What is a Letter

What is the Definition of Letter?


What is a Letter?

The letter is a means through which a person or institution communicates with another by sending them a message that may well be written on paper or in a digital medium. The word, as defined here, comes from the Latin letter, which in turn comes from the Greek χάρτης (chártēs).

The paper letter is usually folded in a sealed envelope, with the recipient’s name and address on the front, while the sender’s name and address are on the back.

The digital letter, for its part, typical of the new information and communication technologies, refers to all those electronic communications similar to the letter, which occur mainly in emails and other digital media.

The letter is made up of a text addressed to another person to whom a matter or situation is exposed or described.

It should be written with consistency, organization and clarity, and it should be written in appropriate and concise language, with a courteous or friendly attitude, and spelling correct, since the purpose of any letter is, generally, to cause a favorable reaction in the recipient.

Parts of the letter

The letters conventionally contain certain information of relevance to both the sender and the receiver. Fundamentally:

  • Date and place it was written,
  • Greeting,
  • Body containing the introduction and presentation of the matter,
  • Farewell and
  • Signature or name of the person who writes it.

In addition, a letter can also contain:

  • Institutional letterhead,
  • Home,
  • Postscript for matters not referred to in the body of the letter and
  • Final references, etc.

Types of Letter

There are basically two types of letter according to their degree of formality:

  • The informal letter, which is the type of letter sent to friends, family and acquaintances with whom we have a close relationship, and
  • The formal letter, which is the one used in professional or institutional communications that are of some importance or seriousness.

Depending on the formality or informality of the letter, it is convenient to adapt the type of language to the situation of solemnity, seriousness or relaxation.

Types of Letter by intention

These two types of cards, in addition, are subdivided into other letter styles depending on their intent. For example:

  • Open letter, which is addressed to a person specifically, but which can be made public due to the interest that the subject has in it.
  • Request letter, to request a favor.
  • Invitation letter, to extend a treat to a person.
  • Cover letter is the one that is addressed to a potential employer to make a brief presentation of our professional interests, our strengths and potential.
  • Letter of condolence, to express our condolences to a person on the occasion of the death of a loved one for the recipient.
  • Letter of apology, to express our excuses for inappropriate behavior or conduct on our part.
  • Justification letter, to explain our reasons for acting in a certain way.
  • Congratulatory letter, to express our congratulations to another person.
  • Letter of recommendation, to show our support and trust towards a person.
  • Letter of exhortation or advice, to express to someone what we think and what we think in a certain situation.

What is a Letter