How to write letter


LETTER-WRITING is an important channel of communication between
people who are geographically distant from one another. In
earlier times when the telephone and e-mail were not available,
the only means of communication between people was through

Letter-writing is a skill that has to be developed. In general
there are two types of letters: formal, that are written to convey
official business and information and informal, which are
personal letters to communicate with friends and family. Formal
letters are sent out when we need to write to various public
bodies or agencies for our requirements in civic life. For example,
we might have to ask for a certificate or to inform a change in
our address. A letter is usually one in a series of exchanges
between two people or parties.

Formal Letters

Let us now examine some of the steps in writing formal letters.

1. (i) Introducing oneself if it is the first time you are writing

(ii) Referring to an earlier letter if you are responding to it.

2. Stating the purpose of the letter

3. (i) Stating action/information required from the addressee

(ii) Explaining action taken/supplying information

4. (i) Urging action to be taken

(ii) Offering assistance in future

This is the basic structure of a letter. It will have to be
modified according to the purpose for which it is written and
the person to whom it is addressed.

When you write a letter you should keep in mind the following points.

1. Purpose
2. Person to whom it is addressed
3. Tone you should adopt
4. Completeness of the message
5. Action required
6. Conciseness of expression

We have so far considered the content of letters. A letter also has a
typical format.

1. Name and address of sender

Companies have printed letterheads with the name of the
company printed on them. A letterhead may also carry the
name and designation of persons in responsible positions.

2. Name and address of addressee

3. Date

4. Mode of address or salutation

Salutation is the mode of addressing a person. We may have
the following forms.
(i) Dear Sir/Madam (when we are writing to a total stranger
whom we do not know at all).
(ii) Dear Mr/Ms/Dr/Professor + Surname as in: Dear Dr
Sinha, (when it is a formal relationship with the
addressee and the writer does not know him or her
(iii) Dear Sujata (when the writer knows the addressee
personally and the two share a semi-formal relationship).

5. Reference to previous correspondence, if any.

Most official letters carry a subject line just above the
salutation. This is for quick reference to the subject.

6. Content of letter

The content of the letter begins on the next line and is
arranged in two or three paragraphs.

7. Complimentary close and signature

Letters usually end politely with the following phrases:
Thank you, With regards, With best wishes, Hope to see you soon, Hope to receive an early reply etc. The
complimentary close is followed by ‘Yours sincerely/ Yours
truly’, and the writer’s signature in the next line.

Given below is an example of the format of a formal letter.

Ritu Patel
Manager, Customer Services
Vijayanagar Gas Company
121, Ameerpet
Hyderabad 500 016
12 November 2005

Mr Shagun Thomas
801, Vijay Apartments
Hyderabad 500 016
Sub: Your application No. F323 for a new gas connection
Dear Mr Thomas,
With regards,
Yours sincerely,
Ritu Patel

Nowadays all the parts of a letter are aligned on the left. This
style is called the Full-Block style.
l The date and signature are very important in letters.
l We do not use commas after every line in the address.
.......End....... Session . .....

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