Structure of Different types of Letter
Just like any written form of communication, even Letter is expected to follow a specific format, a specific structure to appear appealing and convey information effectively. The structure helps you frame your thoughts and pen them down in a coherent manner. Any type of letter is it formal or informal, has a message to convey. It may or may not have a plan of action to be suggested. In a competitive exam, a letter topic is generally provided in the below format:
Write a letter to your friend to let the friend know about your recent job change. Mention:
- The reason for change
- The new position you got
- How is your new job life
Write a letter to the Police department to report loss of an item. Mention:
- What was the item?
- Where did you lose it?
- What is the action you would like the police to take on it?
As it can be seen in the topics above, an essay needs to convey information on multiple points. Hence, the structure to be followed for each type is as below:
Salutation is your initiation of communication. It is meant to politely and respectively greet the reader or receiver. In the present day scenario, people use “Dear” as the communication prefix in the salutation. Depending on the type of letter, the following words differ in the salutation.
In formal letters, we generally do not know the exact person to whom the letter might be addressed to. Hence, we avoid addressing it to a person directly. Thus, we use “Dear Sir/Madam” as a common salutation for formal letters. Occasionally, we might be aware of the gender of the opposite person. In such cases, we can use “Dear Sir” or “Dear Mam” accordingly.
In semi-formal letters, we usually know the receiving person by name. Hence, the salutation used in case of semi-formal letter is “Dear Mr. XYZ” or “Dear Mrs. ABC”.
Informal letters are addressed to close relatives and acquaintances. Hence, the salutation generally contains address to the first name. For instance, “Dear John” is a valid Informal salutation
Every letter is divided into small paragraphs. Introduction is the first paragraph containing a brief explanation of the purpose of letter. It is generally re-phrasing and elaboration of the main topic at hand. Introduction is expected to begin with polite greeting in case of Informal or Semi-formal letters while it begins with a one sentence introduction about you in case of formal letter.
I am resident of ABC street located near XYZ mall.
I am the leader of Labour Union of XYZ company
Semi-Formal & Informal
Hope this letter finds you in good health
Hope you are doing great today
It’s a pleasure to write you again
The purpose is written in a terse manner using two to three sentences. It is meant to draw the attention of receiver towards the further information. It also helps the reader identify the priority of the letter in real-life context. A sample introduction for the above formal topic of the letter can be written as:
I am a resident of Park Street area. I am writing this letter to report the loss of my briefcase. The briefcase contained some highly confidential documents which are of great value for my business. It was brown in colour with my company logo “Medtech” embossed on it.
3. Section 1
The next section that follows is meant for the second bullet point ideally. The paragraph begins with words like “I would like to report”, “I have been facing an issue”, “I am glad to inform that”, “I was travelling by bus last evening” and so on. This sets the context of further sentences. This is followed by information about the second bullet point. A sample Section 1 paragraph of the Formal letter can be written as:
I lost the briefcase while commuting by the metro train last evening. Being a Sunday, the crowd in the metro was less. Hence, I placed my briefcase on the seat by my side. I was travelling for Park Street to Salt Lake City. I took a short nap during this long journey. When I woke up, I found out that my briefcase wasn’t where I placed it.
4. Section 2
This section would usually suggest future plan of action or will be used to show gestures to the reader like inviting to your place, asking for the reader’s appointment, requesting a suggestion on some point and so on. The section can contain 4-5 lines depending on what you plan to write. It also depends on the context and purpose of writing. One can provide the actions to be done in the form of a numbered or bulleted list or as a coherent paragraph depending on the need. A sample Section 2 paragraph of the Formal letter can be written as:
I remember being awake until the Rippon Street station. Hence, the bag should have been picked up after that around 8:30pm. I would request you to follow up with the metro station teams if you could get a lead on the briefcase from the camera footages.
The concluding section is a closure of the letter with a thanking gesture or a closing statement along with a brief good bye signature. For the formal letter being considered here, we can conclude it as below:
I hope to hear from you soon. In case you need my co-operation in finding the same, I would be available as per need.
Thanking you for your time.
The closing greeting is an important part of the letter. It is important to understand which signature could be used in what context. Ideally, the words “sincerely” and “faithfully” are used in a formal or semi-formal context if the opposite person is a stranger or a higher authority. However, in case of an informal letter, “Yours’ truly” or “Best regards” or “Best wishes” helps it close better. A detailed list of closing statements and signature is given below:
|Looking forward to hear from you soon
||I can’t wait to hear from you
|Awaiting a positive response
||It would be a pleasure to have you home
|Thank you for your precious time
||Hope you get well soon
|You have been a great asset to us. Thank you
||Appreciate your help in this regards
|Looking forward to a great partnership
||Hope to see you soon
|Eagerly awaiting your to close the deal with you
||I am sure you will make it to the party
|Thanking you for your generous contribution
||Eagerly waiting for the great news
|Your sincerely (used in a more general context)
|Best regards (used in a semi-formal context)
|Best (used with clients)
|Yours faithfully (ideally used when addressing government authorities)
||Yours’ lovingly (used when addressing close relatives)