genre of literature that can be acted on stage.
Types of Drama
(i) Tragedy: This is a form of drama that has a sad ending, a hero who could be admired by audience because of his qualities and achievements could just fall suddenly as a result of his tragic flaw or hubris. Such fall may even lead to his death. The Gods Are Not To Blame by Ola Rotimi and Macbeth by William Shakespeare are good examples.
(ii) Comedy: This is a form of drama that aims primarily at amusing the audience and it has a happy ending.
(iii) Melodrama: This is a romantic play characterized by music and exciting events with exaggerated characters.
(iv) Tragic-Comedy: This is a form of drama that employs a plot suitable to tragedy, it has a serious beginning, but finally ends happily like comedy. D.O. Odigie’s Verdict of the Gods is a good example, Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare is also a good example.
(v) Satire: This is a kind of drama that uses elements of comedy such as wit, irony, and exaggeration to criticize and expose human and social vices. It ridicules the foolishness or wickedness of a particular practice, custom or a bad government. Its aim is to attack and expose specific in the society for a positive change.
(vi) Fable: This is a story with animals as characters used to teach moral. This is very common in African folktales. Animal Farm by George Orwell is the most popular fable written so far.
- From a recommended text you read this term, identify five (5):
(i) Themes (ii) Characters (iii) Figures of speech
- Write a letter to your parents inviting them to your end of year party.
- Pick out the pronouns in the passage below:
Obi would want his parents to meet his friend today so he invited him to their house for dinner. Before Obi’s friend arrived, Obi and his two brothers cleaned their house. They swept every corner and dusted the chairs and tables. Everything in their house was sparkling. Nothing was left unattended to.
- Rewrite the following sentences replacing the nouns with the correct pronouns.
(i) Etim and Eno will be here this afternoon.
(ii) My mother and I usually sing together.
(ii) Ngozi is my sister.
(iv) Does Mr. Obi visit regularly?
(v) Let Obi and Nduka come back this evening.
Homographs can be defined as words which are written alike but are pronounced differently and with different meanings. The students need to study the words carefully and choose the right one.
Examples of Homographs
August (noun) august (adjective)
live (adj) live (verb)
present (noun) present (verb)
bow (noun) bow (verb)
lead (noun) lead (verb)
sow (noun) sow (verb)
record (noun) record (verb)
increase (noun) increase (verb)
export (noun) export (verb)
conduct (noun) conduct (verb)
contrast (noun) contrast (verb)
convert (noun) convert (verb)
Homophones are words which have the same pronunciation but which have different spellings and different meanings.
Examples of Homophones
What is a homophone? Give examples of five pairs of it.
What is a homograph? Give examples of five pairs of it.
TOPIC: Reflexive and Relative Pronouns
Reflexive pronouns are such pronouns that show that the action of a noun or pronoun, affects the person who performs it. They are commonly used as objects when the action mentioned in a sentence is reflected or thrown back on the subject i.e. the performer or doer of the action. These kinds of pronouns end with the word ‘self ‘in the singular and ‘selves’ in the plural. There are three kinds of reflexive pronouns. They are:
1st person – myself/ourselves
2nd person – yourself/yourselves
3rd person – himself/herself and themselves
Examples of Reflexive Pronouns
He cut himself with a knife.
They bought themselves some packs of peanuts.
We taught ourselves to swim.
The kitten found itself in the barn.
She made herself happy with a song.
These are words used to combine or relate sentences or clauses together. Relative pronouns are often used at the beginning of a relative clause and include words like: which, whom, whose, what, why, when, where, but and that. As we have in the examples below:
Examples of Relative Pronouns
The girl whose father died in the accident is my classmate.
The man who cheated you is my cousin.
He came with the woman whom he had worked with for two years.
She was the student that was nominated for the post.
He is the young man that I spoke to you about earlier.
What is a relative pronoun?
Make five sentences using the following relative pronouns (i) Why (ii) Whom (iii) Which (iv) Who (v) When
WHY STUDENTS FAIL EXAMINATIONS
Expository essays are such essays that rather than describe people like descriptive essay does, describes how something is done, how something works and how something is planned or organized and how something is made. Example of such essay topics can be: Describe how the game you like best is played or how your favorite meal is prepared.
The content of such an essay is determined by the various aspects to the topic on which it is written. For example if you are asked to write an expository essay on how your favorite meal is prepared, you should try to identify the various steps in the preparation of the meal such as:
(i) Getting the required ingredient
(ii) Preparing the ingredient
(iii) Cooking the meal and getting it ready for eating.
Each of these stages, beginning with the first of them is described in each paragraph of the essay.
To write an essay on why students fail examinations therefore, efforts should be made to identify and discuss on some of these factors that can contribute to the problem.
Lack of desired goal.
Wrong choice of subjects.
Hatred for subjects and subject teachers.
Poor study habit.
Lateness and absenteeism.
Laziness and lack of confidence.
Poor self concept.
Reliance on examination malpractice during examination
What is an expository essay?
In not less than 250 words, write an expository essay on: Why Students Fail Examinations.
Consonant Contrast /θ/ and /t/
To pronounce /θ/ the tip of the tongue is made to almost touch the back of the upper teeth and is almost sticking out between the lower and upper teeth. The air in the mouth is pressed out through the little opening between the tip of the tongue and the upper teeth. No activity is going on in the voice box. This means that the sound is voiceless.
The consonants /θ/ is heard in the following sentences.
(i) A moth flies through the window.
(ii) A mosquito is thin; a moth is fat.
(iii) In Maths, Amina won the third prize.
(iv) Open your mouth and throw out the bad water.
(v) Ade’s birthday is the fourth of June.
To pronounce/t/, the front of the tongue is pressed hard behind the root of the upper teeth. There is no activity in the voice box. The air in the mouth is released suddenly with force and the sound is faint. /t/ is a voiceless consonant.
The consonants /t/ is heard in the following sentences.
(i) I want to take some time to visit Abuja.
(ii) Please turn off the tap; don’t waste water.
(iii) The cat is looking at the rat.
(iv) I don’t take tea in the afternoon.
(v) Peter visited his auntie yesterday.
Write out 5 words each for consonants /θ/ and /t/.
Expressing Exception using Except
- We express exception by using except, expect for, but for and apart from. They all have exactly the same meaning and each of them may be followed by a noun, a noun phrase or a pronoun, e.g.
Except for Audu,
But for my eldest son, everyone is present.
Apart from him,
Note the commas in these examples…
- The order of the sentence may be reversed, e.g.
Everyone is present except for my eldest son.
but for him.
Note that there are no commas in these examples.
- Except, except for, but for and apart from may be followed by a gerund, e.g.:
Except phoning the bank,
But for cleaning the car, you have done everything I said.
Apart from washing the plates,
Again, note the commas in these examples.
- These sentences may also be reversed, e.g.:
You have done everything I said except phoning the bank.
You have done everything I said but for cleaning the car.
apart from washing the plates.
Again, note the commas in these examples.
- We express a different kind of exception by using without followed by a noun, a noun phrase, a pronoun or a gerund, e.g.:
Audu’s help, we couldn’t do it.
We couldn’t do it without Audu.
Note which examples have commas and which have not.
Rewrite these sentences using except, except for, but for and apart from, each once only:
- I finished everything. But I did not type this letter
- We were all laughing. But Eta was not laughing.
- Fill in the column with the right word
(i) Everyone was present, ___________ Audu was not present.
(ii) All the employees were sacked, _________ the manager’s daughter was not sacked.
(iii) The police caught the whole gang, ____________ they did not catch Bassey.
TOPIC: Narrative essay
A narrative essay tells a story. In planning a narrative essay there are essential tips to note.
First think about the topic and jot down the main ideas that come to your mind concerning the topic.
Suppose you are asked to write on an incident that made you cry. Immediately, you know that you will write on a sad event. Think of any sad event in your life. Is it going to be on death? Loss of a valuable item? A bad decision that landed you in trouble? An unhappy journey you regretted making? Choose one of these as your topic.
Your composition must have at least three sections- Introduction, the body and the conclusion. Start each with a paragraph. The body may have many paragraphs, depending on the number of main ideas you want to bring into it.
Think of an interesting way of introducing the topic. For example: I now believe that the voice of the elders is the voice of wisdom. I wish I had believed that before August 10, 2006, when I had to pay dearly for not heeding my mother’s golden advice. I wept very much that day and still weep whenever my mind goes back on the incident. If only I had listened!
Topic: My Most Memorable Day
First paragraph: Mention the day and where the event happened. Mention the people involved and what happened in the morning of the day.
Second paragraph: Narrate what happened in the afternoon of that day, mentioning at least two pleasant things that happened.
Third paragraph: Mention what happened in the evening, through to night.
Fourth paragraph: How did the day end? Why is it your most memorable day?
Remember to use the past tense and dialogue while writing.