Letter Writing and its importance
Letter writing was one of the strongest mediums we had once upon a time. Before the digital era, any information or message to be passed from one person to another person in a different geographical area has to be via handwritten letter writing. One can express any sort of thing through letter writing. As letters were written in their own hand, so there remained a personal touch in each letter. Nowadays, with the advent of electronic communication, letter writing has taken a new dimension. You can’t escape from it and in any case, you have to write letters. Only the medium has been changed. From handwritten ones, now we are drafting emails using electronic systems. In fact, a lot of new forms of letter writing have come up while using modern technology.
What is a Letter and Letter Writing?
A letter is a mostly handwritten message conveyed from one to another person through a particular medium. Being a part of communication and information sharing, letters have a big role to play in any country. There are several examples of letters where the social, political, and financial perspectives have been clearly portrayed. Nowadays, electronic mails or e-mails are also considered as a subset of the letter. This is the biggest medium now and none can ignore the same. So, a letter is now drafted in a computer also to be sent to its recipient.
Letter writing is the art of expressing your thought most creatively. It can be of any conventional type or even in the most informal way. But, without any doubt, letter writing is still very much pertinent in our system. You can’t think anything beyond writing a letter if you need something or want to express your views. That can be a new application for the electricity at your home or even a letter to the Principal of your son’s school asking for details of his study. In everywhere, letter writing is a must till date.
Why do we write letters?
A letter is written on several occasions. Yes, the practice of writing letters in your own hand is very less now and limited to a particular section that wants to keep this art alive. But, once it was not like now. There were ample reasons to write letters on various occasions. Now, we are writing letters on almost all occasions be it official or personal using certain systems and methods. Thanks to modern technology, one now can express his feelings in various ways through letter writing.
Let’s see what are the occasions when we do write letters:
- Expressing yourself
- Asking for details
- To do some changes
- Saying something with reasons
- Memories to preserve
- Thanksgiving to a particular person
- Ask for help
In all those cases, we write letters with a specific purpose. This is either to mention some special things or for any kind of solution. And, there is a good impact on handwritten letters also. The receiver can feel the pulse and can act accordingly. There always remains a personal touch in your handwriting that will feel the other person happy. Despite being in distance, he or she can feel your presence. That is the key success of letters.
Letter Writing Format and Its Importance
Of course, writing letters have a great importance. You simply can’t deny the fact. But, yes, every letter has its own format. When you are writing an application to your local municipal head asking for a water connection that format and tone of the letter must not be the same when you are writing a special letter to your beloved one. It needs to be changed and it will vary invariably.
Types of letter writing
There are mainly two types of letters that are written – one is termed as formal letters and the other is obviously the informal letter. Let’s have a look at the different types of letters:
- Formal Letter – formal letters have a certain format and pattern. It needs to be addressed properly and the words are chosen as per professional words. Generally, the issues are addressed directly to the concerned person. Writing this type of letter is an art as it demands certain qualities to mention all the given points within a specific area. Any sort of business letter to higher authorities falls under this category.
If you talk about the examples of any formal letter, then a letter addressing to the School Principal, or Civic Body, or any concerned person/company asking for some support can be an example for such. If you need a new broadband connection at home, then you might need to write a mail to the concerned authority. Similarly, if your local sewage station is not being cleaned regularly, then you can raise a complaint to the municipal authority with a different tone. All these come under the formal letter segment where some official or business or solution or support-related things are associated. Any kind of Business Letter or Official Letter falls under this category and one can easily identify the tone while writing or reading.
- Informal Letter – From its name, it is clear that these are not as per any set of rules or regulations. There need not have any format or pattern. One can write what he feels and are generally personal letters. These are the written conversations between family members, friends, relatives, etc.
Informal letters are generally written from a different perspective. Suppose your close friend stays in a different country and you want to know something about that new place. Vice versa, you want to mention the present time of your location to your friend. In this case, obviously, you will not start your letter with “Respected Sir/madam”. Rather Hi, Hello, Hey, Dear are the most common words to be exchanged therein. Further, the language of the informal letter is very lucid and close to the heart. If you are writing a letter to your beloved one, obviously you will not write in the same mode as you write to your boss at the office. There lies the difference of tone while writing formal and informal letter writing.
If you enter into the depth, then there will be various subcategories of formal letters. The theme and content vary due to the purpose of the letter. Still, those can be sub-categorized in the following manner:
- Business Letter – This type of letter is mainly for any business-related correspondence. It normally consists of complaints, asking for a claim, placing a quotation, query for an order, etc. Every letter is different, but the tone remains professional and business-oriented. You have to tweak your language in case if you are placing a quotation for a particular product or in case of asking for money against the work you have done. There must be a decorum inside the mail and it should be enough professional to deal with.
If you are running a business and if you want to participate in a tender, then you have to write about your company, its financial strength, your vision, and how you will capitalize on this occasion if the order is received. This is a sheer example of a business letter.
- Official Letter – Mainly written wither from one office to another or for inter departmental purpose. It conveys rules and regulations, any event information, procedures to follow, and others. These are also formal and demand certain things to be maintained strictly. These are drafted keeping multiple people in mind generally and one should follow carefully every word before sending it.
An official letter is such which is circulated in an office. It can be regarding the new amendments made in the policy or for informing everybody about a particular decision or from one company to another company giving details of some relevant things.
- Circular Letter – If you want to direct a large number of people with some definite message, then circulars are the best options. You are preparing a circular that everyone has to obey or maintain. So add all relevant points in that circular so that transparency remains among all.
- Employment Letter – If you need a job, then you have to send a letter to the concerned authority mentioning why you are suitable for that post. This is an art to convince people who have not seen you but want to understand whether you can be a good choice for a particular work or not. Writing employment letters with a positive tone often yields good results. It is a practice that you should carry on for your betterment.
Letter Writing Format
There are multiple formats for letter writing. Firstly, you have to check what type of letter you are going to draft. Accordingly, the format is chosen. For example, if you are writing an application to a school principal, then from start to end, the tone will be different. Your salutations will be there as well as the endnotes. But, if you are writing a letter to your friend or any relative, then there might not be any case to follow certain etiquette. You can write freely whatever you feel and the other person will also accept the same sportingly.
Tips for Letter Writing
Let’s check some tips and tricks of letter writing. It will help you to draft a letter accordingly.
- Identifying Letter Type – This is the first and foremost requirement whenever you are going to draft any letter. You must be able to identify the type of letter you are going to write. If you are writing to your Boss in office, then it must be within certain decorum. Alternatively, if you are asking for money from your client, then the content will be different. You have to check what type of letters you have to write. You have to tune up accordingly.
- Start and End of a Letter – It is very important to start a letter with proper respect to the receiving person. The same has to be followed in ending the letter also. It is generally maintained in the case of formal letters. You must address it properly with the right salutations. Equally, the close of the letter is also important. It is always better to close with your regards or giving a thank you to the receiver. That sets the tone of the letter perfectly.
- Precise Content – None has all the time in the world to read pages after pages. Your letter body should be concise, crisp, and to the point. It must address the things you want to highlight and those need to have enough clarity to be understood. Polite expressions, proper civil languages are key features of these types of letters.
- Language – With no doubt, the language of any letter should be polite and modest. Even if you are complaining against anything, you should be careful in choosing the words in a good manner. It is your education and upbringing that is reflected in the letter, not any threat or abusive words.
- Length of the Letter – Well, this is a tricky one and the most important factor too. The length should be moderate enough as no guideline can be set regarding several words or sentences. It all depends on the topic you are writing the letter about. But, you should always keep in mind that people prefer short and point-oriented bodies in the letter. So, adjust the length of your letter accordingly.
Many people will wonder why letter writing is important still now. Apart from your regular need in the personal or professional world, letter writing has several good qualities that can enrich you to a great extent.
Let’s take an example. Writing letters help to practice your craft. Writing a letter is an art and it demands specific attention while writing the same. You need to express yourself in a better way and for that letter writing is the perfect medium. You’re every word count and you could pick the words as you want to put stress. Due to the writing capabilities, a simple letter becomes an outstanding and model one. There was a tradition of handwritten letters that used to come via postal service. Modern times have seen electronic letters sent in a whisker and the recipient receives it within a fraction of a second. So, there is no second option but to write a letter carefully and do check before sending.
It improves your relationship with the other person. So many thoughts are clarified in the letter and you have ample opportunity to express your views. It can be a professional letter also to your superior making him understood the certain situation. You might not be able to say all those in person. But, using a letter, you can easily put down all the points you wanted to mean. Similarly, for a personal letter, a letter acts as a savior to sort out several misunderstandings. A detailed letter can save a relationship or future of a person. There lies the importance of such letters.
So, letter writing is an art and you have to be a master of the same. Then only your words will get the required power and will be accepted accordingly. There can’t be any ready-made formula to write good letters, but certain formats can be followed. If you are going to apply for a passport, you have to write a letter in a way by mentioning all your identity and other details. But, if you are writing a mail to all your colleagues to celebrate the foundation day of the office, then the tone becomes different. You have to learn all those. Then only you will be able to write quality and effective letters. In every aspect of life, we still feel the importance of letter writing and it will remain with us in different formats.