Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Letters

Knowing how to write a letter is an essential art one needs to know, even in these days of the Internet and high-tech phones. People still use letters to have information confirmed. Also, letters are a sort of ambassador for a writer. There are lot of kinds of letters that correspond to varying occasions. Commonly, they are divided into formal and informal. Mistakes are made due to writers not knowing the correct format and manner that is associated with a certain type of letter. Thats why our attention will be concentrated on this kind of letters.

Writing is the record of thoughts and has a advantage over speech and non-verbal communications – it reduces the chance of misunderstanding and misinterpretation. So, you should know how to write a letter, avoiding the main mistakes.

1. Mistake in the address. An address means the actual address of the person or organization you are writing to. No matter how you send your mail, the most common mistake in writing letters is the address. It’s important to write the correct address, because the letter can be delivered to another person or physical address. Take care to check the address you’ve written.
2. A comma follows all lines in the inside address. Punctuations ends before postal codes, the company name, identification line.
3. Does not state the person or organization that it is being directed to. Business letters have two addresses: the recipient’s and sender’s. Always direct your letters to a particular person – this will ensure that your letter is not thrown in the garbage.
4. The date is written as an abbreviation. For example 12 Nov. instead of 12 November. The second variant is correct.
5. Mistake in choosing a salutation. A salutation is the part of the letter that determines the relationship between the sender and recipient. Usually the type of salutation is selected from the type of the letter: formal or informal. Most of the writers use informal salutations in formal letters. People usually expect senders to keep to the right type of salutation (especially in formal letters), and it’s not a problem to choose the correct one.
Here are some examples:

  •   To address someone whose name you don’t know, you can write: Dear Sir; Dear Madam; Dear Sir/Madam.
  •   To address someone whose name you know, you can write: Dear Mr. Horse (not Dear James Horse or Dear Mr. James Horse)
  •   To end a formal letter, you can use: Sincerely; Sincerely Yours; Yours Truly; Yours faithfully; Best regards.

6. Not stating the purpose of the letter. At the beginning of the letter, you need to state why you are writing. No matter what type of letter you are writing – formal or informal, state the purpose of the letter. Some senders don’t write the intention of the letter, so the reader is wondering why such letters came in the first place.
7. Writing the text without paragraphs. The letter should contain paragraphs. This will link the ideas in the letter. This will make your sentences more organized and the purpose of the letter will be clearly understood. In formal writing, your ideas should be connected with formal words and phrases.
8. Use of stale expressions and clichés. Try to avoid phrases like “Kindly be advised”; “As safe as houses” etc. These phrases waste your and readers time.
9. Using too many abbreviations and indulging in technical language. Avoid such words if you can use more common and understandable words. Remember that the reader may not know all the specific words you use.
10. Using ambiguous words. Ambiguous words are words that have more than one meaning. Such words can confuse the reader and your letter will be misunderstood. Make your letter simple for understanding, be clear and straightforward – write what you mean.
11. Misused words and bad spelling. If you write and use words with mistakes, the reader can think that you are a care-free person and making business with you will be a big farce.
12. Sending a letter without proofreading. Most mistakes appear because writers do not consider looking over their text with a discerning eye in order to catch their mistakes. Here is some advice on how to proofread your letter:

  •   Proofread the text on a hard copy. It’s harder to spot mistakes on a screen.
  •   Read over your letter later. If you’ll read it just after finishing writing, the chance that you’ll miss mistakes is much higher.
  •   Proofread three times: first time for looking through the content, the second time – for grammar and use of punctuation, and the last – to be sure that you’ve used the right words and the letter sounds clear.

There are endless examples of mistakes that can be present in letters. These mistakes are commonly committed when writers compose formal and informal letters. Now you know them, so try to remember these instances of errors. Good luck!