In this world of electronic communication if you are now looking for the ideal way to write a letter, then this is just the place!
Letter writing has been part of human communication since the old days. Be it a love letter or formal summons and messages, letters were widely used and sent by various means to the designated receiver.
In the modern era though, letter writing is not a common phenomenon among youngsters. Letters are still used for business purposes although electronic media is taking over it slowly and steadily.
There were times when letter writing was a subject taught in some schools, but now it’s slowly being phased out thanks to the latest computer inventions and technology.
Writing a letter is fairly simple. There are some basic tips that need to be followed no matter what kind of letter one is writing.
A basic letter should have an Introduction, Content and Conclusion. Depending on the type of letter the tone of the wordings and framing of sentences would change accordingly.
If you are writing a letter for the first time to the intended receiver, then the introduction should include your name and a few sentences about who you are. A similar format would work for a business letter especially when you are applying for a job or introducing your company.
In a letter intended for a person who knows you well (like a friend or family member) the introduction doesn’t need to include information about you. It should include some greetings though in which you tell the receiver how you are and you ask the receiver how they are in turn…
Then, when it comes to the content: A general letter to a receiver you don’t know would require content on why you are writing the letter ideally. For instance, if you are writing a letter to a company with the hopes of applying for a job there, then your introduction would have some basic information about you and the content would follow through with why you are writing the letter and what you think you can do for the company.
If you are writing to a family member or long time friend then let the content have information about your present life, thoughts, aspirations and how you miss your relative / friend. The content is also ideally the place in the letter wherein you ask the person their thoughts on something specific.
I was at the furniture mall last weekend when I saw a lovely leather couch. I’ll send you a picture of it, but do you think its fine to start buying furniture especially since I don’t know how long I’ll be living here for…
The conclusion would then include a tone of goodbye. For a familiar and informal letter, one can include hopes of seeing the other person in this part of the letter or an informal invitation to visit. In a business letter the conclusion should end with thoughts of how you are waiting to hear more from the company.
The tone of a formal and informal letter varies greatly as does the way you draft it. It’s the same for an email and a letter. What rules apply to letter writing may not necessarily apply to an email format. Letters are still largely used for business purposes (Cover Letters / Appointment Letters / Job Offer Letters) etc. This format is preferred for Human Resource purposes over email because the letters still play an important and legal role for future references.
Although, many companies are slowly moving these to electronic versions too.
Informal letter writing between friends and family members are today used as a sort of hobby, not necessity. People tend to prefer email writing because its simpler, quicker (to write, send and receive a reply). There is no need to go to an actual post office and so it becomes the natural choice.
There are a few differences between a formal and informal letter like:
- You have to write your full name in a formal letter, in an informal one you can stick to your nick name or short name
- Ending a formal letter requires you to use certain salutations like “yours sincerely” or “yours truly”. In informal letters you could end anyway you like.
- There is a higher level of respect in a formal letter because in this letter you will either be referring to a senior member of an organization or an unknown individual. In an informal one, since you know the recipient well, there is more of a casual attitude adopted in the letter.
Although letter writing is an old habit, the truth is that it is slowly dying out. Letter writing has its own share of pros and cons just like everything else does. It is a lot more personal and satisfying, especially if you are writing to a loved one. Emails are fast, for sure but then one doesn’t get to experience the same happiness when one receives a letter in the mail from a cherished one. Try it out if you don’t believe it. Send a letter to someone and observe their reaction. Chances are they will be touched and flattered.
Try it out; buy a nice and inviting letter pad with a fancy pen. Clear away a table and keep it just for letter writing purposes. Keep some fresh flowers in a vase close to you for inspiration. Think about the old days when people relied on pen, paper and a bottle of ink for all their communication needs…and start. It’s a guarantee that once you start you will just not want to put that pen down again.