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Planning a Letter: 7 Steps

What do you do before you write a difficult letter or a report? Because a letter in English is much harder than writing one in your own language, careful planning is essential. Imagine, for example, you have to write a letter introducing your company to a prospective customer…

The following steps are recommended.

1. Write down your AIM: what is the purpose of the letter?

2. ASSEMBLE all the relevant information and documents: copies of previous correspondence, reports, figures, etc.

3. ARRANGE the points in order of importance. Decide which points are irrelevant and can be left out. Make rough notes.

4. Write an OUTLINE in note form. Check it through considering these questions:

Have you left any important points out?

Can the order of presentation be made clear?

Have you included anything that is not relevant?

5. Write a FIRST DRAFT, leaving plenty of space for changes and revisions.

6. REVISE your first draft by considering these questions:

INFORMATION: Does it cover all the essential points?

Is the information RELEVANT, CORRECT and Complete?

ENGLISH: Are the grammar, spelling and punctuation correct?

STYLE: Does it look attractive?

Does it sound natural and sincere?

Is it CLEAR, CONCISE and COURTEOUS?

Will it give the reader the right impression?

Is it the kind of letter you would like to receive yourself?

7.Write, type or dictate your FINAL Version.

 

Exercise 8.Here are three extracts from letters that break some rules.

1. Decide what is wrong with each one and underline any mistakes or faults.

2. Rewrite each extract in your own words.

1) I noticed your advertisement in the Daily Planet and I would be grateful if you could send me further information about your products. My company is considering subcontracting some of its office services and I believe that you may be able to supply us with a suitable service. Looking forward to hearing form you.

2) Thank you very much for you letter of 15 January, which we received today. In answer to your enquiry we have pleasure in enclosing an information pack, giving full details of our services. If you would like any further information, do please contact me by phone or in writing and I will be pleased to help. I hope that our services will be of interest to you and I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

3) There are a number of queries that I would like to raise about your products and would be grateful if you could ask a representative to get in touch with me with a view to discussing these queries and hopefully placing an order if the queries are satisfactorily answered.




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Exercise 19. | Types of Business Letters

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