When it comes to choosing a medium of conveying a message from one person to another, it cannot be denied that letter writing is timeless. If you are intent into becoming an excellent communicator, you can start by mastering the art of letter writing. It’s a good start and it can help you practice how to effectively communicate through one of the written forms of communication.
In this article, learn more about the nuances of letter writing as we will be discussing the different elements of a letter, the steps on how to make one, and the possible types of a letter that you can write. Along with that are letter templates and examples that you can easily download should you be in need of one.
The contents of a letter, in some instances, will vary depending on who or where you will be sending it. But should you want to create just a basic one, here are some elements you must know and learn:
1. Heading: Even if you can make use of letterhead, it is still best if you would opt to use a heading first so you can fully understand what a letterhead would contain. A heading contains the sender’s name, return address, and contact information. Keep in mind that you can send a letter without using a letterhead but never without a heading.
2. Date: There are some people who would indicate the date when they wrote the letter, it is ideal if the date you will indicate is the date when you will send your letter. The usual date format used in letters is month-day-year and is written in full, meaning you should never abbreviate the month and you should always include the four digits of the year.
3. Inside Address: This is the element where you are going to indicate the name and address of the receiver of the letter you are writing. The first line should indicate the full name and title of the recipient. Make sure you will properly address the recipient of your letter such as indicating the correct title and writing the exact spelling. This line is then followed by two to three lines designated for the recipient’s actual address.
4. Salutation: Your salutation will depend on the circumstance or the person you are sending the letter. You use “Dear” if you know the name and/or title of the receiver. For example “Dear Mr. Cruz” and “Dear Sales Manager.” If you have no idea what the exact name and/or title of the receiver is, then you should use “To Whom It May Concern.” In ending this element, make sure to punctuate it. If it is a business letter, then make use of colon instead of a comma. You may also see application letter examples.
5. Body: This part is the longest part of your letter and is divided into three paragraphs: the introductory paragraph, the main paragraph, and the concluding paragraph.
6. Complimentary Close: This element basically means goodbye since this is where you are ending the letter. The commonly used closing remark is “Sincerely.” But there other closing remarks you can use along with various degrees of formality and degree of the relationship of you and your sender.
7. Signature: A traditional letter would contain your handwritten signature above your printed name. A letter that is sent via email would only contain your full name as the sender and is typed right after the complimentary close.
With the use of the letter templates that we have here in this article, you can create a nearly perfect and flawless letter. And with that, here are the steps in writing a letter using a template.
1. Decide on a letter template: The templates that we have here may have a layout and design that may or may not fit the appearance you have envisioned for your letter. Make sure that you will choose a letter template that fits your vision. Choosing a template that is too different from how you want your letter would be presented means that you will unnecessarily spend a lot of time editing and modifying a template’s layout and design. Reserve your time for the next step.
2. Add your own contents in the letter template: Right after choosing your preferred letter template and ensuring that it contains the layout you will need for your letter, you can proceed to adding your own contents. The contents of your letter are the details of each of the necessary elements that your letter must contain, namely, the heading or the return address of your letter, the date, the inside address, salutations, the three-part body of the letter, closing remarks, your complete name in print and signature.
3. Proofread, edit, and finalize: Once you get everything place, make sure you will proofread every single thing that you have written. You may have spelling errors and grammar mistakes that you haven’t noticed while writing. Right after proofreading and noticing that these errors and mistakes exists in your letter draft, make sure to edit it immediately so as not to miss anything. Once all is checked and edited, you can have it finalized for printing.
There are two major types of letters: formal letters and informal letters. Learn more about these two major types below.
1. Formal Letters: Formal letter follows a particular pattern and formality since this is a strictly professional in nature and are commonly used in a workplace or business setting. The letter you send to authorities also falls under this category.
Formal letters also have other specific types. Below are some types:
2. Informal Letters: Informal letters are basically personal letters or friendly letters that do not follow any standards and do not adhere to certain formalities. This is the type of letter you would send to a dear friend, acquaintances, family members, etc.
A letter usually comes in A4 and US sizes. An A4 paper comes with dimensions of 210 × 297 mm. On the other hand, the common US paper used for a letter is the US Letter Size that comes with dimensions of 216 × 279 mm.
Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding letters:
The effectiveness of a letter is highly dependent on the way it is written. This means that any letter can be effective if it is written the right and proper way. A letter that is written the right and proper way contains all of the necessary elements that make up the structure of the letter, the sentences formulated within the letter is cohesive, and that the subject matter is presented well. The recipient’s understanding of your letter can be your basis whether you have written an effective letter or not.
Letters can be written in four various letter formats: full block style, semi-block style, modified block style, and modified semi-block style.
Letter writing involves a lot of benefits. Knowing how to write a letter is a must-have skill should you want to accelerate your career since any employer would get impressed with a well-written letter. It helps you in improving your overall vocabulary plus, doing constant practice can really enhance your grammar. And above all, through writing a letter, you can communicate your thoughts and opinions effectively.
Before our means of communication had been dominated by technology, letter writing is considered a very important skill to possess and even an important requirement in society. But despite the fact that we now usually communicate via e-mails, chat, and text messages, the art of writing a letter is still considered as an important skill to possess even both in the workplace and personal lives.