Letter Writing

Napoleon is reputed to have written more than 50,000 letters in his lifetime. Letterwriting sounds so simple. And perhaps it was, once upon a time. Today, however, more and more letters are being written—over 79 billion yearly. Jobs, sales, friendships, public relations, and even our day-to-day satisfactions depend on our ability to communicate quickly, accurately, and succinctly.


Although an impressive amount of business and social interaction takes place over the telephone or in person today, oral communication has not yet begun to replace the written word. The well-written letter remains a staple of business success and one of the strongest connecting links between individuals and organizations.


Composition demands clear, logical expression. It needs the ability to sift and organize material and present it in an orderly and unambiguous way. To do this well you must have a sound knowledge of English. You must know what words mean and you must know the rules of grammar. Having a good command of words is not to be confused with a high-flown literary style, which would be out of place in business. The important thing is to be clear and exact in what you write.


It should be just as easy to understand people we have not actually met by reading their letters as it is in speaking to them on the telephone. As the speaker pauses for breath between phrases, the writer inserts a comma between phrases. The full stop brings to a conclusion what the writer has to say.


There are six points or stops which we call punctuation. They are the comma, semicolon, colon, full stop, question mark and explanation mark. There are seven, if you include the dash. The uses of the full stop, the question and exclamation marks are so clear that mistakes can scarcely occur.


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