How to Write a Letter?
Let’s start with the basics of how to write a letter! The history of letter writing goes back a long time, and over the years, it has definitely changed a lot. From using it as a medium to communicate with people sitting in a faraway land on an essential matter to expressing the love you have for someone, letters have always been a significant part of human history. Over the years, it has evolved a lot, and currently, we have email as its modern counterpart.
The Approach of Writing a Letter and Its Types:
The approach with which you will write a letter will depend on the type. Broadly speaking, letters can be of two types; a formal letter and an informal letter. When you are clear about the kind of letter you wish to write, you need to focus on the tone, language, and nuances of the letter.
Tips for Letter Writing
Let’s see all the basic steps,
- Firstly, you need to identify the type of letter you wish to write. As I have mentioned before, the type of letter will govern the approach and the tone you will be following. If it is addressed to an official person, it will be different from the one you are writing to your father. Hence, identify the type first.
- Maintaining the format of the letter is very important. That’s why always remember to use proper opening and closing lines based on the type. Formal letters will have a formal greeting as an opening and a formal closing line in the end. Just the opposite is applicable for informal letters. You can add a personal touch there.
- Make sure you establish the main reason behind writing the letter as soon as possible. For formal letters, it is all the more important. The purpose of the formal letter should be loud and clear.
- The language of the formal letter differs a lot from that of the informal letter. Even if you are complaining about something, you need to restrain yourself from using harsh words. Polite language and civic expressions are applicable for both types, but you can use a casual tone in informal letters.
- The length of the letter is a vital aspect. Since formal letters are meant to be precise, and to the point, they should not be unnecessarily lengthy. In the case of informal letters, the length will be determined by the type of message you wish to convey. The relationship between the writer and the recipient plays a role here as well.
Basic Steps on How to Write Letter
The use of letters has changed a lot, and according to that, there are a few changes in the process as well.
Let’s look at the steps.
Step#1 Selection of Paper
The type of paper carries an impression, that’s why you need to choose the right kind of paper for your letters. Depending on the purpose, you should choose the design. If the letter is on behalf of your company, it should be printed on the company letter pad.
Step#2 Formatting of the letter
The formatting of the letter is very important. Thus, while typing it, make sure to use the appropriate font. There are no hard and fast rules of selecting a font; however, the idea is to choose one that makes the letter clear and readable. Choosing something too stylistic may not be a good idea.
Step#3 Alignment of the letter
When it comes to the overall alignment of the letter, you will have two choices; block and intended. For the block format, you will get everything aligned on the left side of the page. But with the intended format, every first line of your paragraph will be intended by one inch. Both of these formats are acceptable in formal letters, but block form is more widely used.
Step#4 Write the address and the date
Next, you should include the address and the date. These are the two most important pieces of information you add right at the beginning. Make sure they are added at the top, and then after skipping a line, you add the date followed by the recipient address. For block format, you might have to left-justify all of the addresses. For the intended format, you will have options.
Step#5 Use proper salutation
Now, it’s time for you to add the salutation. Now, as you might have seen, the most common one is “Dear,” but if you don’t know the name of writing a formal letter, you can simply add their title or their last name.
Sometimes it isn’t easy to find the information about the person responsible for the department you are addressing. In that case, you can simply call the office and get the information. If that is also not working, then you can simply use “To Whom It May Concern”. The salutation can be followed by a colon or a comma.
Step#6 Body of Letter
Now you have the body of the letter. For the body, if you are using the block format, then you should always left-justify the paragraph but make sure to leave a blank line in between to make them clear. The intended form will have the first line intended by one inch for each paragraph.
The body part carries the purpose of the letter. So, if it is a formal one, then make sure to keep it precise and to the point. For an informal letter, you can write with a few casual greetings and immediately jump to the main concern.
Step#7 Use active voice
It is ideal to use an active voice in the body of the letter.
Step#8 Re-establish the purpose of the letter
But also need to write the closing paragraph in a way that will re-establish the purpose of the letter. You can also add the request for the follow-up action. You can end the letter with a few more pleasant sentences like,
- “Thanking you” or even
- “Please let me know if I am required to present….”
These sentences will ensure the polite tone of the formal letter.
Step#9 Closing Lines
Lastly, you need to add the complimentary closing lines. If it is a formal letter and the person is unknown to you, you can add phrases like “yours sincerely”. But if the person is known to you, then you can add other closing lines like,
- “Yours truly”,
- “best wishes”,
- “kindest regards”, etc.
Step#10 Additional Information
In the end, you will have to list some additional information. This is primarily needed for mailing. You can add them under the salutation part. This additional information might include separate mailing, enclosures, and courtesy copies. The first one will let the recipient expect future communication from your end.
Enclosures indicate that you have attached some additional documents with the mail and courtesy copies indicating that this letter has been sent to other people. They are usually indicated by “CC” or “Copies to”. For mailing, these facts are very important.
How to Write a Letter Example
Formal Letter: Write a letter to your friend about a recent film
78th R. D Road, Central Avenue
It’s been a long time since I have heard from you. Hope this letter finds you in good health.
I am writing this letter to share my experience with you about a film I have recently watched. I guess you remember when you told me about the phenomenal short-story writer Sadaat Hasan Manto. Well, I was moved beyond words after reading his literature.
But only recently, I came to know about a film released a year ago named Manto. I guess you can understand by the name that it is based on his life. I think you haven’t seen it yet otherwise your letter would have reached me before I would have written this one.
Well, I don’t wish to give you any spoilers, but I would definitely say that it’s a must-watch for any Manto admirers like you. The hardship of his own life has been portrayed beautifully in the backdrop of his immortal stories. Nawazuddin Siddiqui is playing the lead role, and Rashika Duggal is playing his wife. Both of them were phenomenal.
As I said, I won’t reveal too much but will definitely request you to give it a watch and kindly let me know what you think of it.
No more for now. Please give my best regards to your parents.
Informal Letter: Write a letter to the councilor about a blood donation camp
52, M.N Sinha Road
Pin – 896525
52, M.N Sinha Road
Pin – 896525
Sub: Organizing a blood donation camp
I am writing this letter on behalf RKSC sporting club situated in your jurisdiction. This letter is to draw your kind attention to an initiative we have planned considering the current situation.
As you might know, the demand for blood is always relevant. This is why we have decided to organize a blood donation camp in our sports ground on 30th May (Wednesday) from 10.00 A.M, in the morning. We have already contacted the blood bank and sought permission from the local police station.
Therefore, we request you to kindly allow this initiative of ours and visit the venue with your graceful presence on the date mentioned above.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
(General Secretary – RKSC)
So, there you have it, all about writing a letter. Learning the art and process of writing a letter is still a very relevant skill to master. Although letters have changed a lot in recent years, the use of formal letters is helpful in our day-to-day lives. And knowing how to write a letter perfectly from the beginning till the end sometimes could be a life savior. I believe with the above discussion; you now have a fair idea as to how to write a letter while maintaining the proper format. For any additional queries, leave a comment below.