A letter is a written message from one person to another. Letters, especially a regular exchange between two persons (sometimes called pen pals), represent a kind of humanly communication and mutual friendship. The role of letters in communication has changed significantly since the 19th century. Historically, letters (in paper form) were the only reliable means of communication between two persons in different locations.
As communication technology has diversified, letters have become less important as routine communication. The development of the telegraph, telephone, fax and the Internet have all had an impact on the writing and sending of letters. In modern industrialized nations, the exchange of personal letters has become less common, being replaced by technologies such as the telephone and also e-mail. With the advent of the compact cassette, tape letters became a novelty.
By analogy, the term letter is sometimes used for e-mail messages with a formal letter-like format. Historically, letters exist from the time of ancient India, ancient Egypt and Sumer, through Rome, Greece and China, up to the present day. Letters make up several of the books of the Bible. Archives of correspondence, whether for personal, diplomatic, or business reasons, serve as primary sources for historians.
Here is how a letter gets from the sender to the recipient:
|Sender's address here|
|24 Lambert Street|
|Formal: 3 February 2008 Informal: 03/02/2008|
|Recipient's name and address here|
|Mr Boris Johnson|
|25 Lambkin Street|
|Formal: Dear Sir or Madam, Acquaintance: Dear Mr Johnson, Informal: Dear Boris,|
|Formal: Yours faithfully, Acquaintance: Yours sincerely, Informal: Best wishes,|
|Formal: Sender's Occupation and Enclosures Informal: Nothing (optional: P.S. / Post Scriptum = Afterthought)|
May 20, 2008
Mrs. Jane Doe
25 First Street
Anytown, VA 10005
Dear Ms. Doe:
This is an example of a modified block letter. The difference between it
and a full block letter style is that the date begins at the center point
of the page; therefore, if a letter has a 6 inch line of type, the date
begins approximately over 3 inches from the left margin.
The closing block also begins half-way across the page. The complimentary
close and the keyed signature (first and last name of the writer) begin at
the same point as the date - approximately 3 inches from the left margin.
jtp (the typist's initials appear at the left margin)