Every educated person should know how to write a good letter. All of us have to write letters of some sorts at some point of time.
There are several different kinds of letters. For examples, there are personal letters and business letters. The form of each letter is determined by its kind. For example, personal letters are written in a friendly tone. Business letters, on the other hand, are written in a formal style.
Parts of a letter
There are six important parts to all letters. They are:
3. Body of the letter
4. Subscription or leave taking
6. Superscription on the envelope
The heading usually consists of two elements – the writer’s address and the date. The purpose of the heading is to inform the reader where the letter was written and when.
The heading should give the full postal address of the writer to which the reader may reply. The heading is usually given in the top right-hand corner of the first page. The date is given below the heading. Don’t put your name with the address. The address and the date may alternatively go on the left.
The date may be written in any of the following formats:
18 October 2003
18th October 2003
October 18, 2003
The date may also be written entirely in figures.
All-figure dates are interpreted differently in British and American English. For example, 12.10.2003 means 12th October 2003 to British people. To an American it means 10th December 2003. Americans put the month before the day.
Salutation or greeting
The form of greeting depends upon the relationship between the writer and the reader of the letter.
In letters written to family members and close friends, the greeting could be –
Dear Father, My Dear Mother, Dear Uncle, Dear John etc.
In business letters the greeting should be Dear Sir/Dear Madam/Dear Sirs etc.
Note that here the use of the term dear does not imply any special affection. It is a merely a polite expression.
Put the salutation at the left-hand corner of the page. It should be put at a lower level than the heading.