Year 4 Writing – Letter Writing

  • Nov 22, 2022
  • Yang Li

Year 4 Writing – Letter Writing

Letters are often thought of as a more personal form of communication than emails, texts, or instant messaging.

In the past, letter writing was a major method of communication between people, and therefore has a vast and interesting history. Without letters we would not know as much about the past or the people who lived before us.

Friendly or Formal ?

There are many different types of letters, but most of them fall into one of two categories, personal (friendly) or business (formal):
Personal letters can include letters to and from family or friends, letters to or from pen pals, thank you letters or Christmas letters. They can be written in a relaxed or conversational tone and there are not really any strict rules about the type of language used in these letters (obviously you want to write kind things though).
• Business letters include job applications, referrals, references, formal letters of appreciation or thanks, or letters to politicians about community issues. The language used in business letters is more formal than in a personal letter.

The world’s shortest letter

• In 1862, the novelist Victor Hugo famously wrote the world’s shortest letter. It was written to his publisher to ask how his new book was selling. All he wrote in the letter was this: “?”. His publisher simply replied: “!”.
• Funnily enough, the book he was asking about was over 1200 pages long!

Follow the rules

In the 1800s, during the Victorian era, it was believed that excellent letter writing skills were a sign of good upbringing. Strict rules had to be observed when writing a letter.

When writing you must:
• Have neat handwriting
• Use elegant words
• Know how to properly fold a letter
• Sign your name to every letter
• Use an acceptable ink colour (Black or blue pen, rather than fluorescent colours)

When writing you must not:
• Include a postscript (PS)
• Cross out or erase misspelled words; instead you must start all over again
• Underline or abbreviate words.

Personal Letters

There are many different types of personal letters. Here are a few you might have heard of:

       • Pen pal
A pen pal is someone you communicate with by sending letters regularly.

       • Fan mail
You write fan mail to someone you idolize or admire. You might choose to write to a famous actor, rock star, author, or sports hero.

       • Love
You can write a love letter to someone whom you love or care about. In this letter, you express feelings of affection and romance.

      • Farewell
In a farewell letter you would say goodbye and good luck to someone who is moving interstate or overseas, or changing schools.

      • Get well
You send a get well letter to wish someone a speedy recovery from illness.

• Condolence
In a condolence letter you show sympathy, usually for the death of someone close to the recipient. You might wish them strength through their grief, say you are sorry for their loss, or share fond memories of the person they have lost.

• Congratulations
You would send this letter to congratulate someone on a birth, wedding, achievement or award.

• Thank you
When you write a thank you letter, you are showing your appreciation to someone. Perhaps they invited you to their birthday party, gave you a thoughtful gift, or did you a favor. This is less formal than an appreciation letter, and would be sent to a friend or family member.

• Holiday / Celebration
Your holiday letter could celebrate a birthday, Christmas, New Year, Bar mitzvah or any other special event or holiday.