‘Letter-writing’ is an creativity or you can say imagination. It is now-a days an essential part of life – personal as well a professional. It is one of the important arts of civilised life.
It is an art which every educated man should develop.We have to write many letters of one kind or the other during our life-time. Hence, it is desirable to know what makes these letters interesting and attractive. The value of a good letter is great, both in business and in personal correspondence. A good letter always impresses. A badly written letter may lead to misunderstandings.
A letter is a substitute to conversation. The object of a letter’s is to convey a message to the person at the receiving end, there being no personal contact. It is, therefore, natural that every letter should be simple, clear and concise.
It is, therefore, essential to learn not only the technique but also, the art of writing letters through constant practice.
The style of letters should be adapted to the person and the subject. To superiors, it should be respectful; to inferiors, courteous ; to friends, familiar; to relations, affectionate; to children, simple and playful. On important subject, it should be forceful and impression; on lighter subject, easy and flowing; in condolence, tender and sympathetic; in congratulation, lively and joyous.
In business letters, politeness and tact are very important while in personal letters, sincerity is the highest virtue.
Some Hints on Letter-Writing
- Write as you speak. Your letter should be in the nature of a conversation.
- Adapt a familiar style for those who are intimate, but write in a formal tone to the strangers.
- Have a suitable beginning before you start with the actual letter.
- Write what you have to say clearly and briefly, and do not beat about the bush.
- Be courteous and tactful. Avoid giving offence.
- Avoid boring remarks. Do away with hackneyed phrases.
- Never fail to date your letter.
- A person should write in a simple and clear language. The style of a letter depends on the nature of its contents. Private letters should be in the conversational style; business letters, short, concise and to the point; and official letters, formal and dignified.
- Don not neglect good spelling even in the most familiar forms of correspondence. A letter should be legible, grammatically correct and rightly spelt
- Avoid bad punctuation which is often the cause of obscurity. Mind that there is no apostrophe (‘) with yours. Do not write your’s.
Kinds of letters
There are generally three kinds of letters:
- Personal or private Letters.
- Business Letters.
- Official Letters.
- Personal or Private Letters: These are letters written between friends, relatives, teachers and pupils. These letters include notes of invitation, letters of congratulation, condolence, recommendation, introduction, request etc.
- Business Letters: These are written on business matters, both public and private. These are written to businessmen, companies or firms. They are written for ordering goods, seeking information or acknowledging receipt of articles, in general relating to business or commercial matters. Letters to editors may be treated as business
- Official Letters: They are written to and by officials of government and similar public bodies. Letters of complaints and information to officials, application for posts and other similar letters come under this class