Letter: Purpose

Letter: Purpose

Overall Aim and Structure

  • A letter is a written message from one party to another, containing information or news.
  • Its main goal is to communicate a specific intent, whether it be persuasion, information, or expressing personal sentiment.
  • A traditional letter contains an opening salutation, body of text, and ending with the sender’s signature.
  • Nowadays, the purpose of a letter can be conveyed through both formal and informal mediums such as emails.

Opening Salutation

  • The tone of the letter is set in the opening salutation. Formal letters usually begin with “Dear [Recipient’s Name/title]”, while informal letters can begin with a casual salutation.
  • The more formal the letter’s purpose, the more formal the salutation. This respectfulness shown in the salutation helps deliver the letter’s tone from the beginning.

Body of the Letter

  • The body carries the main content of the letter and is generally organised into paragraphs, each presenting a new point or idea.
  • In a formal letter, especially, one should get to the point quickly and clearly. The purpose of the letter should be clearly stated in the first paragraph.

Use of Tone

  • The tone used in the letter helps to set the mood and reflects the intent of the letter.
  • Formal letters generally have a polite and respectful tone, while informal letters may use a casual and more personal tone.
  • The tone should always be consistent with the letter’s purpose and its recipient.

Closing and Signature

  • The conclusion or closing of a letter is just as important as any other part. It needs to effectively wrap-up the discussion and restate the letter’s overall purpose.
  • This is often followed by a closing salutation such as ‘Yours sincerely’ in formal letters or ‘Best wishes’ in informal ones and ends with the sender’s written or printed name.

General Points

  • A well-written letter should make a clear point, have a specific purpose, and provide relevant details.
  • The purpose of the letter should be apparent from the start and maintained throughout.
  • Proper punctuation is key – the wrong punctuation can change the intent of the message.
  • Always proofread for spelling and grammatical errors to ensure that your message gets across as intended.
  • Always remember to consider the audience and the formality required for the purpose of your letter.