Tuesday, July 5, 2011

WRITING FORMAL LETTERS in English - part of the letter


You have already learnt (last year), the various kinds of letters and the essential features of a good letter. You have also learnt how to write letters for different occasions under ‘informal’ or
‘personal’ type, and a few sample situations under ‘formal’ type.

Let us now recall the layout, and the various parts of a formal letter.

The Parts of a Formal Letter

A formal letter contains seven parts:
1. the heading
2. the inside address
3. the salutation
4. the body
5. the closing
6. the signature
7. address on the envelope

There are two styles used frequently for formal letters. With the block form, every part of the letter begins at the left-hand margin, and paragraphs are not indented. In the modified block
form, the heading, the closing, and the signature are aligned along an imaginary line just to the right of the centre of the page. The other parts of the letter begin at the left-hand margin. All paragraphs are indented.

The Heading:
The heading usually consists of three lines:
.your street address (or post office box number)
.your city, state, and PIN code
.the date of writing

The Inside Address:
The inside address shows the name and address of the person or organisation you are writing to if you’re writing to a specific person, use a courtesy title (such as Mr.., Ms..,Mrs., or Miss) or a professional title (such as Dr. or Professor) in front of the person’s name. After the person’s name, include the person’s business or job title (such as Owner or Sales Manager),followed by the name of the company or organisation and the address. If you are writing to the organisation use ‘Messrs’.

The Salutation:
The salutation is your greeting. If you are writing to a specific person, begin with Dear, followed by a courtesy title or a professional title and the person’s last name. End the salutation with a colon, or a comma (like Dear Mr. ……; or Dear Dr. ……..) If you don’t have the name of a specific person, you can use a general salutation, such as Dear Sir or Madam. You can also use a department or a position title, with or without the word Dear. To address the organisation use ‘Sirs’.

The Body:
The body, or main part, of your letter contains your message. If the body of your letter contains more than one paragraph, leave a space between paragraphs.

The Closing:
In closing, you should end your letter in a courteous manner. Closings often used in formal letters include Sincerely,Yours truly, Respectfully yours, and Regards. Capitalise only the first word of the closing.

The Signature:
Your signature should be written in ink, directly below the closing. Sign your full name. Do not use a title. If you type your letter, type your name neatly below your signature.

Address on the envelope:
Give correct address with pin code here.

Guidelines for the contents of a formal letter

Formal letters usually follow a few simple guidelines:

.Use a courteous, positive and professional tone. Maintain a respectful, constructive tone – even if you’re angry. Rude or insulting letters are counterproductive.
.Use formal, standard English. Avoid slang, dialect, contractions or abbreviations. Formal letters are usually formal in tone and use of language.
.State your purpose clearly and quickly. Assume that the person reading your letter is busy. Tell why you are writing in the first or second sentence of the letter.
.Include all necessary information. Provide all the information your reader needs to understand and respond appropriately to your letter.

As in the case of personal letters, there are various types of formal letters, like: Request or Order letters, Complaint or Adjustment letters, Appreciation or Commendation letters.

In this unit, we shall learn how to write letters of request and order.

Request or order letters:

Often, you may require something that you can obtain by writing a request letter. For example, you might write to a college to request a catalogue of courses offered, or you might write to a
state’s tourism agency to request a brochure about a travel destination. An order letter is a special kind of request letter that is written to order merchandise by mail, especially when you do not have a printed order form.

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