Whether it’s a formal letter or a letter to a friend, letter writing is an important part of written communication in English.

The first point I’d like to cover is the two ways a letter can be written, which are formal and informal letters. Formal letters are directed at people you don’t know, or people you work for, for example your boss. In formal letters, it’s important to bear in mind that you can’t use contractions, you must write in full, proper English (for example, ‘I am’ as opposed to ‘I’m). Unless you have a lot to say to a friend, formal letters are generally longer than informal ones.

The next point is, how do we start and end formal letters? If you know the name of the person you’re writing to, you put ‘Dear (Name)’ and if you don’t, you put ‘To Whom It May Concern’ which means it’s directed at the person best able to answer the letter. There are a couple of ways to end a formal letter, which include ‘Yours Sincerely’ ‘Yours Faithfully’ or ‘Kind Regards’. The first two are more formal, the last one, less so.

With informal letters you can write them in the same way as you’d write a text or an email. You can use contractions, slang, text talk and they can be as long or as short as you want. Good ways to start such letters include ‘Hi’, ‘Hey’ or ‘Dear’ whereas ways to end informal letters include ‘Lots of Love’ ‘Speak Soon’ and ‘All the Best’.

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