Every educated person should know how to write a clear and readable letter. Everyone has sometimes to write business letters of some sort, and may have to face the problem of writing an important letter that will vitally affect his interests in life. The art of letter-writing is, therefore, no mere ornamental accomplishments, but something that every educated person must acquire for practical reasons.
Letters are messages, and certain letter-forms have been established by experience and custom as the most useful forms learned and used by every letter-writer, for neglect of them is a sign of ignorance and carelessness.
There are certain matters of forms which should be applied to all the letters. These forms have been explained here for your reference.
In all kinds of letters, there are six points of forms which need application:
1. The Heading consisting of the writer’s address and the date
2. The Courteous Greetings or Salutations
3. The Body of the letter
4. The Subscription or courteous leave-taking or conclusion
5. The Signature
6. The Superscription on the envelop
1. THE HEADING
This informs the reader of the letter from where you write the letter and when you wrote the letter. The WHERE, (which should be the writer’s full postal address), gives the address to which the reader may reply. And WHEN is for reference, as it gives him the date on which you wrote.
The position of the heading is the top right-hand corner of the first page. The address should be placed first and the date should be mentioned just below the address.
The heading (the address and the date) may go to the left alternatively.
In case of a personal letter…
24- Susi Plaza,
110/236-A: Lincon Avenue,
New York-NY 1234 56,
4th June 2001
Here the date can be written in any of the following forms.
4 June 2001
4th June 2001
June 4, 2001
(British People prefer to write the date first and then write the month. But Americans prefer to write the month first and write the date. So, in order to avoid the confusion, you can simply write this way: 4th June 2001)
Already we have discussed this matter in another page. Anyhow, let us see one more time since it is worth of seeing the useful matter for more than once.
The form of Salutation will depend upon the relation in which you stand to the person to whom you are writing.
To the members of your family and to your friends, it can be
My Dear Mother,
To business people, it can be …
The use of the term Dear is purely formal, and is a mere polite expression, not necessarily implying any special affection.
The position of the Salutation is at the left-hand of the first page, at the lower level than the heading.
3. THE BODY OF THE LETTER
This is, of course, the letter itself, and the style in which it is written will depend upon the kind of letter you wish to write. The style of the letter written to an intimate friend will be different from that of a purely business-letter or that of an official communication.
But few hints that apply to all the letters are given below.
(a) Divide e your letter into few paragraphs. Unless it is very short, the message should be written in few paragraphs. This approach will mark the changes in the Subject-matter.
(b) Use simple and direct language and short sentences. Do not try to be eloquent, and drag in long words, just because they are long words. Be clear about what you want to say. And say it as directly as possible.
(c) Be complete. It is a sign of slovenly thinking when you have to add post-scripts at the end of a letter. Think out what you want to say before you begin to write. And put down your points in few logical sentences and order.
(d) Write neatly. Remember that your reader has to read what you have to write, and do not give him unnecessary trouble with bad penmanship and slovenly writing.
(e) Mind your punctuation, and put in commas, semicolons and full stops in their proper places. Incorrect punctuation may alter the whole meaning of a sentence.
4. THE SUBSCRIPTION
A letter must not end abruptly simply with the writer’s name. This would look rude. So, certain forms of polite leave taking are prescribed. Such as
Your sincere friend,
Different forms of leave-taking are used in different kinds of letters. And these will be given under their proper heads.
The Subscription must be written below the last words of the letter, and to the right side of the page. This is the traditional method.
Note that today there is growing tendency to place the subscription on the left side.
The first word of the Subscription should begin with a capital letter.
5. THE SIGNATURE
This must come below the subscription. Thus
(K.S. RAMACHANDRAN)…..This is the place for your name.
Just above your name, you should put in you signature.
The name and the signature should be clearly written so that the reader may know whom to reply.
A woman should prefix to the name Miss or Mrs. in brackets. Ms can be used by a woman who does not wish to be called Miss or Mrs.
6. THE SUPERSCRIPTION ON THE ENVELOP
Both your address (at the place meant for the sender’s address) and the address of the person to whom you write this letter should be written carefully and legibly. Incase, postage is must, take care stamps for the adequate amount is affixed so that the lettered is not bounced.
You should follow all these instructions in every letter that you write so that the purpose of the letter is achieved.
Here is a sample letter which incorporates all the forms-of-letter.
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