The 26 types of letters (classified and explained)

While not at their best, the truth is that letters have been the primary method of transmitting information over a distance in history. Since writing and paper have existed, human beings have come into contact with each other by sending letters to each other in which they evoke any subject that comes to their mind.

Today, letters have lost popularity because there are much faster media capable of conveying images and sounds, but they are still used in formal and informal contexts.

Below we will find out what are the main types of cards that exist, besides seeing some of the more notable features.

    The 26 main types of cards

    There are several types of letters depending on the purpose for which they are written. We cannot use the same type of text for absolutely any area or person we want to communicate with.

    Each situation requires a different formality, vocabulary, tone and format. For this reason, we find different types of letters, such as business letters, letters of complaint, letters of recommendation, for a friend, for a boss, for a relative …

    The short definition of the letter is that they are written documents that contain information that someone wants to convey briefly to another person, which is worth being redundant. Moreover, in several European languages ​​they are literally called “short” or use a term derived from this word, as is the case of Swedish, Norwegian and Danish which is “short”.

    But leaving aside the curiosity of its name in foreign languages, what must be understood is that there are several types of letters, each adapting to the communicative needs of those who write them and who may have extensions. very varied.

    Very generally, letters can be classified into two large groups according to their degree of formality: formal letters and informal or personal letters.

    Formal letters

    One of the most defining characteristics of formal letters is that they are issued by a competent body, whether it is a company, an organization, a labor department or an individual who occupies an important position within a respectable company or institution.

    Are also considered as formal letters those issued by natural persons, in order to be read by an organization or a company to which they wish to be addressed. Among these letters we find the following types:

    1. Business letters

    Business letters are any written document developed in the professional environment. These missives are preceded by a welcome message and end with the signature of the sender, who usually occupies a relevant position within an organization.

    These letters can also be issued by departments in the organization, such as human resources.

      2. Order letters

      Order letters are issued by a consumer and received by the supplier. These types of documents are sent for the purpose of asking the supplier to bring a certain amount of products.

      In the order letters we can identify the following aspects:

      • Quantity of product required
      • Product name required
      • Product model
      • Color, size and any other distinctive element
      • Price assumed to pay for the same
      • Payment method

        3. Sales letters

        Sales letters are meant to get the person they are addressed to to purchase the advertising product. Persuasive statements are often used to gain the attention of the potential buyer. To achieve this, we can identify in these letters the following aspects:

        3.1. Appeal

        A relationship is established between the sender and the reader, making the latter feel identified with the content of the letter even when it was not written personally for him.

        An example of a call would be: Are you tired of paying for your auto insurance?

        3.2. Description of the product or service

        This would be all the relevant information about the product or service offered, answer questions about its use, its use, its cost, its mode of remuneration …

        3.3. Contact information

        We can find in closed sales letters with numbers, emails and the like forms of contact with the company or store. Sometimes it also includes the physical address where the product or service can be purchased, and the organization’s website.

          4. Letters of complaint

          Complaint or complaint letters are used for, as the name suggests, lodge complaints about a product purchased or a service received that you were not as satisfied with as expected. These letters are sent by the users themselves. Although these are complaints, try to use a respectful tone and careful manners.

          We must not get carried away by emotions when writing any of these letters, because although we feel anger or anger because of the bad service or product received, we must keep the right forms for the complaint to be. as clear as possible and see how we can get our money back.

          This type of letter should include the following aspects:

          • General contact details of the issuer: name, age, address …
          • Data on the acquisition of the product or service: Date of acquisition, establishment where it was acquired, invoices and proof of purchase, etc.
          • Information about a product defect or poor service.
          • Possible solution to be received in compensation.

          5. Letters of recommendation

          Letter of recommendation they are documents which serve as proof or which give good faith of the quality of a person’s work.

          This type of letter is sent when someone wants to get a new job and asks an employer they’ve worked with in the past to write a recommendation for the new organization they want to join. These letters can also be issued by former tutors and aspiring workplace teachers.

          These letters contain information about the candidate’s attitude and skills, the activities he has carried out throughout his career, the reasons why he is considered suitable for work and many other aspects of his personality or of his training which could be considered positive and adapted to the position he aspires to occupy.

            6. Letters of dismissal

            Letters of dismissal are issued when an organization wants to communicate to one of its workers that he no longer needs his services and that it is up to him to leave his job definitively. These letters include when the worker should stop providing services to the company and why they will be fired.

            7. Letters of resignation

            Resignation letters are sent when an employee wishes to leave their current job. This letter is sent to your immediate superior and mentions the date on which the employee will definitively leave his job..

            He usually understands the reason for leaving work, which, although not a necessary requirement, is seen as a gesture of good manners and cordiality.

            8. Letters of authorization

            Authorization letters are sent to give another person the authority to act on behalf of the person writing the letter. This kind of missives is done when the person writing is unable or unwilling to attend an appointment, a meeting or an important event in which his presence was necessary.

            9. Letter of acceptance

            Letters of acceptance are issued by an organization to communicate to an aspirant who has been accepted. These documents include the reason why the application has finally been accepted, the date by which you must join as an active member of the organization, the position you will occupy and the length of your stay.

            10. Receipt letters

            Letters of receipt are sent by let someone know, whether an individual or a business, that the letter you sent has been received. Please note that these types of mails do not guarantee that the information sent with the previous mail has been read.

            11. Letters of authorization

            When we talk about letters of authorization, we can refer to two types of documents.

            One is that an employee issues to his superior to grant him permission to be absent from work for one or more days. This type of letter includes the reason for the absence from work and the number of days expected to be missed.

            The other is the document issued by a boss to his employee when he accepted the request. These types of missives include acknowledgment from the boss and the employee’s departure and return date.

            12. Letters of application

            Letters of application they are sent when a person wishes to opt for a place within an organization. This type of document can be issued in various contexts, such as opting for a rate within a university, a job, a role in an important room …

              13. Transfer letters

              Deployment letters are issued by an organization to inform one of its employees that will be transferred to another department or headquarters. These letters also include the date the change will take effect, to which department or headquarters the employee will be transferred, and the position they will occupy in their new job.

              Informal letters

              Informal or personal letters are those in which the sender and the recipient have a kind of minimally intimate relationship, which does not involve the business world. In this sense, informal letters are usually passed between friends, family and lovers. Informal letters are a thing of the past because, with the advent of instant messaging services, their popularity declined and gave way to social media and chats.

              One feature that greatly differentiates informal letters from formal letters is that they do not feature a specific pattern. The format will depend a lot on what the sender wants to convey, the type of relationship they have with the recipient, and the ability to express themselves in writing. Among the informal letters we can mainly find the following types:

              14. Birthday letters

              Birthday letters are issued to congratulate a friend or relative on their birthday, as one might suppose. Good wishes are usually included for the person being congratulated.

              15. Letters of gratitude

              Thank you letters are issued to prove to the person to whom the letter is sent because he is very grateful for the favors or actions he has rendered and which have greatly benefited the issuer.

                16. Letters of congratulations

                Greeting cards can be written for a variety of reasons. They can be issued to commemorate someone’s promotion, winning an award, participating in a university award …

                Whichever step you congratulate, the purpose of these letters is to make the recipient feel honored for what they have accomplished.

                17. Welcome letters

                Welcome letters are sent to welcome someone new to the neighborhood or to high school. With these letters he tries to express the good wishes of the person who writes them to the newcomer.

                18. Farewell letters

                Farewell letters are written when one of the two interlocutors goes to another place, be it a different city, region, state or continent.

                19. Letters of mourning

                Mourning letters are issued to offer condolences to someone who has just lost an important person in their life, such as their spouse or a very personal friend. The sender declares that he accompanies the recipient in his feelings and tries to comfort him by offering him his unconditional support..

                20. Letters of apology

                In letters of apology, the sender tries to communicate his wish apologize for any action taken that has caused harm to another person. We include it in informal letters because while they can take on a formal tone, the truth is they can be sent to absolutely anyone, from a family member to a teacher or supervisor. .

                21. Letters of friendship

                Friendship cards are those that friends exchange with each other, to keep in touch despite the distance. It is probably the most damaged type of letter with the rise of new technologies and instant messaging services.

                22. Love letters

                Love letters they are the ones that lovers fall in love with each other, expressing through him the affection and the rest of the positive feelings that are felt. You can also send one of these letters to someone you love, without necessarily being a partner or someone you have romantic urges with.

                  23. Christmas Cards

                  Christmas letters are sent in December with the intention of wishing you a Merry Christmas, or in its more religiously neutral version, happy holidays to other people. These letters are usually accompanied by postcards with a family photo with Christmas decorations.

                  24. Letters to the Magi

                  Letters to the Magi, or Father Christmas, they are the ones children write to ask for gifts from these and other Christmas characters. It usually includes a list of gifts to receive for the day these characters pass through the houses, in addition to thanking them for the gifts received the previous year.

                  25. Invitation letter

                  Invitation letters are sent asking recipients to attend a party or meeting hosted by the sender. These letters can be sent for different important events like birthday, wedding or Christmas party.

                  26. Letters on various subjects

                  Finally, we include letters on various topics, those that cannot be included in the other categories as they are not written for a specific reason, but are simply an occasional exchange of correspondence between two or more people.

                  Bibliographical references

                  • Blake, Gary; Bly, Robert W. (1993). The elements of technical writing. Macmillan Editors. p. 125. ISBN 0020130856.
                  • Carol Poster and Linda C. Mitchell, eds, Letter-Writing Manuals and Instruction from Antiquity to the Present (Columbia, SC: U of South Carolina Press, 2007).
                  • Alberto Cajal. (December 10, 2019). The 26 types of formal and informal letters. Lifeder. Retrieved from Copy copy
                  • Bilbao,. (2004). Dear reader, learn how to write effective direct marketing letters. ESIC editorial.
                  • Reis, G. (1998). Writing manual: how to write well in Spanish. Arch books.
                  • VV.AA. (1997). How to write effective letters Player.
                  • VV.AA. (2006). Write Spanish letters. Dissemination of the linguistic research center and publications.

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