Letter Writing

Writing the perfect letter takes skill, practice, and observation of your writing habits. If you’re not careful, you may make a simple mistake of writing “then” instead of “than“, creating complex sentences, or use excessive passive voice. Today, various businesses and individuals use formal and informal letters to establish a connection between businesses, clients, or each other on a casual basis. When writing a letter, it should sound natural, like you’re verbally talking to your audience, and straight to the point.

Unfortunately, some do not know how to write a letter correctly and establish proper communication skills. Listed below are two sections that break down how to properly write a formal letter and an informal letter. In the end, we are going to decide the type of letter is preferable overall! So pull out your pens and paper and get ready to write the best letter you’ve ever written before; or take detailed notes on how to write a letter, whichever floats your boat.

How to Write A Letter

How to Write A Letter

Formal Letter

What is A Formal Letter?

A formal letter is used when connecting with important businesses and personnel. For example, if you’re having issues with your current work schedule and need your hours adjusted accordingly, one way to communicate your concern is via email or by hand in a formal letter.

Step By Step Formal Letter Writing

In the example above, we began with a common issue. Even if your work schedule isn’t the issue, the idea is that you are needing to contact your employer on a serious business matter. When approaching and having a conversation with your employer, it is common courtesy to handle the situation respectfully and professionally as much as possible.

  • Step One: Addressing the respective party

In this situation, you will have to type or create a letter expressing your problem or concern with him or her. First, you would begin with knowing to whom you’re addressing the issue. If you don’t know their name, that is okay. It is recommendable to reach out to your employer or HR department and do light research about the person you’re needing to speak to. Once you have their name, include a personal title, like Mr., Mrs., Miss if unmarried, Ms. if she would like to remain unknown or the status is unknown, and Dr.

  • Step Two: Putting your thoughts, concern, and ideas in a professional tone

Please do not begin the formal letter like you’re speaking to one of your peers or best friends. Starting with, “Sup homie, yo I got an issue that needs fixin’,” will not grant you access for assistance and potential judgment will be cast upon your approach. Take a step back and breathe, then think about what you’re going to say.

For example, start off with either:

  1. Hello to whom this may concern. My name is (blank), and I have a question pertaining to my work schedule.
  2. Good morning/afternoon, my name is (blank), and I am working the morning/night shift in the (blank) department. I have several questions in regards to my work schedule and would like to set up a meeting to address the issue.
  3. Dear Mr. or Mrs. (blank)
  4. Dear (blank).
  • Step Three: Body and Conclusion

After starting your letter, now it is time to dig deep into the problem at hand and address the issue. Be cautious of common spelling errors and punctuation misplacements. For some people who are not natural writers, they would include either complex sentences or long words and phrases to fill in the gap.

Complex sentences will only distract your reader’s mind. This will also cause them to re-read your letter several times, cause serious confusion about your issue, or not receive a clear message as to what you’re saying. Also, avoid long phrases and run-on sentences. The goal is to have them understand the main message, clearly and concisely.

Once you’re finished writing your letter, then it is time to bring it to a friendly close and sign off on it. Some professionals recommend saying “thank you” or “best regards” at the end of the letter. This shows that you appreciate the time the reader is giving you in helping you through your situation. Finally, include your name at the bottom of the letter and press send! Your name at the bottom is like a signature from you since it is your letter.

Informal Letter

What is An Informal Letter?

An informal letter is similar to a formal letter but more relaxed. It doesn’t require the exact same structure and formalities and has a personal and informal tone to it. Generally, you’ll use an informal letter with your friends, family, close and long distant relatives, or your neighbor’s cat (okay, maybe not your neighbor’s cat).

How to Perfect An Informal Letter

There’s not much in writing an informal letter to someone you know on a personal level. Your co-workers or business partners do not count since they’re associated with your employer and engaging in an unconducted manner. like sending an informal letter, will cause unnecessary problems.

Generally, focusing your letter in a friendly and welcoming tone is beneficial to your reader. You’re getting them engaged in the conversation and it’s full of positive feelings. Even sending an invitation is considered a social letter. At the end of your letter, you can conclude an affectionate note like “lovingly“, “yours truly“, or “best wishes“. Again, make sure you include your name at the end.

Informal vs. Formal: Which is Better?

Both types of letters serve a valid use, depending on one’s situation. As mentioned above, if you’re creating a letter for your employer, the HR department, a local or federal government, or even the President, then it is wise to use a formal letter. If you’re seeking to engage with your peers, needing a quick pick-me-up, or wanting to update your great-great-great grandpappy about his great-great-great-grandchildren, then using an informal letter will be your preferred option.

Still, the concept of appropriate language, proper spelling, and grammar, along with unique vocabulary that makes sense, is strongly advised in any and every letter you write. Even if you’re practicing on your downtime, it doesn’t hurt to write what your heart feels like or put your ideas on paper to gain a better sense of everything before molding your letter in the way it should be.

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