What Are Explanatory Letters?

An explanatory or explanation letter is basically a short, detailed, but succinct letter where you explain your side of the story regarding any subject matter. And what makes it complex is how explanatory letters are nuanced according to their purpose. The letter could be written by a renter indicating the reason behind a late payment, by a testator clarifying the dos and don’ts of one’s will after death, or even by an immigrant expressing why one’s visa details had a mistake. Despite its connotations, what matters is that the explanatory letter provides a harmonious understanding between the parties interacting with each other.

Did you know that 80% of Americans were fed with fake news during the coronavirus pandemic? And if fake news has that gargantuan extent, don’t be too credulous in believing every single explanatory letter without proof.

What Makes an Explanatory Letter Advantageous?

Explanatory letters are important and advantageous to prove your point in a written letter without the need to argue, sound entitled, or be arrogant in expressing your explanation. Formal letters are basically known to be written cordially and the same can be said about your letter of explanation. Since you won’t be driven by intense emotions to explain your side, the challenge is you still need to consider your tone, language, and other details while writing. Thanks to well-written explanatory letters, you can clarify issues, address concerns, or solve problems professionally. The same goes for sharing private or sensitive concerns that are hard to explain in person.

And since most people require explanatory letters due to someone’s long absence, sudden leave, late payment, or any other unpleasant situation, it only makes sense to leave an explanation. That way, both parties can settle their relationships and agree on a resolution on how to fix the issue. However, each party shouldn’t be too complacent with what’s written too. The internet itself is even filled with fake news. As reported by Statista, 80% of Americans saw fake news about COVID-19 during the pandemic. And with widespread fake news seen day by day, you could assume that some people could easily lie about their explanation letters. Hence, asking for proof is standard, just like how an employee who took a sick leave should prove that there was an actual sickness plan via a medical certificate.

What Are the Parts of an Explanatory Letter?

Indeed, an explanatory letter’s content would vary according to its specific function. For example, you can’t expect the same elements from a trust and will explanatory letter to that of an employee holiday or vacation leave explanatory letter. However, there are common parts in the format. And these are the standard parts of a proper explanatory letter:

Sender’s Data: If you are designated to write the whole letter of explanation itself, then introduce your details as the sender. State your name, address, and contact information.Receiver’s Data: Follow up the sender’s data with the receiver’s details. This part refers to the name, contact details, and address of to whom it may concern; thus, it clarifies to whom the explanatory letter is for.Date: It is standard to write the date of when the letter is actually written. You don’t need to put the full daily schedule from the date and time though because simply stating the day, month, and year is enough.Subject Line: The subject line or title introduces what the document you are writing is all about. Simply put “Explanatory Letter” at the subject line and it is already self-explanatory. You can be more specific based on what its function is too, like a name change letter of explanation.Salutation: Do not forget to insert the salutation. Explanatory letters are not mere information sheets because they are written in a way where you are conversing with someone. So be sure to say “Dear” followed by whom you are addressing.Introductory Statement: Don’t bombard your letter with solid and heavy data right away. Introduce yourself and the letter’s intention first. And you can say that you are writing an explanatory letter as a reply to the problem you are expected to explain. Also, keep introductory statements as distinct as possible so your receivers still want to read further.Body: You can begin expounding on your reasons, valid points, and other sets of relevant details in the letter’s main body. But, be sure to set a smooth structure. That means you can’t just force to mention a hodgepodge of data without an organized flow. Most importantly, the body should answer the relevant questions. Just like apology letters, this includes addressing the problem caused, explaining how and why it happened, and recommending a solution to the problem. The same goes for expressing your apology if the issue is true and you acknowledge your mistake, or perhaps, disproving the issue if you are confident that you didn’t do anything bad.Complimentary Close: Create a summary of everything you tackled as a closing statement, then add the complimentary close. This section helps in ending the letter on a positive note rather than adding fuel to the fire. Examples of a complimentary close include, “Best wishes, Best regards, Yours truly, etc.”Signature: The bottommost part of the explanatory is reserved for the signature line. The author simply writes the full name in print, then affixes a signature on top of that name. Make sure to only sign the letter when you are done fact-checking and evaluating everything from start to finish.

Common Types of Explanatory Letters

Indeed, there are lots of functions of an explanatory letter, depending on what subject matter should be explained. And here are a few types of explanatory letters that are commonly used:

Explanatory Letters Due to a Late Rental Payment

When landlords haven’t heard from their tenants, especially those with pending rental fees, it is only natural that a rental agreement issue rises. And if the tenant still cannot pay at the due date, the tenant should explain why and how to pay eventually by writing it down in the explanatory letter. Although rent agreement letter policies differ from one property to another, what matters the most is that both parties find an agreeable solution to manage the late payments.

Explanatory Letters in Filing for Bankruptcy

Another unfortunate type of situation is when a person needs to files for bankruptcy. And to prove and state the reason behind being bankrupt, explanatory letters should answer such concerns. An example is a business owner whose enterprise had to close due to bankruptcy. And the letter can help discuss terms on how tax concerns are dealt with or what responsibilities lie ahead for the business.

Explanatory Letters Due to Absences or Lates From Work

Also a very rampant concern is anyone with lots of lates and absences from work. It could apply to attendance lists discrepancies for students in school as well. If an employee took a long absence from work without any notice, HR naturally seeks an explanation. The explanatory letter will then be used as a reference if the employee who took the leave has a reasonable explanation and deserves a leave pay or doesn’t deserve to be paid for having an unreasonable response. And the more absences and lates continue, a suspension is bound to happen.

How to Create a Winning Explanatory Letter

Proper explanatory letters should be well-structured, carefully worded, succinct, and overall truthful. And since you were already introduced to an explanatory letter’s definition, importance, parts, and more, you are more than ready to apply your knowledge to the test—to make your own explanatory letter. And to formulate a winning explanatory letter, take note of these notable steps:

Step 1: Assess the Situation Carefully and Draft an Explanation

Don’t bother to explain any matter right away without fully assessing and understanding the whole situation carefully. Otherwise, you might address incomplete details or react to the wrong points in general; thus, making the letter’s intent less effective. So first, what is the main issue? Do you need to explain because of tax evasion, a trust fund scam, failure of payment, or any other reason? As you answer such questions or problem statements, begin drafting an explanation. The point is you should have full knowledge about the situation before writing the letter itself.

Step 2: Look for Your Preferred Explanatory Letter Template That Matches Your Purpose

Don’t waste time making explanatory letters from scratch because this article has a huge collection of editable templates. Use your preferred sample explanatory letter to edit and develop an explanatory letter that is already pre-formatted. Thus, you are guided easily on how the letter should be made. And since it is customizable, altering the format, design, layout, and many more is possible. Just don’t forget to use a template that is fitting your purpose.

Step 3: Discuss the Main Points

Of course, writing the explanatory letter requires you to jot down the main points of the explanation. Don’t simply make a very long document that doesn’t contain the main meat. You could discuss the main subject until you slowly address what your receivers want to hear from you. In fact, you are easily guided on how the flow should be, as discussed in the parts of an explanatory letter earlier. And for whichever type of explanatory letter you use, evaluate if the main points are answered.

Step 4: Be Detailed but Specific at the Same Time

There is a fine line between a detailed letter and a brief letter. And your goal is to balance the two by keeping the explanatory letter detailed but specific. To do that, avoid using too many unnecessary words and be more direct to the point instead. What fully matters is your explanation is short and understandable rather than making it too complicated; thus, it sounds like you would be lying instead. A brief yet clear explanation will suffice as long as you don’t miss out on the important events, dates, and other details.

Step 5: Mind the Mood and Tone of Your Letter

Letters are supposed to have a sliver of personality rather than sounding too generic or robotic. Give it some life by considering a positive mood and tone to your letter. This is why there is room to greet your receiver in the salutation and set a complimentary close. That way, you sound respectable and pleasant. Because if your language, mood, or tone is bad right from the start, don’t expect the receiver to read that letter further. Base the tone according to your purpose still. There is a difference between business and personal letters in the first place.

Step 6: Finalize the Format and Organization of the Letter

Last but not least, consider the final format of your letter and organize its details. You should have already thought about the preferred size of the document, the fonts, and many more. The same goes in deciding if you should print the letter and hand it in personally or submit an email to the receiver instead. Also, create a smooth flow to your sentences and overall message by knowing when to insert one set of data into the next one. That way, the message doesn’t look forced but more coherent instead. And if you have attachments to further prove your statements’ credibility, insert them as well.


What are the main points of an explanatory letter?

Expect three main points to cover in a standard explanatory letter. First, state the specific facts from the dates, amount, or any relevant data report. Second, insert the resolution, meaning you explain when and how you are going to resolve the issue. And lastly, insert your acknowledgment if you made a mistake and want to say sorry or rebut the claim given against you. This last point can be where you recognize in what way you could prevent the same mistake from happening too.

What are the three types of letters?

The three main types of letters are informal, formal, and semi-formal letters.

What are the general rules in writing a letter?

The standard rules worth following in writing a letter are:

  • Pick the appropriate type and size of paper.
  • Write in a professional yet conversational tone.
  • Select over indented or block form.
  • Apply standard letter format from sender’s details down to the signature.
  • Insert the significant and relevant information that fulfills your purpose.

Are you planning to respond to a problem by writing an explanatory letter? Don’t shy away from that idea, especially when you already learned how to make this personal or legal letter of explanation after reading this whole post. With the enlisted sample templates you can see above, make the most out of each sample explanatory letter by altering its format, structure, design, content, and lots of other features. And as you master the process, writing explanatory letters comes off seamlessly in the long run. Download now!