Letter Writing Format, Types & Tips For Exams

Letter writing format, types & tips – Exchanging letters through posts has taken a back seat with the advent of modern technology but the style of way of communicating through letters still persists in the form of emails. 

Apart from this, letter writing is an important part of various competitive exams. Candidates in examinations such as SSC exam, Bank exam, RRB exam, or other government exams are asked to write a letter in the descriptive papers to assess their writing skills. 

Candidates appearing for any of the above-mentioned examinations can check the links given below for detailed information:

To help candidates score full marks in the descriptive papers of a particular examination, this article will read the types of letter writing, the format of letter writing and a few tips to write good letters in the examination.

Government Exam 2020

Letter Writing In Competitive Exams

Letter writing is an intricate task as it demands meticulous attention, still, candidates can fetch good marks if they are careful about what is being written. 

The objective of letter writing in the examination from the point of view of the exam conducting body is analysing the writing skills of the candidates but from the candidate’s point of view, the objectives of letter writing should be as mentioned below.

  1. The letter should fill the communication gap between two parties
  2. It should inform a message and express a feeling
  3. It should create awareness and provoke thought in receivers mind

Each letter can have different objectives depending on its type, so let us understand the types of letter writing.

Types Of Letter Writing

Letter writing can be broadly classified into two types:

  1. Informal Letters
  2. Formal Letters

Candidates in the examination can be asked to write a 150 words letter on any type mentioned above. Let us understand both the types of letters in detail.

Informal Letter

Formal letters are also known as personal letters. Such types of letters are usually written to relatives, family, friends, or acquaintances. These letters may or may not have a concrete reason for writing. Informal letters are mainly written to create a personal memoir and need not adhere to any formalities or follow any set pattern.

Formal Letters

The letters that follow a certain formality and set pattern are formal letters. Such letters directly address the concerned issue and are kept strictly professional in nature. Formal letters are short and to the point. A variety of letters that falls within the category of formal letters are –

  • Business letters
  • Official letters
  • Social letters
  • Circular letters
  • Employment letters 

Candidates preparing for any competitive examination can check the Previous Years Question Papers of various exams to understand the type of questions asked in the exam. 

free online quiz for IBPS, SSC and other government exams

Letter Writing Format

Candidates appearing for examinations must know how to write a letter or in general for everyone it is important to know the format of letter writing. A letter comprises different elements that change depending upon its nature. The format for both the types of letters are given below

Letter writing format of formal Letter 

Formal Letter must adhere to the prescribed Format. The letter writing format of a Formal Letter is as mentioned below:

  1. Sender’s address
  2. Date
  3. Receiver’s Address
  4. Subject
  5. Salutation
  6. Body of the letter
  7. Complimentary closure
  8. Signature line: sender’s name, signature and designation
  • Sender’s address: the most essential part also known as the return address. It is the mailing address of the sender. The address and contact details of the person sending the letter are written here.
  • Date: Immediately after the sender’s address comes the date on which the letter is written. Candidates while writing the letter in the exam can follow any of the formats to write the dates: DD/MM/YY OR MM/DD/YY.
  • Receiver’s address: the corresponding address i.e. the address of the recipient of the mail is written here. Candidates must start with the receivers’ designation followed by the name of the organization and then the full address, Pincode and country (if the information is known).
  • The Subject: this highlights the aim of writing the letter. The subject of the formal letter should be very brief (6 to 8 words) and must be preceded by the word ‘Subject’.The receiver through the subject understands the purpose of the letter.
  • Salutation: This is a customary greeting to the recipient of the letter. If the name of the recipient is known salutation starts with ‘Dear’ followed by Mr/Mrs/Miss etc. If the person is unknown or even the gender is not known the recipient can be addressed as Dear Sir/Dear Madam.
  • Body: The most important element of any letter. It lays the reason behind letter writing. For formal letters, candidates should use short, clear, logical paragraphs to state the subject matter. The body of the letter is generally divided into 3 paragraphs:
  1. Introduction that states the main point.
  2. Middle part: supporting points and details to justify the need and importance of letter writing
  3. Conclusion: that request for some action or what is expected. 
  • Complimentary Closure: this is to end the letter with respect in a polite manner such as ‘Yours faithfully’,‘You sincerely’ etc.
  • Signature Line: this is the last part where the sender of the latter signs off with his first or last name. The signature line may also include a second line for the title or designation of the sender.

Candidates writing formal letters in the exam must remember the following pointers.

  • Use of colloquial words, short forms, slang language and abbreviations is restricted.
  • The letter must be to the point, precise and clearly indicating the message.
  • The Subject line is very important in Formal Letters.

Letter writing format of Informal Letters

Candidates writing the informal letters have to follow the below-mentioned format.

  1. Address
  2. Date
  3. Salutation
  4. Body of the letter
  5. Sender’s Name and signature
  1. Address: The sender’s address is important in informal letters. Since informal letters are personal letters and sent to acquaintances or people who are known, the receivers’ address is only mentioned on the envelope carrying the letter.
  2. Date: same as in a formal letter format.
  3. Salutation in informal letters can be Dear/Dearest/ Hi/Hello followed by the first name/nickname of the recipient.
  4. Body: The body in the informal letters can be long and detailed containing as many feelings, experiences, advice, news, etc. 
  5. Sender’s name and signature are the same as in the formal letters.

Important pointers for Informal letter

  1. The Subject line is not required in an Informal Letter
  2. No prescribed format has to be strictly followed.
  3. The usage of language must be friendly and casual
  4. The letter can have extra information.

Important Tips For A Good Letter Writing

Candidates who are appearing for competitive exams can follow the below-mentioned tips to write a good letter in the examination and fetch good marks.

  • Candidates must be able to identify the type of letter they will write. For example: writing a letter to the principal asking for leave is a formal letter but writing a letter to the principal to catch up after a long time would be an informal letter.
  • Opening and closing of letters must be in the correct manner. Formal letters must open and close in a professional manner while informal letters can be directly addressed to the person with greetings. Even closing the letters is important, Formal letters always end respectfully and impersonally, whereas informal letters may end with a more personal touch.
  • In formal letters, making clear the purpose of the letter immediately is important. Candidates writing formal letters must make sure to get to the point as soon as possible.
  • A letter is always supposed to be considerate and polite. It is essential to use polite words and civil language in all types of letters be it formal or informal. Even if the letter is about any complaint,the point must be made in a careful and courteous manner.
  • The length of the letter also holds relevance. In the formal letters, the matter should be expressed to the point, precise and short while the length of the personal or informal letter depends on the message and the relation to the recipient. 

Candidates aspiring to appear for any of the competitive exams can check the following links:

Bank Exams 2020

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