What to Avoid When Writing a Letter – Part 1

Before you seal the envelope to mail out that letter you just wrote, take a second look at it. Re-reading your letter gives you the opportunity to find and to fix common writing mistakes that may have escaped your attention the first time around.

You may be familiar with many of the following common mistakes in letter writing, that’s what makes them "common"! It is not the end of the world; avoiding these errors, however, should help you to communicate your message more clearly and avoid unnecessary embarrassment at the same time. By proofreading, you can fix the mistakes you find and no one else has to know that they were in your original draft.

Some proponents of online mail and instant messaging would prefer to relegate the practice of letter writing to the history shelves. The art of letter writing is actually not in decline. Many people still use this technique to attract attention and add personality and style to their messages. Handwritten communications are much more personable than computer and other technological mediums. Technology cannot duplicate the uniqueness of handwritten expression.

One common mistake to avoid is the use of impersonal or generic salutations. Dear Sir or Madam, or the famous To Whom It May Concern, in place of a name is not the best writing strategy. Many times, a generic salutation leads the recipient to not even read the letter or to take it less seriously. It is always best to ask peers, research the company profile through the internet, or do whatever you can to find out the name of the person to whom you are writing the letter so that you can greet them properly. There will inevitably be times (the fewest as possible is best) that the most diligent searching will not provide you with a name, and you will have to use this most impersonal greeting in writing your letter.

Another of the common mistakes in letter writing happens because too many people trust the "all clear" that spellchecking programs are prone to give, despite errors that can be clearly seen and also heard when read aloud, when you bother to proofread your letters. Spellcheckers should be your first line of defense as you are writing your letter. However, you should back this up by looking your letter over yourself after you have finished the first draft.


Read: Part 2

 

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