Letters are generally of two kinds: (1) Private Letters; and (ii) Business or Official Letters. Private letters are written between two friends or relatives, pupils and teachers, or parents and children. They may convey introduction, congratulation, condolence, invitation or request.
Business or Official Letters are written between two parties engaged in trade. They may be written to lawyers, merchants, bankers, shopkeepers, public bodies, government offices, newspapers, or similar other institutions, conveying business message either personal or public. This area also called as official letters.
A letter generally consists of five parts: heading, salutation, body or subject matter, ending or conclusion, and signature of the writer. As regards heading, the name and address of the writer and date of dispatch are noted on the top of the letter.
Salutation is a polite address written at a little down level than that of the heading, but at the left hand side of the paper. The form of salutation depends on the depth of intimacy between the writer and the addresser. In personal letters, it may be ‘My Dear’, ‘Dear’ etc. and formal letters, it is generally addressed as ‘Dear Sir’, (S), ‘Gentlemen’, etc.
The body or subject matter of a letter contains the main say of the writer. It should be stated briefly and to the point so as to convey the message clearly and without any confusion.
A lengthy statement can be suitably divided into personal letters, the language is generally easy, and the message informal. But in formal or business letters, formal language should be used.
In the ending or conclusion part of a letter, the end should be made with a kind of short greeting. In case of personal letters, the writer may end with ‘Yours sincerely’, ‘Yours ever’, ‘Yours truly’, ‘Yours affectionately’ etc. and in case of public or business letters, with ‘Yours faithfully’, ‘Yours obediently’, etchant the end of the letter, the writer should put down his signature.
On the face of the envelope, the writer should write down clearly the full name and full postal address of the recipient so that the postman does not find any difficulty in locating the addressee.