A letter is one of medium of communication. People can use it while they are unable to convey information orally and directly. Hence, mastering the art of letter writing is a valuable skill, applicable to various contexts such as business inquiries, emails, personal correspondences, or even social media posts. Effective letter writing not only ensures clear communication but also leaves a lasting impression, particularly in initial interactions.
As mentioned before, the letter itself has numerous types. Each type has its own structure and may be distinctive to others. Knowing the aim of the letter and its proper type is essential before knowing how to write a letter. This article will explain the process of crafting a well-structured letter, irrespective of its type. Whether you’re writing a formal cover letter, a heartfelt personal note, or a letter-format social media post, we’ve got you covered with the correct formats and useful examples.
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Types of letter
Letters fall under two primary categories: formal and informal.
Formal letters adhere to specific formats like indented, full block, modified block, or semi-block. Common formal letter types include:
job or school applications
In contrast, informal letters do not require a particular format. They can be structured in various ways depending on the writer’s preference. Some examples of informal letter types:
thank you notes
letters to the editor
In summary, formal letters follow standardized formats and are used for official/professional purposes, while informal letters have flexibility in structure and style and serve more personal communication goals. But both play an important role in written correspondence.
How to Write A Letter: Quick Steps
Choose Your Format: Select the appropriate format (email, paper and mail, etc.).
Include Contact Information and Date: If using block style, place your contact information and the date at the top.
Add Salutation: Start a new line with a salutation like “Dear Ms. Smith” or “To Whom It May Concern.”
Compose the Body: Write the main content in standard paragraph format.
Conclude with a Complimentary Close: End with phrases like “Sincerely” or “Best.”
Sign Your Name: Sign below the complimentary close.
How to Write A Letter In The Formal Way
Since formal letters sometimes serve as official documents, they require a precise structure and format. There are a few commonly accepted “correct formats” for formal letters. There are two most popular formats of how to write a letter in formal types. They are block style and American Mathematical Society (AMS) style.
In block style, which is used in the following example, all elements align along the left margin. This defining feature sets it apart from other formats. For instance, the first lines of paragraphs do not have indentations as they normally would in writing.
AMS style follows many of block style’s conventions, with a few key differences. For now, block style is the focus as it is the most widely used formal letter format. Its aligned structure and the lack of first-line indents characterize its appearance.
Either style, these basic ground rules in mind will ensure your formal correspondence is properly formatted and effective for a formal letter. The main points covered include:
Writing sender’s full contact information
Using the appropriate name/title for the recipient
Opening with a respectful salutation
Stating the subject clearly
Being concise and focused in the letter content
Formal Letter Writing: AMS Style vs Block Style
Formal letters, such as cover letters or business inquiries, demand precision in structure and format. Two widely accepted styles are block style and American Mathematical Society (AMS) style. Block style aligns all elements to the left margin without indentation, while AMS style introduces slight variations. Below is a guide on how to write a formal letter in block style:
Step #1: Write the Date and Contact Information
– Include your full name and address on the left side.
– Skip a line and add the date.
– Below, write the recipient’s name, address, and job title if relevant.
Step #2: Write the Salutation
– Begin with a formal greeting, such as “Dear Mr. Holmes.”
– After your name, note enclosed materials like a resume.
For the AMS Style, the only differences are no blank line between the sender’s address and the date. Another is that it uses a subject line in all caps before the salutation. To know how to write a letter the informal way, check the following section.
How to Write A Letter In The Informal Way
Informal letters offer more flexibility in terms of format. Follow these basic steps:
Step #1: Add the Date (Optional)
– Include the date at the top, though it’s optional in informal letters.
Step #2: Write the Salutation
– Begin with a friendly greeting, such as “Dear Mr. Lestrade” or casual alternatives like “Hi [Name].”
– End with a comma and skip a line.
Step #3: Compose the Body
– Adopt a conversational tone, allowing for personal touches.
Step #4: Include a Complimentary Close
– Use a friendly sign-off like “Love,” “Warm regards,” or “See you soon.”
In informal letter, people also mostly use Postscript (PS) which adds a PS for last-minute additions. Write “PS” or “P.S.” with a capitalized message.
Whether drafting formal business correspondence or a personal letter, following the right format matters. Formal letters require conventions like block or AMS style formatting and clear subject lines, while informal letters permit flexibility. Regardless, organizing thoughts to communicate clearly in a fitting tone for the recipient is key. Though the conveyed information is important, mastering basics of how to write a letter will promise a better impacts of your letter. Choosing the right style paired with a structured approach enables effective communication of ideas or emotions.