The art of writing a letter takes practice, knowledge about proper form and the ability to put into words your feelings, thoughts, and/or ideas. If you learn the basic parts of a letter, it will help you to create letters for a variety of occasions.
Parts of the Letter:
At the top of your letter, you will put your address, so the reader will know where to send their reply to.
Put the date on which the letter was written in the format Month Day Year i.e. June, 15, 2011.
The inside address is only required for a business letter and will include the address of the person you are writing to along with the name of the recipient, their title and company name. If you are not sure who the letter should be addressed to either leave it blank or try to put in a title, i.e. “Director of Human Resources”.
The greeting will address the individual that the letter is being sent to. This is usually completed in the form of “Dear Anne” or “Hey Anne”, for less formal letters.
The Introductory Paragraph
The first paragraph and will generally outline the purpose for the letter and the reason that the letter is being sent. This can address any issues that are outstanding and is used to set the tone for the entire rest of the letter. In this first paragraph, the summary of the letter can be found and the intentions which will be displayed through the rest of the letter should be outlined. From the first paragraph of the letter, the introductory paragraph, the individual should be able to note the tone of the letter.
The body of the letter will expand upon the introductory paragraph and the individual can extend their thoughts and feelings further when it comes to the letter. The body of the letter can be anywhere from multiple pages for personal letters, to one page or two pages for most business letters and other types of proposals.
In the closing of the letter, the individual will close the letter and finish any thoughts that have been mentioned. The closing of the letter comes in various forms from yours truly, for those individuals that are familiar with one another, to a traditional sincerely which is a versatile closing that can be used in a variety of letters detailing many situations.
Informal opening closing formulae
- Hi Sahra,
- Dear Paul,
- Dear Mr. White,
- Thanks for your e-mail
- Thank you very much for your letter of…
- It was great to hear from you,
- How are you? /How is your family?
- I have some good news. I’m writing to tell you.
- Write soon!
- That’s all for now / well, that’s all my news
- I look forward to hearing from you
- I hope to hear from you soon
- Give my love to../ my mother sends her love to…
- Best regards/ best wishes
- All the best
- (Lots of) love
Sample Friendly Letter
506 Country Lane
North Baysville, CA 53286
July 16, 2007
It feels like such a long time since the last time I saw you. I know it’s only been several weeks since I saw you. So far my summer has been great!
I spend my all my weekends at the beach. I am getting a nice tan and you can no longer say I am paler than you. I have been playing lots of volleyball, surfing and building a nice collection of sea shells. Just this past weekend I took second place in a sandcastle building contest!
On the weekdays I work. I drive an ice cream truck around and sell ice cream to the kids. It is so cool. It is a combination of the two things I love most, ice cream and kids. The pay isn’t too great but I love the job so much.
I hope the summer’s been going well for you too. There’s only a month and a half left in summer vacation and after that it’s back to school. Would you like to meet up some time before school starts?
P.S. John Austin says hi.
Email etiquette is often a commonly overlooked part of the business and professional world despite being an important part of conveying a professional image. Emails written to friends and family will be less formal and will not need to follow any particular guidelines or rules, but when writing to someone at a professional level the following guidelines and rules should be taken into account.
Guidelines and Rules of Email Etiquette
- Use a descriptive subject line, avoid leaving it blank or putting an irrelevant or general subject.
- Address the recipient by name to add a personal touch to your letter.
- DO NOT USE ALL CAPS!
- Avoid over using punctuation marks!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Avoid using abbreviations, such as IMHO (in my humble opinion) or TTYL (talk to you later), not everyone is familiar with them.
- Skip a line when starting a new paragraph, avoid using tabs to signify a new paragraph, different email programs read tabs in different ways.
- Avoid using HTML in your e-mails, not everyone can view it and it takes away from the professional image of the letter.
- If you are sending an attachment, make note of it and describe what the attachment is for in the body, some people are very wary of attachments due to the threat of computer viruses.
- Keep your emails as concise as possible without leaving out any important information.
- Keep usage of quoted text to a minimum.
- Always leave a signature line, don’t assume the person already knows who you are.
- Do not keep on sending the same message to the same person over and over again, if they don’t respond after a few days, send them an e-mail enquiring if they received your first email.
- Use spell check and proof read and revise your letter after it’s done.
- Use threads, if you get a message from someone and you are going to respond, don’t send a new message, simply hit the reply option on your email, this keeps the original subject line with “Re:” in front of it.
- If you are sending out an email to a large private list don’t use CC: (carbon copy) use BCC: (blind carbon copy) to protect the addresses of the recipients.
- Remember most emails are never completely private, there is always a chance of someone else besides the intended recipient reading it, so avoid writing any personal attacks which are unprofesional to begin with.
- When reading emails treat them as if they are private messages (unless you know you are allowed to share it with others).
- When you receive a message reply to it as soon as you have time to.
Thanks for the e-mail.? It is always nice to hear from people, especially
from you, Scott.
I have not got any reply, a positive or negative one, from Seibido yet.
Let’s wait and hope that it will make a BOOK.
Have you finished your paperwork for Kaken and writing academic articles?
If you have some free time in the near future, I want to meet you and
explain to you our next project.
Why not drink out in Hiroshima if we are accepted?
We need to celebrate ourselves, don’t we?
Let’s have a small end-of-the-year party!
Sincerely,?? K. Nakagawa
Hope you are well.
I’m writing to you, yet again, in your capacity as “Answer Man.”
One of our David English House teachers has just e-mailed me to see if I
have any more information on “university listening tests” which are to be
I have no information about any such tests.? Do you?? If so, could you
please let me know.
Thank you kindly.
Hi there, Doreen
Long time no see. Hope all’s well in your world!
I haven’t been to JALT all year, shame on me, but I needed the break.
I still see the guys and I’m going to the national, so don’t write me off
I was trying to remember who you’ve published with in the past, and I
wondered if you had any contacts at Nan’Un-Do. I want to send a
proposal to them but have no names, and the personal touch is always
I might go to see Jane Willis, family commitments permitting, any plans in
that direction? Going to Shizuoka I presume?
Bye for now
All the best
How are you?
I think I haven’t told you yet.? After workin for? Kobe Kaisei Girls’ Junior
High School, I got a job here at Kure National College of Technology.
Anyway, coming home to Hiroshima, I resumed my research. I know what I
have to do first: To publish the dissertation of mine … When I was in Kobe,
it was too difficult.
These days I finally finished writing a summary in English,? which is
required for publication.? Prof. YAMADA gave me? some comments.? But I
wonder if it is free of any unnaturalness.? Could you have a look at the
attached file (it is the summary in question) and give me comments?
I’m not in such a hurry.
Thought I’d send out a picture of my little monsters.? They had a great
Halloween yesterday.? Doreen and Dennis came over to hand out candy so
Ray and I were both able to go out with the kids.? They made quite the
haul, the dentist is going to love us!
Doreen and Dennis left this morning for Wisconsin.? They hope to get to
Idaho today.? Judy, you should be seeing them sometime next week.? I
hope they have good weather.? They’ll be back here in time for
I hope you all have a great weekend!
Thanks for your reply.? You are always so quick!
I sent an-mail to Mr. Imai of Seibido yesterday, and I just got a phone call
from him.? They want us to send the whole thing and also a “Project
Plan.”? It seems that they have some form to fill in to describe the project
in Japanese, so I will write something which will appeal to the publsiher.
That’s all for now.? Let’s hope it will come out!
Dear Prof. Lauer,
I hope you are doing fine. I am now in Saitama, but will go back to
Hiroshima to attend the conference. We would like to visit you to say
thank? you for your cooperation. During this week, WED, THU, and FRI,
please let me know when you will be in your office. We would like to visit
Hi Professor Lauer,
I was asked by Mr. Nagai, the leader of our tennis club to let you know
that we have made plans for a tennis camp, which is to be held on Nov.
23-24 at Taishakukyou.
We hope you will join the camp. If it’s impossible, how about coming on
either of the two days? I guess we can enjoy seeing autumn leaves as
well as playing tennis.
All the best.
After the exciting Saturday, I guess you’ve been doing as good as that
Saturday.? The weather is good, food is good, and studying is good in this
season.? I like this season the best.
Oh, well, this introduction may remind you of students’ writing, so I
should stop it now.? To make a long story short (or the introduction
short?), I am sending you this message to say thank you.? I said so for
the Saturday already.? Today’s “thank you” is to the vocabulary test,
which was delivered to me today.? On the letter from Professor Tanaka,
your name was also written, so I assume that you and Prof. Tanaka
worked together to develop this test.? To tell you the truth, I like it, and I
do want to use it for my research and classes.? He said that an online
delivery is being planned.? I wonder if anyone can use the test.? If so, this
is really great.
Sending you a thank-you message, I would like to ask you a favor.? The
attached is a thank-you letter to? Prof. Tanaka.? Would it be too much to
ask you to print it out and hand it to him?? If so, would you send me back
a “Do it yourself” message.? I’ll send it by regular mail.? Or would you let
me know his mail address.? (I hope he is a regular mail user.? In our school,
there are still quite a few senior professors who don’t use e-mail at all.
Yes, AT ALL!? Can you believe that?)
OK, Dennis, sorry for interrupting you with my favor.? Hope to see you