Letter Writing

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Introduction

This is the decade of emails and modern technology, the concept of writing letters has become obsolete but the style of letter writing has been followed in emails. Drafting Letters demands proper attention. One should be careful about what is being written.

It is a formal and informal means of communication.

Letters come in a variety of forms. Hence, it clearly communicates the writer’s response and thought process in every scenario. There are organizations that consider the letter as a means for analyzing a  student’s psychological thought process and communication skills. This article discusses various types of letters that are being used in daily communication as well as in competitive exams & interviews.


Types of Letter 

Letter writing can be broadly classified into three categories-

1- Formal Letter

2- Semi-formal Letter

3- Formal Letter


Formal Letters

These letters are used for formal communication like letters to discuss business, make any requests, file/register complaints, etc. These letters are short and prise. The formulation of formal letters, letters of application, official letters, and letters to the Editor are all formal means of communication.

Format 

Informal Letter

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Formal Letter

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1. Writer’s Address

In this section, the writer of the letter must write his complete address along with the zip code. This address is important in case of all kind of letters as it enables the receiver to reply and understand where is the letter from. In case the letter gets lost in transit, this address can be used for the return. The designation of the sender is only written formal letters.

2. Date

Succeeding the space after the sender’s address comes to the date on which the letter is written/sent. One may choose any format out of the two mentioned below to record the date in the letter-

  • DD/MM/YY : 24th August, 20XX

  • MM/DD/YY : August 24th, 20XX

3. Recipient Name and Address 

Receivers’ address is the corresponding address of the person to whom the letter is written to. It is put after the date of informal letters. As personal letters are sent to acquaintances, receivers’ address is only mentioned on the envelope carrying the letter.

Format

 Name of the official/professional title

 Name of the organization

 Building number, street/area

 State/town (pin code-optional)

 Country (if corresponding internationally

4. Subject

A Subject displays the purpose of writing in a few words. It helps the recipient to comprehend the aim of your letter. It is written with the word subject and is written directly after the receivers’ address. The subject should be very clear precise and not more than 10 words.

For example-

If you want to write a letter to complain about the delay in service-

Subject- Complaint about the delay in service delivery.

The subject is usually the part of the formal letter as it can be in correspondence to the last letter or to someone the sender knows.

5. Salutation

The salutation is a formal or informal greeting to the recipient of the letter. It varies depending upon the relationship between the sender and the receiver of the letter. It usually starts with the word ‘Dear’ followed by the title (Ms/Mrs/Mr/Dr) and the first name of the receiver(if known). 

Examples-

  • For relatives and friends- Dear 

  • For formal acquaintances- Sir/Mam

  • For someone of higher post- Respected Mam/ Sir

6. Body of the Letter

The body is the most important aspect of the letter. It is important because it consists of the crux of the matter. It basically includes the message the sender wants to convey. While the body of a personal letter can be lengthy and detailed containing all the feelings, news, and all the information on a personal front but it is advised to use a precise language so that the reader gets clear information. 

There can be three sub-parts of the body of a formal letter -

  • An introductory paragraph stating the main point, 

  • A middle paragraph explaining the importance/need of writing a letter.

  • Concluding paragraph restating the purpose of the letter and requesting for some action. The paragraphs of the body must be intentional depending upon the style chosen.

The last line must be mentioned where you thank the person for his or her time to read the letter and taking appropriate action if necessary.

Tip-

Be sure to leave a line between the salutation and introductory paragraph and also between the concluding paragraph and closure. Margins must be left on all four sides of the letter. It creates an attractive appearance to the letter.

7. Closing Salutation

The letter must have a greeting followed by your full name if the letter id formal or just your first name in an informal letter.

For example-

Thanks & Regards- Formal

Respectfully- Formal and Informal

Yours Sincerely- Formal

Yours Lovingly- Informal

Letter writing can be improved by constant practice on different kinds of topics.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Why letters should be Concise?

Ans. Nothing more is harmful to good communication than an over-explanation which may result in not conveying the exact point. Before writing a letter one should be completely aware of what one wants to convey. All the facts and points should be         

Informal letters especially one must not write unnecessary sentences. To the point, information or inquiry is the prerequisite of business correspondence. Long illustrations and elaboration must be avoided at all costs.