An Introduction to Letter Writing

[dropcap]A[/dropcap] letter is a written communication between two persons. It takes the place of conversation so it should be as simple and straightforward as day to day conversation is. We should remember, however, that conversation of an educated person is up to the mark. So the language should be impressive, clear and grammatical. People today are very busy and seldom have time to read or write long, letters. So no attempt should be made to go into unnecessary details or to write conventional sentences about the weather, health and general well-being of the person addressed. A letter should be to the point.

Read: How do you start writing a short story in simple four Steps?

Introduction

Letters are prose-compositions. They should not unnecessarily be used as a vehicle to express poetic thoughts and sentiments. The language of a letter should be clear and correct but not flowery or superfine, because in that case the personal touch of conversation is lost, and a letter begins to give us a feeling of superficiality. It looks more like a pose, or an exercise in fine composition than a true expression of one’s feelings.

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A letter should be sincere. Any attempt to indulge in mental acrobatics, or to show by a process of superficial reasoning that you can prove the impossible or say clever things which look nice so long as one does not think about them, will leave a bad taste.

The most important point to be remembered is that a letter should be reasonable. The matter in the letter should be handled carefully. When you are writing to a friend who is suffering from a fatal disease, it will be highly improper to write

You are suffering from such a serious disease. Only a few of those who suffer from it leave their beds. Let us hope it will be different in your case

It may be true, but it is not prudent. You should, in a case like this, encourage the patient, give a feeling that he will recover very soon. To do this you should tell him all those things that you will do when he regains health. The other thing that you can do in such a case is to tell him some interesting facts, a few anecdotes, a joke or two, so that he may have some diversion or pleasure in his hour of suffering.

Read: Letter to editor about Unemployment in our Country

Conventions of Letter Writing

Letters are generally divided into two classes:

  1. Social letters
  2. Business letters

Social letters include all kinds of friendly letters, invitations, requests made to friends and their replies to them. We shall first deal with this kind of letters.

1: How to begin a social letter

In all such letters, the address of the writer should be written in the upper right-hand corner of the paper. The form in which it should be written is very rigid, and should always be followed very strictly, especially in putting the punctuation marks. The date on which the letter is written should be placed under the address. A few examples are given for the benefit of the students.

[padding right=”” left=”80%”]Katchery Road,
Sialkot City.
July 10, 2002.[/padding]

[padding right=”” left=”70%”]Ismat Mansions,
4, Talat Road,
Akhtarabad.
2nd August, 2002.[/padding]

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In the case of very close friends, the address can be ignored and mere name of the city is enough because they know who you are,

The following points should be noted:

  • All letters with which the words begin in the address are capitals.
  • An address should be written in the following form.
    Katchery Road,
    Sialkot City.
    July 10, 2002.
  • Punctuation marks should be noted very carefully.
  • The date must be given in either of the two forms given above. All other forms should be avoided. A date given in any of the following forms is not correct.
    11/16/2002  18-2-2002.

Read: Letter to the DPO Requesting to Control Crimes in Your Area

Salutation

The next important point is the Salutation. it differs with age, relationship and the degree of friendship. We consider them one by one.[tie_list type=”lightbulb”]

  • Relatives who are older than the writer are addressed as follows:
    My dear Father,
    My dear Mother,
    My dear Brother,
    My dear Uncle,
    My dear Cousin,
    My dear sister,
  • In the case of relatives who are younger than the writer one can use the name of the person addressed:
    My dear Salima, My dear Akhtar,
  • When they are of nearly the same age, it will be better to use their full name:
    My dear lsmat Mahmood,
  • Friendship has its degrees. Some friends are very intimate, Some are not so. The situation will, in this case, depend upon the degree of closeness. A very close friend can be addressed as:
    My dear Ahmad, or My dear Bhola,
  • But in the case of friends with whom our relations are only recently formed the salutation should include full name:
    My dear Ahmad Ali,
  • A person may be just an acquaintance with whom friendship has not yet developed or whom you have met only once or twice. In such a case it will be more appropriate to use Mr., Miss or Mrs. before his or her name:
    My dear Mrs. Akhtar Mahmood,
    My dear Mr. Masood Ahmad,
  • But the acquaintance may be such that you do not want it to ripen into friendship, or you want to keep the man at a distance, so that relations may be purely formal. in that case the words ‘My dear’ should be replaced by ‘Dear’
    Dear Mr. Abdul Qayyum,
    Dear Miss Waheeda Qureshi,

Body of the letter

The letter should not begin in a business tone.

Received your letter dated 4th August. Thanks for the same

is not an attractive beginning for a letter to a friend. It should carry some warmth and enthusiasm which one feels for a friend.

Subscription

These are the words under which we sign our name. it depends on the relation in which the writer stands to the addressee. Here are some of the subscriptions:[tie_list type=”starlist”]

  • Relative older than the person writing:
    Yours affectionately, Yours very affectionately,
    Your most affectionate……..
    (write on the dotted line the relationship you have with the person concerned),
  • Relatives younger than the person writing:
    Yours affectionately,
    Friends: Yours very sincerely,
  • Acquaintances, or where people have not to be encouraged to become informal:
    Yours sincerely,Under the subscription you write your name. In the case of older relatives, it is proper to put down only that part of the name by which one is usually called in the close family circle.In the case of younger relatives the full name should be written. This does not include surname or caste. You should never write:Chaudhri Allah Ditta,
    It should only be: Allah Ditta,With close friends one may give only the first name or the name by which he is usually addressed by his friends but not so in the case of mere acquaintances. In the latter case the full name should be given.

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2: How to Write Business Letters

Business letters are different from social letters. Here the personal touch is not very important. Moreover, we have to hide our feelings, whatever they may be. It is good to show warmth towards the other party, though without being sentimental. We have to be brief and clear in this busy world, where no one can spare time for matters not related to the business. The form of this kind of letters is different from that of Social letters.

Address. On the upper right corner, the name of the firm which is writing the letter is given and under it the name of the firm to whom the letter is addressed.

Messrs Ahmad & Co.,
Beadon Road,
Karachi.

Messrs Asghar & Co.,
Ferozepur Road.
Lahore.

Salutation

[tie_list type=”thumbup”]

  • The usual salutation when a letter is written by one firm to another, or by a client to a firm, is:
    Dear Sirs,
    When a firm writes to a client it is:
    Dear Sir,
  • In the Government offices an officer writing to his superior always uses the word:
    Sir,
  • In case of a memorandum, there is no salutation and no address. The subject is dealt with right away and the name of the party, to whom it is addressed, is written opposite the signature.
  • In a demi-official (semi-official) letter (D.O.) an officer addresses another by name and the subscription is “Yours sincerely.” This type of letter is closer a personal letter.

Some Salutation and Subscription

Address

Salutation

Subscription

PARENTS
GRAND-PARENTS
My dear Father,
dear Mother,My dear Grandfather,
My dear Grandmother,
Your loving son,
Yours affectionately,
Your loving grandson,
Yours very affectionately
RELATIVES (elders)

Sister
Brother
Uncle
Aunty

My dear Sister,
My dear Brother,
My dear Uncle,
My dear Aunt,
Yours affectionately,
OR
Your loving rother,
Your loving nephew, etc
RELATIVES
(youngsters)Brother
Sister
Daughter
Cousin
Nephew
Niece
Brother-in-Law
Sister-in-Law
My dear Nazir,
My dear Rubina,
My dear Akhtar,
My dear Roohi,
Yours affectionately,
FRIENDSMy dear Tufail,
Dear Bashir,
Yours sincerely,
Yours most sincerely,
Yours very sincerely,
ACQUAITANCESdear Mr. Asif Bashir,Yours sincerely,
Yours very truly,
STRANGERSSir,
dear Sir,
Yours truly,
TEACHERS,
PROFESSORS,
Sir,
Madam,
Yours most obedient pupil,
Yours respectfully,
Yours obediently,
BUSINESS
LETTERS
dear Sir,
dear Sirs,
Gentlemen,
Yours faithfully,
Yours truly,

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