Sunday, 2 October 2011

How many different kinds of letters could you write?

Did you know that we have different rules to write business letters in English depending on the person person are you are addressing? In this post I suggest you to have a look at this website (mainly for native speakers, but also useful for us : You could find on the Internet even templates like the very practical ones at Microsoft: (Just download and edit) .

Try to have a look and read them! After that, tell you about them here! Did you find them interesting? Did you know of their existance before? Have you ever used a template?

After this, go to pages 50-51 from your books and try to think about differences and similarities about writting emails and business letter, it there are any. Write your answers using the comments option. 

Have a nice writing...;)


  1. Hello María, I find the web site with the templates quite useful.
    Of course there are many differences between writing a business letter and an e-mail, even if this one is also related to business. Letters are much more formal and follow a rigid structure; e-mails, on the other hand, tend to be more practical and to get useful and fast information

  2. You are right regarding letters and e-mails, Antonio but you forgot to tell us if you have ever used a template, if you already knew about this , etc. Would you like to tell us about this too?

  3. I´ve used a template several times and for several reasons; the first one is that I consider that the way of writing business letters or transactional letters is changing today, we could even talk about modern business letters in opposition to those rigid forms that existed some years ago. In my opinion, it is important "to sell" the message and one way to do it is to change the form, and templates offer this.

  4. It´s is true, the way of writing letters has changed nowadays and, probably, we coud say that e-mails have taken their place very often.
    Thanks for your point of view, Antonio.

  5. I knew that they were templates for letters at Microsoft, because I lernt this when I studied Office. I haven't used one of them, maybe because I haven't got that necessity, I didn't have worked at an office. I find them interesting, but I would prefer not to use them, because I would prefer to use my own style, which I would get by the experience.
    About the similarities among mails and business letters, I think they are they can be the same, but in a different format. You can write a formal letter in an email format, with the same words and expressions. Maybe you must be more careful when writting because we tend to be more informal by mail, using emoticons,... I think the point is to avoid them.

  6. Do you think we tend to use the very same templates all the time or do we use diferent ones depending on who or what we ae writing?
    What do you say?

  7. I think we should use different templates depending on the situation, the person we are writing to,...In fact, the templates in Office are divided into different categories.

  8. Hi Gisela,
    As you say, they may help us to show a more professional profile depending on the situation.
    Something good we must try to use at work!

  9. I know there are many templates for download from the internet and I think they are quiet useful, although I had never used them.

    There are some differences between writing an email and a business letter:

    First of all, they use different format. Writing a letter, you will have to put your own address, date and the receiver´s address at the top left of the page, while an email has included the sender´s information automatically and you just need to put on the email address of the receiver.

    In most of the business letters, the subject is not necessary. Meanwhile, an email without a subject is not complete.

    A hand-writing signature can be used in a formal business letter to authenticate the identification of the sender, while an electronic signature can be applied to an email.

    Due to the difficulty of reading on the screen, an email must have a more organized and efficient letter body than a traditional business letter. If it´s needed, you can even make one point per email, in order to express the purpose clearly.

    Sending an email is faster and low cost. So in case of urgent matters, writing an email should be the unique choice. For daily communication and follow-ups, to obtain the maximum efficiency, emails are more recommended.

  10. Thanks for your contribution Huang Yi!

  11. I work with emails on a daily basis and as Huang Yi said its fast to collect information and great to communicate, but I must say sometimes they forget formality on them.

    I work in a busy hotel in London where I answer guests queries and internal issues, I have been looking for templates on internet for a while with not much success. I was trying to make my job easier searching for the correct professional way to answer to some queries...I was reading Lucia and Gisela's conversation and sadly when you are working you don't have time to make every email different and you tend to copy and paste, change the guests name and continue with your next task.

    I want to say that these templates have really helped myself and my department, where most of us are not English.

    Thank you very much =)

    Nathalie Deline