Letter Writing is simply 'The way or method of writing a Letter'. Letter Writing is an Art, one, which not all of us are proficient in or appropriate as per conventional wisdom. Before, we focus our attention to Letter Writing, let us understand what a Letter is? A Letter is a written message, request for assistance or employment or admission to a school. Letters have played and are still playing an important role in communication throughout the world. Paper Letters have been in existence from the time of ancient India, ancient Egypt and Sumer, through Rome, Greece and China, up to the modern times. Paper letters were once the most and at times the only reliable means of communication between two people in different locations. Its format and importance has changed with evolution of technology, especially with advent of email.
Despite the advances in the technology, Paper Letters are still written and in remote places, they are still the only means of communication. No matter, what the medium, letters play an important role in our society which is based on interaction. If letters play an important role in the world then the skill to write it, becomes a necessity in all walks of life. Letter writing is not just a simple way of writing; it is a specialised form of writing. It has certain rules which vary according to the type of letter being written. To be able to know what to write and how to write a letter is an 'Ace up one's sleeve'. It is mastery just like writing poems and though one may not become a celebrity but one does get applauded and even paid for such unique skills. The revolutionised age of communication has reduced the value of Traditional Letter Writing as SMS's, Twitter, Blogs & their counterparts have taken over. But when it comes to Official or Formal Setups, there is a protocol as to how a message is to be conveyed and presented. Such and other varied environment have to a large extent saved the rare and unique art of letter writing.
Types of Letters
There are various kinds of letters like Address Change Letter, Business Letter, Cover Letter, Farewell Letter, Get Well Letter and so on. These different types of letters are different in their subject, occasion and purpose. They have various criteria like format, length, vocabulary, language and other essentials which need to be followed.
The most widely acceptable types of letters are:
Formal letters are those letters which follow certain styles of writing a letter. They are known as formal letters because they are written in accordance with certain established practices. Such letters are mostly used in working environments like various offices and businesses and have very meagre emotional language. Formal letters are mostly written by officials and businessmen.
Informal letters are those letters which are written with minimalistic rules, thus the term informal letters. Informal letters are personal correspondences and that is why they do not require as much of a rule observance as compared to the formal letters. Informal letters are mostly written by relatives, friends, peers etc. of the recipient. The purpose of writing informal letters is socialisation and information exchange.
Informal and Formal Letters are further subdivided into various categories which further may have their own subcategories
Address Change Letter
Address Change Letter
Cover Letter for Visa
Maternity Leave Letter
As is evident from the above mentioned, certain letters have been categorised under both informal and formal types of letters. This is because certain letters have informal ingredients even when they are written within the parameters of formal letters. The above categorisation is just to show a division and not to strictly confine a letter to just one category only. Certain letters are strictly formal as they have to follow certain regulations and their use is restricted to just the official environment. And some formal letters when written to express emotions within a working environment use informal language as without using the informal language the letters wouldn’t be able to properly express the emotions they want to.
Differences between Formal and Informal Letters
Formal letters follow fixed pattern of styles
Informal letters have varied patterns of styles
Formal letters are mostly used in working environments like offices
Informal letters have very limited usage in working environments
The language of the letter in formal letters is by and large impersonal or work related
The language of the letter in informal letters is by and large personal or related to social aspects
Formal letters can have informal tone whilst writing under certain circumstances
Informal letters do not have a formal tone as they are meant to express emotions and social communication
Informal words like ‘Gonna’, ‘Wanna’, ‘Dude’, ‘Bro’ etc. cannot be used in formal letters
Informal letters are not restricted in language. Slang words and non conventional terminology is acceptable in these letters
A lot of care is taken to write the appropriate Salutations in formal letters
2-3 types of salutations are acceptable for informal letters as there is not much need of formality
Length of the letter is very important and it shouldn’t be too long
Length of the informal letters varies depending upon the subject matter
Closing or Complimentary gestures vary in formal letters
Closing or Complimentary gestures don’t vary as much in informal letters
Letter Head is a conventional practice in formal letters
Letter Head is not a conventional practice in informal letters
Letters can also be categorised as per their purposes. Since most of the letters are written for academic, business, personal and reference purposes they can be categorised in a similar manner
The most common purposes for which letters are written divide them into:
Academic Letters – Letters concerned with academic affairs of various academic institutions or pertaining to academics under various capacities are known as academic letters.
Some of the types of academic letters
Business Letters – Letters written for purpose related to business and its’ relative processes are known as business letters.
Some of the types of business letters
Personal Letters – Letters written for sharing personal information, views, opinions etc. are known as personal letters. They are akin to Informal Letters.
Some of the types of personal letters
Get Well Letter
Reference Letters - Letters written by an authoritative person for an acquaintance, to introduce the acquaintance to the concerned for employment, admission and/or other objectives. These letters are similar to formal letters.
All the information provided on letters.targetstudy.com has been derived from reliable sources available in the public domain. Though the basics of letter writing are almost the same worldwide, certain practices do vary from state to state and country to country, especially when it comes to legal correspondence. Thus the information provided on the site is for guidance and reference only. While every care has been taken to present the information in most comprehensive, accurate and updated form during compilation, yet letters.targetstudy.com does not take any kind of responsibility regarding the content. However if you have found any inappropriate or wrong information/data on the site, inform us by clicking at (report error tab) on the extreme right of the screen for rectification/deletion/updation of the same.