Letter Writing is art that is slowly vanishing. It is disheartening to see that what was once considered to be the hallmark of a civil and erudite person, has now become what is more of a formality that everyone dislikes. Letters have borne the passion of budding love, to the harrowing details of war and have been a timeless form of communication. A letter is a form of expression allowing another person into the crevices of your mind and sharing with them your thoughts. So why is it that something once venerated is now an object of intimidation? Probably because like a typical characteristic of art, letter writing may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Letter Writing could be a less cumbersome task only if the obstacle of choosing the correct format, which suits the occasion, is overcome.
Letters can be broadly classified into Formal Letters and Informal Letters. A Letter is a written form of communication and just like how the manner of speaking would differ while talking to a boss or when to talking to an old friend, letters get classified in a similar fashion.
Informal Letters are like a blank canvas, the writer is free to explore in all the realms of possibilities. The fact that the sender uses an informal tone goes on to suggest that they are fairly uninhibited in communicating with the receiver. Parents, relative or friends are generally the receiver of such letters, those who know you on a personal level.
An informal letter starts with the sender’s residential address on the top right corner of the page followed by the date when the letter was drafted. Below this comes the receiver’s address on the left side starting with the name of the addressee. The salutation starts off the body of the letter. The opening of the letter is informal and the tone of the letter should be friendly and much like a conversation you would have had you met in person. The closing sentences are in tune with the amicable atmosphere generated by the letter and it can be ended with signing off casually.
Below is an example of an informal letter written to a friend thanking them for the birthday gift they sent.
22, Golf Links Apartment,
Park Avenue Road,
Lucknow – 226001
16 January, 2017.
45, Wallaby Way,
Delhi – 110004
I hope you are doing well. I wish you could have attended my birthday party. I missed you a lot. I am writing to thank you for the wonderful surprise you sent me on my birthday. It was very thoughtful of you.
I went to the movies with a couple of other friends in the morning and when I returned, my mom told me that a package was waiting for me. I recognised your pretty handwriting the moment I read my name on the parcel and tore through it. A book! Just what I wanted! I was deeply touched by your kind gesture and hope to be an equally good friend to you. I shall soon dive into the mysteries of Agatha Christie and tell you what I feel about it. We could even read it simultaneously together! Once again, thank you for the marvellous surprise.
Give my regards to your parents and lot of love to your sister. I wish to meet you soon.
Formal Letters are more restricted and generally short. They succulently manage to capture the gist of the motive of writing the letter in the fewest words possible. Despite being short and crisp, informal letters require a greater skill than even informal letters, where you can throw in everything you feel. Formal Letters require a greater command over the language to remain impersonal and objective. It is always advisable to stay polite during the correspondence. These letters are of various kinds, whether Letters of Complaint, Inquiry, Recommendations, Resignation, Leave Approval, and so on. Mostly, they business-centric and hence the engagement should be in the most official way possible.
A formal letter begins with the sender’s address on the top right corner followed by the date. If the sender is representing a company, then the logo of the company may also be included, provided that the date is then written on the left side. Next, comes the recipient’s address on the left starting with their name and designation. A subject may or may not be included in the letter. The salutation mostly uses “Dear” followed by the title Mr, Mrs or Miss and the full name if their name is known or simply Sir or Madam when it is unknown. The opening should reflect the purpose of writing the letter, while closing should carry an impactful expression of what is expected from the receiver. The letter is mostly signed off with “Sincerely” followed by the signature, name, and designation of the sender.
An example of a formal letter written to the Manager of a Restaurant complaining about the poor services offered.
104, Teesta Apartment,
Silver Nest Society, Bandra,
Mumbai – 400050
16 January, 2017.
Bandra Kurla Complex,
Mumbai – 400050.
I have been visiting your restaurant for the past five years and have always had a wonderful experience, until recently. I am writing to complain about an unfortunate incident that took place yesterday.
I placed my order and was waiting for the food to arrive. There was a considerable delay, which can be understood since the restaurant was packed to its capacity, but by the time my food arrived it was already cold and tasteless. The potato fries had turned soggy and the bun of the burger tasted stale. When I brought the same to the server’s notice, he snapped back at me rudely. He even refused to take down a fresh order. The behaviour by the staff and the poor service and quality of food was jarring and quite unlike my previous experiences at your restaurant. I do not wish for a refund for the meal but it is requested that strict measures should be taken to avoid the same to other regulars.
I hope you will look into the matter and do the needful.
After choosing the correct format, pore over many other sample letters to get an idea for the same then put down the thoughts in a comprehensible and structured manner.