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How to effectively write personal letters?

Tips and Tricks

Letters to relations, friends, colleague or acquaintances are called personal letters. They are written in simple, familiar and informal style. The usual subjects of such letters are: invitation, request, apology, congratulations, postponement, inquiry, sympathy, thanksgiving, and conveying news.

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For the sake of convenience, we shall consider such letters under two aspects: the layout and the subject matter.

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Layout of a Personal Letter

(a) Address of the writer is written at the top right hand corner of the page. Do not put your name above the address. There is a comma at the end of each line of address and full stop at the end of the last line, the lines themselves are indented, as:

Buddha Park,

Niladree Vihar,

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You may also write your address is in a block (i.e. without indentation) and without using any punctuation mark, as:

Buddha Park

Niladree Vihar

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(b) Date of the letter is written directly below your address.

Note:

  1. the best way to write the date is to indicate the day, month and year; e.g. 10th May, 2009.
  2. Do not write 10.5.2009. or 10/5/09 as this way of writing the date is not considered appropriate.

(c) Greeting or Salutation: After you have written your address and the date, go to the left-hand side of the page and write the Salutation. The Greeting or Salutation has a line to itself and is followed by a comma. The form of gritting will depend upon the relation in which you stand to the person to whom you are writing; as,

To whom
Greeting

Near relatives
Dear Mom, My Dear Dad, Dear Uncle Jack, Dear Grandma, Dear Sonia, etc.

Close friends
Dear David, My dear Lilly, etc.

Acquaintances
Dear Mr. David, Dear Ms. Jolly

(d) Opening sentence of the letter could be a response to an earlier communication. However, it should have a reference to the subject of the letter. Here are some useful suggestions for opening sentences:

I was delighted to hear of your success…..

I am very sorry to tell you…..

Do you know what has happened to…..

It was good to hear from you…..

How can I ever thank you for…..

We were all terribly shocked to hear…..

It’s a real pleasure to be able to congratulate you on…..

Thank you for your letter…..

(e) The body of the letter contains the subject matter of the letter. The body of the letter like any other composition must be broken up into paragraphs.

(f) Concluding sentences: You should conclude your letter with a sentence which has some connection with the topic of the letter. The last sentence may be in the form of conveying love and respects to the family members. These are the kind of sentences at the end of a personal letter which leave a friendly impression:

  • Give me regards to your parents.
  • Please remember me to your brother.
  • don’t hesitate to write again if i can be of any further help.
  • We all miss you here.
  • I am looking forward to your visit.
  • Do write again soon.
  • Don’t leave me without news from your side for too long.
  • I look forward to hearing from you soon.

(g) Subscription or Leave-taking : The letter must not end abruptly but must end with certain forms of polite leave-taking such as:

To whom
Leave-taking

Near relatives
Yours affectionately, Your affectionate son, (nephew, sister, uncle, etc.), Your loving son,

Friends
Yours sincerely,

Acquaintances
Yours sincerely,

Note:

  • The leave-taking phrase must be written at the bottom of the letter, and on the right hand side of the page.
  • The first letter of the subscription must begin with a capital letter; e.g. Yours sincerely,
  • There is a comma at the end of the subscription.

(h) The signature or name of the writer comes below the subscription.

Use your first name only for this purpose in personal letters; as,

Yours sincerely,

_____________________

Subject Matter

The body of the letter containing the subject matter is the main part of the letter. Here you will have to follow the the point mentioned in connection with the writing of different types of compositions. If you are asked to give directions as to how to hire a flat, you will have to about the assignment in the manner in which you treat a factual story. Similarly, if you are asked to image yourself to be a solider and explain your experience in the battlefield, you will have to follow the general pattern of imaginative story. You will have to impersonate imaginatively and try to understand the thoughts and fillings of a solider.

You must adopt a tone appropriate to the matter you are writing about. Always keep in mind the person you are writing to. If you are writing to your parents, your tone should be intimate. If you are writing to a friend the tone should be informal and personal.

Divide your letter into paragraphs and use simple and direct language. Write neatly, putting in proper punctuation marks. All these elements contribute to create a favorable impression on the reader of the letter.

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