Monday, July 26, 2010

Parts of a Letter.

The Complimentary Closing follows the body of the letter, on the line below the last line of the letter, and consists of the words of respect or regard used to express the writer's feelings toward the person written to. They are in a sense conventional and are often used without thought as to their meaning. The most common forms in business use are: "Respectfully," "Respectfully yours", "Yours very respectfully," "Yours truly," "Yours very truly," "Yours faithfully," "Sincerely yours," etc. "Gratefully yours" may be used if the writer is under obligation to the one written to, or "Fraternally yours" if a member of the same order or society.

In official letters a more formal style is used: as, "I have the honor to be, Yours very respectfully."

The complimentary closing should always be consistent with the salutation. For example: to begin a letter with a formal "Sir" and close with "Sincerely yours" would show very bad taste.

The Signature is the name of the writer or the firm or company he represents. It should be written under the complimentary closing and should end just at the right-hand edge of the sheet.

It should be written very plainly. Many writers have a habit of making their signature the most unintelligible part of their letters, presuming that because their name is familiar to themselves it is to everybody else.

A lady writing to persons with whom she is not acquainted should always prefix the title, Miss or Mrs., in parenthesis, to her signature.

Folding.-- The letter sheet should be folded so as to nearly fill the envelope. To fold a sheet of letter paper to fit the No. 6 or 6½ envelope, turn the bottom of the sheet up to the top, making one fold, then fold equally from the right and from the left, making the letter, when folded, a little narrower than the envelope. If the envelope is held with the left hand, back up, and the letter inserted as folded, all the receiver has to do when he opens the envelope is to withdraw the letter and turn back the folds, and he has it before him right side up. This is important.

Sealing.-- Be particular to seal your letter properly especially if it contains money or other enclosure.

A letter of introduction or recommendation should never be sealed when entrusted to bearer.

The Envelope Address.-- The name and title should be written on the center of the envelope lengthwise. When street and number are given, or the direction "In care of Mr. ______" they follow on the second line, the city or town on the third, and the state on the fourth or lower right hand corner of envelope.

The envelope should be placed before the writer with the flap farthest from him, otherwise it will be addressed upside down and the letter should not be inserted until after the address is written.

More than five million letters and packages reach the dead letter office at Washington every year because they are improperly directed, therefore great care should be exercised in addressing envelopes.

See examples of addressed envelopes.

The envelope used for business purposes should have either written or printed upon its upper left-hand corner the name and address of the sender, with the request to be returned in a certain number of days if not called for.

Opening Letters.-- Letters are properly opened by inserting a knife or other convenient instrument under the flap at the end and cutting across the top of the envelope.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

32 Common Faults in Writing and Speaking Corrected.

I admire the elegance of older grammar standards, but I have to wonder how anything was ever accomplished keeping a bus full (busful? ha) of rules together.

"I shall walk no further" should be "I shall walk no farther." Further refers to additional quantity.

"I have no farther use for it" should be "I have no further use for it." Farther refers to distance.

"Is that him?" should be "Is that he?"

"If I was him" should be "If I were he."

"Better than me" should be "Better than I."

"I am very dry" should be "I am very thirsty."

"Both of these men" should be "Both these men."

"He had laid down" should be "He had lain down".

"I have got the book" should be "I have the book."

"If I am not mistaken" should be "If I mistake not."

"It was her who called" should be "It was she who called."

"Lay down or set down" should be "Lie down or sit down."

"When I get off from a car" should be "When I get off a car."

"It spread all over the town" should be "It spread all over the town."

"If I was him I would do it" should be "If I were he I would do it."

"He is down in the basement" should be "He is in the basement."

"I know better; that ain't so" should be "Pardon me, I understand differently."

"I see him every now and then" should be "I see him occasionally."

"I never play it if I can help it" should be "I never play if I can avoid it."

"His works are approved of by many" should be "His works are approved by many."

"I went to New York, you know, and when I came back, you see, I commenced attending school," should be "I went to New York, and when I returned I commenced attending school."

"It is me" should be "It is I."

"We enter in" should be "We enter".

"I don't think so" should be "I think not."

"What are the news?" should be "What is the news?"

"He fell on the floor" should be "He fell to the floor."

"He is in under the wall" should be "He is under the wall."

"Two spoonsful of tea" should be "Two spoonfuls of tea."

"A new pair of boots" should be "A pair of new boots."

"I had rather ride" should be "I would rather ride."

"I only want five dollars" should be "I want only five dollars."

"Continue on in this way" should be "Continue in this way."

"I expected to have seen him" should be "I expected to see him."

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Thursday, July 8, 2010


The Materials.--
Good pen, ink, and paper. For business correspondence three styles of paper are in general use, viz.: commercial note, about 5x8 inches; pocket note, about 5½x8¾ inches, and letter paper, which is usually 8½x11 to 13 inches. The smaller sizes for short letters and the larger for long ones.

The envelopes most commonly used are Nos. 6 and 6½.

Parts of a Letter. -- for convenience in explaining the form of a letter we call the different parts by the following names:

1. Heading (Place and Date). 4. Body of Letter.
2. Address. 5. Complimentary Closing.
3. Salutation. 6. The Writer's Signature.

The following diagram will show clearly their position.

Heading.-- The heading indicates where and when the letter was written and should contain information the person written to will need in directing his reply. It should be written to the right-hand side of the sheet and about two or two and one-half inches from the top. There is no objection to using two or more lines for the heading if required.

The Address of a letter consists of the name and title of the person or firm to whom you are writing, the residence, or place of business, as the case may be, to which the letter is to be sent.

The inside address, as this may be called, will be the same as the address on the envelope, excepting that on the inside address the city and state may be written on the same line. Begin the address on the left-hand side of the sheet, one inch from the edge of the paper and on the line following the one on which the heading is written. The second line of the address should begin an inch farther to the right than where the first line is begun.

The Proper Use of Titles.-- Two titles of courtesy should not be joined to the same name; as, Mr. John Hartley, Esq.; nor should a title of courtesy be used with a professional or official title: as, Mr. J.B. Wilson, M.D., or Hon. Henry Weston Esq. One exception to this rule, however, is permitted where a clergyman's initials or first name is not known, to write Rev. Mr. (----), giving only the surname.

The Salutation is the complimentary form used to begin the letter. The forms most in use are Sir; Dear Sir or My Dear Sir. In addressing a firm, Sirs, Dear Sirs, Gentlemen or My Dear Sirs. If the person addressed be a lady, Madam, or Dear Madam. If she be a young, unmarried lady, Dear Miss, or it is quite correct to omit the salution where doubt exists as to whether she be married or not, or if the writer has no acquaintance with her.

Follow the salution with a comma and dash, and never write Gents for Gentlemen, or Dr for Dear, etc.

The Position of the Salutation depends somewhat on the number of lines in the address. The examples on next page will illustrate this and the form of letters in general.

The Body of the Letter is that part which contains the message or information to be imparted. In this, good form, penmanship, spacing and paragraphing should receive due care.

The body of a business letter should begin on the same line following the salutation.

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Correspondence is the interchange of thought by means of letters.

A large per cent of the world's business is transacted by correspondence, and in these days of rapid transit and cheap transportation friends and relatives become widely scattered and their only means of keeping in touch with one another is through letter writing.

To be able to write a good letter is therefore not only an accomplishment but an important necessity.

It is the opinion of competent judges that a man's habits and qualities as a business man may be fairly estimated from familiarity with his business letters, and his social correspondence is likewise an index to the trend of his thought, and his general character. It is safe to say that the majority do not appreciate the value of the ability to write a good letter.

First in Importance. -- Perhaps the matter of first importance in a letter is the expression of the proper ideas in the proper language.

Next to That an easy, graceful style of writing, with words correctly spelled, and sentences properly punctuated. Improper punctuation often renders the meaning unintelligible or the opposite of what was intended altogether.

Classes of Letters.-- Letters are usually divided into two general classes, Social and Business.

Social Letters are those that grow out of social and personal relations: as, letters of affection, friendship, congratulation, sympathy, introduction, condolence, etc.

Business Letters, as the term implies, are such as are written regarding matters of business of whatever kind.

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