How to write a Letter

How to write a Letter in English: Letter-writing is an art. You must learn how to write good letters. You often write letters to your relatives and friends in your mother tongue. When you are asked to write a letter in English. you are puzzled. You may feel difficulty in expressing your ideas in English. Don’t lose heart. You can write letters in English if you learn the art of letter-writing.

How to write a Letter in English

There are some rules for letter-writing. Letters may be written in different forms but the following rules must be followed in each letter :

  1. Avoid bad handwriting in your letter. Always write your letter legibly.
  2. Your letter must be to the point. You should express your ideas clearly.
  3. Your letter should not be too long. Say briefly what you have to say.
  4. Use simple words in your letter.
  5. Avoid spelling mistakes. A word misspelled creates a bad impression upon the reader.
  6. Avoid grammatical mistakes. Always write the correct language in your letter.
  7. Don’t use punctuation carelessly.
  8. Revise your letter and correct the mistakes.

Kinds of Letters: There are four kinds of letters

  1. Private letters – They are written to relatives and friends.
  2. Business letters – They are written to merchants or firms in connection with business.
  3. Official letters – They are written by one official to another in an official capacity.
  4. Applications – They are written for various purposes. e,g. for job, for grant of leave etc.

Parts of a letter – A letter consists of six different parts:

  1. The Heading or the writer’s address and date.
  2. The Salutation.
  3. The Body of the letter.
  4. The Ending.
  5. The Signature.
  6. The Superscription or the addressee’s name and address on the envelope.

1. The Heading: It consists of the writer’s address and date. It is written at the top of the first page on the right-hand side. Each successive line of the address should start a little to the right. We may put commas at the end of each line and a full stop at the end of the last. or we may leave these out. Many people think that punctuation in this part of a letter is old-fashioned. The heading of a letter may be written as follows:

15th February 1988

We can also write the date as 15 February 1988 or February 15, 1988.

2. The Salutation: There are various salutations. The form of salutation depends upon the degree of relationship or intimacy between the writer and the addressee. The salutation is written on the left-hand of the first page at a lower level than the heading. The first and the last words of the salutation should begin with a capital letter, for example:

My dear Father,

The different forms of salutation are as follows:

My DearFather,
Friends:Dear Friend,
Dear Abhay,
My Dear Binod,
Acquaintances:Dear Mr. Sinha,
Dear Miss Ghosh,
Strangers:Sir, Dear Sir (For a man)
Madam (For a woman)
Teachers:Sir, Dear Sir,
Businessmen:Dear Sir, Dear Sirs, Sir,

Note: You must put a comma at the end of the salutation.

3. The Body of the Letter: The body of a letter is the most important part of it. It contains the message that the writer of a letter wants to communicate. Be careful about this part of the letter when you are writing a letter. Arrange your ideas in a systematic way. Use short sentences and simple words. Avoid the use of long and difficult words. Try to express your ideas clearly. In a personal letter try to use colloquial style. Divide your letter into different paragraphs. Be careful about your spelling and grammar.

4. The Ending: It is the end of the letter. It is written at the end of the body of a letter on the right-hand side. It begins with a capital letter. The form of the ending should be in keeping with that of the salutation. The different forms of the ending are as follows:

PersonsThe Ending
Your affectionate
You’re loving
nephew, etc.
Friends:Yours ever.
Yours sincerely,
Sincerely yours,
Your sincere friend,
Yours always, etc.
Acquaintances:Yours truly,
Yours very truly.
Yours faithfully, etc.
Strangers:Yours truly,
Yours faithfully, etc.
Teachers:Yours obediently,
Your most obedient pupil, etc.
Businessmen:Yours faithfully,

5. The Signature: This is written just below the ending and a little more to the right. For example:

Yours sincerely.
Avinash Kumar

6. The Superscription or Address on the Envelope: The addressee’s name and address should be written clearly on the envelope. The name of the addressee should be written in the first line. The second line contains the name of the village or the street. The name of the town should be in the third line. The first line begins a little above the middle of the envelope. Each successive line starts a little to the right. For example:

Note: The word Mr is used before the name of a man. The word Mrs is used before the name of a married woman and the word Miss is used for a girl or unmarried woman. Do not put both Mr at the beginning and Esq. at the end of the name of a person. Thus you must not write Mr. P. K. Sinha, Esq. You must write Mr. P. K. Sinha or P. K. Sinha, Esq. The use of a comma at the end of each line and a full stop at the end of the last line is optional Most modern writers do not use any punctuation in the address.

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