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How to Write a Letter Like an EXPERT

Have you forgotten how to write a letter?

Don't worry, you are not to be blamed. Social media is responsible for the death of letter writing.

The wave of change brought by technological advancements affected a lot of things - including communication.

Read Also: How to Make a Writing Reader Friendly

In less than three decades, our system of communication had grown so fast that it's now possible to get message received in a matter of seconds.

But it has also made messages to lose their personal touch.

That's where letter writing comes in. Writing letters makes your messages to sound like 'you'.

However, instant messaging apps like facebook messenger as well as electronic mails (e-mails) are indirectly making people to forget how to write letters.

That not withstanding, you should learn the basic steps involved in writing letters. Doing that will make you not to 'get lost in the crowd' of the social media. It will also enable you to apply for a job or communicate officially with your employers.

1. Understand the General Format of Letters

Like any other written stuff, there are laid down standard structure.

And you must follow these guidelines especially if you want to apply for a job or you are writing a letter to someone in high authority like the senator.

At this juncture, you should know the two types of letters that are common in a lot of countries.

One is called formal letter, the other is called an informal letter.

These two types of letters have completely different methods. However, they have a one general structure.

All letters, wether formal or informal must have an address, an opening salutation, a body and an ending salutation. This can be seen as the similarities between the two kinds of letters.

2. Determine the Kind of Letter that You Want to Write

Just like I mentioned above, there are two types of letters; formal and informal letters.

Both of them are completely different in terms of the methods of writing and purpose.

Formal letter is a type of letters which is noted for having an "official tone".

Having said this, you must have figured out that formal letters are written only for official purposes.

 Some of the reasons for writing such letter could be to apply for a job, ask for permission or suggest something to your employer.

This type of letter writing is used mainly in companies, organizations, government agencies and even in churches.

On the other hand, informal letter is a type of letters that you address to your friends, family and indeed any other person that you don't have any "official" relationship with.

Unlike formal letters, you are not bound by so many rules while crafting this kind of letter. All you have to focus on is maintaining a "friendly tone" in the letter.

This is a very crucial step that should never be missed. It will enable you to write the right letter to the right person.

3. Write the Address the Right Way

Of course, you should always make sure that the address/addresses which are included in your letter are correct and up to date.

There's nothing more embarrassing than to get a company's address wrong. If you are writing the letter to get a job, then your chances of getting the job will be affected badly.

Use Google maps to verify the address of the company that you want to address the letter.

An address is normally the first thing on a letter. Your letter can contain one or two addresses depending on the type of letter that you are writing.

Formal letters have two addresses while informal letters have one.

In both formal and informal letters, your house address must be present. It is normally the first thing on a letter. It is written at the top right hand corner of the letter.

The address should be followed immediately by a date. The address could either be written in an indented or block format.

Whichever one you choose, you should make sure that it aligns with the format of the body of the letter.

Formal letters contain two addresses. After you have written your house address, the address of the recipient should follow.

This should be done after you have jumped one or two lines.

4. Use the Right Salutation

"Dear [First Name]" is an acceptable method of writing opening salutations for informal letters.

You can as well use the person's nickname if you want. It is also acceptable to use generic terms like "Dear brother", "Dear mother", e.t.c

In all, you should use your sense to weigh which one will not come across as offensive to the recipient.

Formal letters have a different requirement in the salutation section.

You should include the full name of the recipient if you are superior to him/her. But if the recipient is superior to you, you should address him by his title like "Dear manager".

Addressing people by their titles eliminates the chances of you making mistakes about their gender.

5. Watch Your Words

The section that this is very significant in is the body.
 It is in the body of the letter that you reveal the purpose of writing the letter.

In informal letters, the first paragraph of the letter is dedicated to inquiring after the well being of the recipient.
It is not that way in formal letters. You have to go straight to the point.

Also, unlike informal letters, fomal letters do not allow the use of jovial words, contracted words e.t.c

  You should just sound as business minded as possible.

6. Use the Right Closing Salutation

To end an informal letter, you have to follow this rule strictly. You cannot afford to do everything very well only to mess up the end.

So, the ending of a formal letter should go like this;

Yours faithfully/Yours sincerely (whichever one you choose).
Your signature.
Your Full Name (First name and surname).
Your Title/Position

Informal letters on the other hand accept anything.

Anything goes. All you have to do is to make sure that it comes across as "friendly".

Therefore, you can as well end your letter with "With love", "Your brother", e.t.c

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