You can find Previous Year Informal Letter Writing asked in ICSE board exams.
Guidelines for Letter Writing
Writing letters is one of the most important forms of communication and plays a vital role in our life. Over the years there has been a revolution in the field of communication, like the telephone, wireless, cell phones, fax and of late the e-mail. Leaving aside the fax and the e-mail, which lack permanence, a letter is a permanent record which one can always refer to later. It has a informal touch and projects the personality of the writer. One must therefore exercise proper care in learning this art, for it plays an important role in fostering good relations with friends, relatives, acquaintances and business organisations.
We can broadly classify letters into:
- Informal letters
- Formal / Business / Official letters
They differ in format and tone.
Letter writing has a maximum of 10 marks in the ICSE examination which are allocated as follows.
|2 1/2 marks
|2 1/2 marks
This is a format in which a letter is written. It is different for informal and formal letters and is dwelt on later. Care should be taken to adhere to the proper format.
Since a letter is written to communicate something, you are judged on how effectively you have covered the subject. Hence your composition should be brief and relevant to the subject.
The letter tests your skill in expression and thus has a high weightage of marks. It would be helpful to keep the following in mind while writing a letter:
- Like all composition writing, it should be written to a plan.
- It should have an interesting introduction and concluding sentence to make it appealing.
- Should follow a logical or chronological order by dividing the subject matter into paragraphs.
- Should use direct and simple language. Avoid high flown or vague language.
These are letters written to friends, colleagues, neighbours, acquaintances and relatives. Their style is therefore simple, natural, and with a touch of witticism to make it intimate. The tone is conversational and informal with spontaneity to make it interesting.
The usual subject of such letters could be exchanging news, views, extending invitation, congratulations, expressing sympathy, grief or offering an apology. Besides layout and content, one must observe the basic rules of writing good composition like grammar, punctuation and spelling.
Layout of a informal Letter:
A informal letter can be written in a traditional format or a box type format as given in Figures 1 and 2.
Traditional format, Figure 1
Box type format, Figure 2
A Informal letter basically has six parts as under:
1. The address of the writer :
In the traditional format (Figure 1) It is written at the top right hand comer of the page. Each part of the address should be in a separate line, with the name of the city and the pin code no. coming last. The format being block type, with or without punctuation marks. A typical address would look like
101, Golf link Apartments, 90, Park Road,
10th January, 2017
In the box format (refer Figure 2)
2. Date :
The date on which the letter was written should be below the writer’s address, after leaving a space of one line as shown above. The month should be written in full, and not abbreviated as 01/10/2017 or Jan 10, 2017. The ‘th’ should be written on the line, and not as 10th. There is a comma after the month, followed by a full stop after the year.
3. Salutation or greeting is written below the writer’s address and date, but on the left hand side of the page followed by a comma. The salutation would depend on your relationship or closeness to the person you are writing. The different forms of salutation along with their subscription are given at serial number 5.
4. Body of the letter comprises:
(a) The opening sentence:
Sets the tone of the letter. The letter could be in response to a previous letter, or refer to a particular subject, or be general in nature. A few examples of such opening statements could be:
Hope this letter finds you in the best of health and spirits. It has been a long time since I wrote to you.
Thank you very much for the. … I am sorry to hear that…
I would like to congratulate you …
I would like to apologise for … etc
(b) The subject matter:
Like any other composition, it must be written to a plan, and enumerated in paragraphs.
(c) The concluding sentence:
This gently sums up the subject matter, and leaves a loving impression on the reader’s mind. A few examples of such sentences are as given below.
Kindly give my regards to Uncle and Auntie.
I am looking forward to meeting you.
Wishing you a speedy recovery.
Looking forward to hearing from you, etc
5. The subscription or courteous leave taking:
This is written after the concluding sentence, on the right hand side of the page, followed by a comma. It is a polite leave taking and has different forms, depending on the person you are addressing the letter. Some salutations and subscriptions depending on the person you are writing the letter is given below:
|To whom the letter is written
|Dear Father, or My dear Dad, Dear Mother, or My dear Mummy,
|Yours affectionately, or Your affectionate son, or daughter, Your loving son, etc.
|Dear brother, Dear sister, Dear Amit, Dear Arti
|Your loving brother/sister, or Yours lovingly,
|Dear Uncle, /Aunt,
|Tour affectionate nephew/niece, Or Yours affectionately,
|Dear Grandpa / Grandma
|Your affectionate grandson/ granddaughter,
|Close friend/ Acquaintance
|My dear Arti, Dear Mr. Sharma, Dear Ms Arti
|Yours sincerely, or Your friend, Yours sincerely, or Yours truly,
6. The signature and name of the writer:
It comes below the subscription. Here you can write your first name.
FORMAL / BUSINESS / OFFICIAL LETTERS
They are formal letters written to government agencies or company officials. The tone of such letters should be formal and not sound too personal and intimate. It should be concise and to the point, giving relevant facts and figures. Depending on the purpose for which such letters are written, they can be categorised as:
- Letter of application
- Letter to a newspaper
- Letter of complaint
- Letter of apology
- Letter of persuasion
The Layout of A Formal Letter :
Like a Informal letter the format can be Traditional (Figure 1) or Box type (written one after the other) like in Figure 2.
In the traditional format :
1. The address of the writer and date is written at the top right hand corner of the page, as in case of a informal letter.
2. Name and address of the receiver :
This is written immediately after the address of the sender and the date, but on the left hand side of the letter. A few examples of such letters addressed to officials, business firms and an unknown addressee are as given below.
|The Managing Director Reliance Industries Limited 70, Nariman Point Mumbai – 400001
|Messrs Lekhraj and Company Ltd 90, Park Road Lucknow 226001
|The Advertiser/s Box No. 1001 The Times of India Hazratganj Lucknow – 226001
3. The salutation or greeting is written below the name and address of the addressee but on the left hand side of the page, followed by a comma. The salutation varies depending on the person you are addressing the letter. It could be a man or a lady or a business firm. The different forms of salutations along with the subscription are given at serial number 6.
4. Business heading:
The subject of the letter is written in brief between the salutation and the first paragraph. It may be underlined
5. The body of the letter comprises:
(a) The opening sentence which should either be in response to an earlier communication, or have a reference to the subject of the letter. A few examples of such opening statements could be:
This has reference to your letter dated …
Thank you for your letter dated …
I would like to apply for … etc.
(b) The subject matter: It must be brief, written to a plan and enumerated in paragraphs, maintaining the formal tone throughout the letter.
(c) The concluding sentence: It is a gentle request and varies depending on the topic of the letter. Few examples of such sentences are:
I shall be looking forward to a positive reply…
I shall be grateful if my application is considered favourably, etc.
6. The subscription or courteous leave taking:
This is written after the concluding sentence on the right hand side of the page followed by a comma. A few salutations and subscriptions are as given below.
To whom the letter is addressed
|Dear Sir, or Dear Madam,
|Yours faithfully, or Yours truly,
|Dear Sirs, Sir, or Madam,
|Yours faithfully, or Yours truly
|College Principal Or Teacher/ Newspaper Editor
|Sir, or Madam
|Yours obediently, or Your obedient pupil, Yours faithfully, or Yours truly,
7. The signature and name of the writer comes below the subscription followed by the designation (if relevant).
8. The address or superscription on the envelope in which the letter is to be sent.
1. Salient Features of a Letter of Application
It has all the characteristic features of an official letter. However since the objective of this letter is to project one’s suitability for the assignment in question. It must cover the following parameters:
- Refer to an advertisement or source of information. Give brief reference to the post applied for.
- State qualification and experience begin with the present or most recent.
- Give brief detail of education qualification, specialised training or course attended.
- Enclose testimonials and curriculum vitae.
- Convey an assurance of earnestness for the job, if appointed. Sample letters given in subsequent pages.
2. Salient Features of a Letter to a Newspaper or (Letter to an Editor)
It has all the characteristic features of an official letter except for the salutation and the superscription, which are Sir, and Yours faithfully, respectively. It however differs in certain aspects like:
- It should be addressed to the Editor.
- The tone should be formal with a clear and forceful approach, leading the reader to your point of view.
3. Salient Features of a Letter of Complaint
It has all the characteristic features of an official letter. One should however avoid making immediate strong demands or hold out a threat. It should be calm, sensible and reasonable. The brief outline could be as follows:
- Give reference to the complaint.
- Cause of complaint and its effect on you and the surrounding.
- Request for action.
4. Salient Features of a Letter of Apology
It has all the characteristic features of an official letter. Since the essence of the letter is an apology, it must besides expressing regret, also offer an explanation as to why it happened. There must be some assurance about steps being taken, to set the matter right. A brief outline of such a letter could be as follows:
- Give reference to the complaint made.
- Give a plausible explanation for it, stating facts.
- Inform about action being taken
- Conclude with a formal apology.
5. Salient Features of a Letter of Persuasion/Patronage or Help
It has all the characteristic features of an official letter except for the tone, which is more persuasive in nature. The purpose being to convince the reader to your point of view. Hence there is need to put forth logical arguments, substantiate your point of view with data and facts. A brief outline of the body copy of such a letter could be:
- State the purpose of your letter.
- The availability of present facilities and amenities, that are inadequate.
- Need for change, with plausible arguments and facts.
- Likely benefits that would accrue if the changes are made.
- Conclude reiterating your proposal and its likely benefits.