You must have seen that many schools have included letter writing in their English curriculum. Students studying in junior classes are taught how to write letters. Now one might think, what is the need of learning how to write letters in this electronic age? In today’s world, you don’t need to write letters to one another in order to communicate, so how can letter writing prove to be beneficial?
Even though we all live in a world where everything can be communicated through social media, some of the basic things remain unchanged. Like letters are even today considered an essential part of the documentation. For instance, if you want to get into a college or school or any other educational institution, you need to know how to write a letter to the concerned authorities to submit your application. Or suppose if you are in office, then most of the official correspondence will take through letters. So it’s essential that students are taught how to write letters from a young age as it will help them get an idea about how to write one. Now there are two types of letters: the formal letter and the informal letter. Let’s learn a bit about them.
What do you understand about the word ‘formal’? Well, the term ‘formal’ is used when something is done according to etiquette that’s suitable for official or conventional matters. So likewise, formal letters are those letters that are written for official purposes. And while writing such letters, one has to maintain some specific rules and format. So let’s have a look at how one would compose a formal letter. The following points will help students to understand the formal letter format.
- Sender’s Address – One should start the formal letter by writing one’s address (i.e. sender’s address) at the left-hand corner. The address should be accurate as it will help the receiver to communicate in future if they have to.
- Date – Once the sender’s address has been written, the next thing that follows it is the date. One should mention the date accurately as it will help to keep a record.
- Receiver’s Address – Continuing on the left corner of the page, one should now write the receiver’s address. The first line of the receiver’s address should have the position/title that the person holds (to whom the letter is written), followed by the address of the concerned person.
- Greetings – Unlike informal letters, you can’t greet the person as ‘dear/beloved’; instead, include a salutation like ‘Dear/Respected Sir/Madam’. You can also write the name of the person; if you know their name, just remember to add the ‘Respected’ before their name.
- Subject – The subject of the letter will inform the receiver about the purpose/aim of the letter. The subject of the letter should be in the middle of the page and include the summed up purpose of the letter.
- Body – This is the central part of the letter as it will talk about the purpose of writing the letter. One should write in the first paragraph why they are writing the letter. The following paragraphs will include precise points related to the topic on which the letter is composed.
- Conclusion – End the letter talking about how grateful or obliged you would be if the concerned receiver responded to your letter. Add ‘Yours sincerely’ or ‘Yours faithfully’ at the end of the letter.
- Signature – At the end of the letter, now add your signature and write your name below the signature. This way, the receiver can correspond with you in the near future.
Informal letters are generally written to family members and friends. In informal letters, the sender can talk about their personal feelings and keep the tone of the letter informal/friendly. Let’s have a look at how one can compose an informal letter.
- Address – The letter should start by including the address of the sender (the person who’s writing the letter.) at the left-hand corner. This will help the receiver to correspond in future.
- Date – Following the address is the date. Writing the correct date will help to keep a record as well as use it as a reference whenever needed.
- Greetings -. Endearment words like ‘dear’, ‘beloved’ etc., are generally used as a greeting while composing informal letters.
- Body – The body of the letter is the main part of the entire letter. As it includes the purpose of writing the letter, add details about the purpose and the concluding statements.
Signature and Closing – Once the letter has been composed, close it off by closing phrases like ‘with love’, ‘yours lovingly’, ‘regards’ etc., and add the signature and name at the bottom.