Official Business Letter carrying the messages of official matters is known as official letters. In a broad sense, a letter was written with a view to communicating any official information to a firm, a company, an educational institution, government or semi-government bodies, or a newspaper editor that falls within the context of an official letter. Official rules and procedures are strictly observed while writing these letters.
The official Business letter is somewhat different from business letters because it is separated from a personal touch and is written in a very formal ‘official’ language and style.
More important is given to the ‘positions’ of the sender and receiver of the letter, to the ‘rules’ that deal with the subject, to the ‘procedure’ in writing letters or replies.
Correctness, completeness conciseness, appropriateness, etc. are very much important in writing an official letter.
Basic Factors/Features of Official Business Letter
There are some special features that distinguish the official letter from official business letters. Those features are highlighted below:
1. Formation: the Official letter is written by strictly following the official rules, procedures, or systems.
2. Speech: Only official aspects are included in the official letter. There is no scope for personal topics to be incorporated in such a letter.
3. Conciseness: Irrelevant matters are totally avoided in such a letter. Only official interests are written in a complete but in brief.
4. Structure: Such a letter is composed according to the pre-determined structure.
5. Legal Status: Such a letter bears legal status, which is significant than other letters. All responsibilities and liability are borne by the office, but not by the writer.
6. Use of language: Only official language is used. There is no scope to use emotional language.
7. Use of Grammar: First person or third person is used in plural form e, g, we, or ourselves.
8. Application: Its appeal is universal and widely used.
9. Method: Both direct and indirect methods can be used to write such a letter.
10. Copy: It is copied for various purposes and to serve various people.
11. Enclosure: Enclosure is generally used for supporting the letter.
12. Salutation and complimentary close: Salutation and complimentary close are used according to the status and designation of the receiver of such a letter.
13. Reference Number & Date: These are two (2) very important features of the official letter.
14. Status: The status of such a letter is determined by the status of the sender.
15. Circulation: Such a letter is communicated within the various branches and departments of an organization and between various private, government, and semi-government bodies.
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