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Writing a Letter
You should end a letter with 'Yours faithfully,' if it is a formal letter which begins 'Dear Sir/Madam'. (Photo courtesy of donovanbeeson at Flickr.)

Writing a Letter

When writing a letter, layout and paragraphs are important factors. A writer always addresses an audience, which, of course, means the reader. When someone writes a letter, this relationship between reader and writer becomes less abstract and much more immediate. A letter is often meant for a single person. At GCSE, you will be required to know how to write letters for several purposes, using different styles.

Test your knowledge of this form of writing by trying this English revision quiz.

  1. Because these will dictate a letter's tone and style, you will need to have a clear idea of...
    2 - Of course, you should also know the name of the person you are addressing (and your own address) - but it is the sense of audience and purpose which dictate how you write your letter
  2. What should the first paragraph in the body of a formal letter include?
    3 - You should clearly state why you are writing
  3. When writing to persuade or argue, you should acknowledge the point of view opposing your own. What is meant by this?
    1 - You should mention the opposing point of view and some of its supporting arguments before countering them with points in your favour
  4. Which of these persuasive techniques can be used in a formal letter to build an argument?
    4 - All of these techniques help to build an argument - your job as a critical reader is to see through these techniques when they are used by other writers!
  5. You would NOT write a formal letter to which of the following people / organisations?
    3 -
  6. What would you include at the top right-hand side of a formal letter?
    1 -
  7. When should you end the letter with 'Yours faithfully,'?
    2 - If you have addressed a formal letter to a specific person, you sign off with 'Yours sincerely,'
  8. Which structure would best suit a letter written to argue a point of view?
    4 - Persuasive letters are most effective when they conclude with a clear statement of the response you expect from the recipient
  9. Which of these would be a letter written to advise?
    2 - Remember to sound friendly and authoritative, rather than patronising, in a letter of advice
  10. Which of these personal qualities will NOT improve a letter written to persuade?
    3 - Arrogance is likely to predispose the recipient against your case - be authoritative, but modest

Author: Sheri Smith

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