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CHAPTER THREE PRINCIPLES OF CORRESPONDENCE In the world of business, people communicate in different forms.

One of the ways frequently used to communicate is letter writing. It is a means through which transactions are made in the business world. A letter is a written message or an account of events sent by one person to another, an individual to another or one organization to another. It could be hand written or typed. Letters are mainly used for official transactions. Hence, it is necessary for students who will aspire to occupy one official position or the other and will engage in writing different kinds of letters because of the position they occupy, to learn the principles of correspondence. Letters are of different types; namely, informal, semi-formal and formal. Each type has its peculiar features though all of them have some general characteristics. All forms of letters shall be examined, but with particular emphasis on formal letters, since they are predominantly used in the world business. 1. INFORMAL LETTER The first type to be considered is the informal letter, otherwise known as personal letter. As the name implies, informal letters are written to members of our family and intimate friends. The major parts of the letter are: address, date, salutation, body, complimentary close, and subscript. These shall be examined one after the other. (A) FORMS OF ADDRESS The informal letter contains only the writers address. This is popularly called addressers address. This address could be indented or block, open or close. The open style of address does not have any punctuation marks except at the end, while the close style is punctuated from the beginning to the end. The address is similar to a sentence; hence, the full stop is placed at the top right hand corner of the writing sheet


THE DATE The date appears below the address of the addresser. Where a letter headed paper is used, the date appears at the right hand corner, where

the address is usually written The date takes any of the following forms: 2 June, 1999.2/6/99 (C) SALUTATION The salutation of an informal letter is normally intimate. This is because it is a letter to a loved one, a friend, or a relation. Some of the modes of salutation are: Dearest Mother. Dear Uncle John. My dear Muele, Joy dear, Hello Lekara. Here, pet or nickname can be used too. (D) BODY OF THE LETTER The language of an informal letter is usually chatty. It is written like a face-to-face conversation or an intimate talk between friends. The language is informal; thus, the addresser could make use of slang. Colloquial language and contracted words. Where applicable, the well-organized sentence structures and the rules associated with paragraph development are not strictly observed COMPLIMENTARY CLOSE The complimentary close of an informal letter is intimate and carries some degree of familiarity and affection. This is closely followed by the subscript, which is the name of the addresser; only the first name of the addresser is required. The following depicts the complimentary close of an informal letter: Yours affectionately. Sincerely yours Affectionately yours Your loving.. With love from.. Yours ever.


(i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi)



Dept of GES School of Foundation Studies. Rivers state Polytechnic. Bori 14 May, 1999 My dear Lekara. It is a pleasure writing to you again after a long time. I had planned writing to you some months ago, but could not do so, due to my schedule of duty at the office and at home. How is your new job, I hope you are getting on well with your co-worker? I know that when you reply to my letter, you will let me know how you feel about getting such a nice job after staying jobless for such a long time. Davids birthday is coming up on 4th of July. You are invited. Now that I have learnt to bake birthday cake, I would like to give you a special treat. Endeavour to come. Please, send me your reply as soon as possible. Affectionately yours Bola 2. SEMI-FORMAL LETTER The semi-formal letter is also referred to as a social letter. Its circumference covers letters of invitation. congratulation, condolence. Letters expressing gratitude for help or services rendered. It includes letters written to senior friends, and acquaintances. FEATURES OF A SEMI-FORMAL LETTER (a) (b) The address The semi-formal letter has only the writers address. Salutation

The official title and surname of the addressee is used for the salutation. The first name is not used. Examples of semi-formal salutation are: Dear Mr Ogulu. Dear Dr Altrde. Dear Miss David-West. (C) BODY OF THE LETTER The semi-formal letter as the name implies combines some aspects of the informal letter and the formal letter;. therefore, it can be referred to as an in-between letter. Just like the formal Letter, it is always brief and straight to the point but the tone is like that of an informal letter. Although, slang and colloquial language are not used here, contracted forms are used. THE COMPLIMENTARY CLOSE The most commonly used complimentary close is yours sincerely. This has an element of respect. The subscript is like that of a formal letter. It includes the addressers first name and surname. Just like every formal letter, the


formal letter contains the addressers signature, which comes before his/ her name. (D) FORMAT OF A SEMI-FORMAL LETTER Department of General Studies School of Foundation Studies Rivers State Polytechnic Bori 12 June, 1999 Dear Dr. Okafor, Thank you for your care and concern during my admission in your clinic. I know you may have forgotten me. I was the accident victim admitted in the special ward, on the 3rd of October, 1997. I appreciate the fact that your dedication and carefulness brought me back to life again. May God bless and proper all your endeavours.

I hope to visit you and personally express my deep-rooted gratitude for all that you did for me. God bless you. Yours sincerely, Asikiya C. David-West. 3. FORMAL LETTER The formal letter is also known as a business letter or official letter. It is the letter used for all manner of official transactions. It serves as a representative. As a representative, a business letter takes the place of the marketing manager. Personnel manager, Secretary, Managing Director Registrar of an organization. It carries the image of the organization and acts for the organization; therefore, the language should be simple and clear as to convey the good image of the organization. Unlike an informal letter, a business letter serves just one purpose; thus, addresses itself on only one subject matter at a time. A formal letter includes letters of application, orders, qotation, enquiries, complaints, condolence, and appreciation.etc. 4. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. PURPOSE OF A FORMAL LETTER A formal letter transfers information from one person to another, one firm to another, an individual to a firm, a firm to an individual as the case may be. It seeks for information It obtains information It makes order It relays grievance It creates rapport between one firm and another. It serves as a permanent record for subsequent transaction and could be used as reference point.


THE ADDRESS The formal letter has two addresses; the address of the addresser and that of the addressee the address of the addresser is written at the top right hand corner of the letter, while the address of the addressee is written at the left, on the line preceding the date. The address of the addressee is usually in block form while that of the addresser could be indented or block. Most times, the block form is preferred because it is neater and finer. Where a letter headed paper is used, only the address of the addressee is written at the left-hand side. A letter headed paper is a sheet of paper with a printed name and address of a business firm.


THE DATE In most letters, the date appears below the addressers address. Where a letter headed paper is used, the date appears at the right hand corner, where the address is customarily written. REFERENCE The use of reference number in a letter is only a means of identifying the letter. It enables replies to be linked with correspondences that had taken place before to ensure that such correspondences are secured, properly filed and promptly received. The reference can take any of the following forms: dictators initials, followed by those of the typist. OJG/HEW or the dictators initials, the typist initials, the number of the folder in the filing system. e.g our ref: JBB/MEM/25/50.


Usually, the reference number of the receiving firm and that of the addressers firm are placed sequentially before the addressees address. (D) SALUTATION The salutation which is sometimes referred to as greeting appears below the address of the addressee. It is however separated from the addressees address by a double space and marked off by a comma. The salutation Sir was widely used, but due to its very serious tone, the trend has changed to Dear sir or Dear madam. However, if the letter is addressed to a particular individual, the salutation will be Dear Professor/Dr/Mr/Mrs/Miss as the case may be. The salutation is

sometimes indented, but for the prpose of aesthetics, the block form is preferred. (E) THE TITLE The title is also referred to as the heading. It serves as a summary of the content of the letter and thus, helps to save time, where series of letters are received for different purposes. It also facilitates easy filing. THE BODY The body of the letter is the most important aspect of the formal letter. It is the message conveyed, and its content depends on the particular circumstance involved. Hence, before a writer begins to write, he should address the following issues:


(i) What am I writing? (ii) What do I want to achieve through this letter? (iii) Through what means can I achieve my aim? A formal letter may consist of jst one paragraph or at most three. Where the formal letter is more than one paragraph, the first paragraph takes the form of an introduction, a background, or an acknowledgement, if there has been a previous correspondence. The second paragraph gives relevant information on the purpose of the writing while the third paragraph refers to future action. It states what action the third paragraph is expected to take. It is also regarded as the closing paragraph. However, where the need arises for mosre than three paragraphs, the issues should be arranged in a logical order, with a view to presenting the facts in the best possible manner. The language of a formal letter is very formal. It does not make use of colloquial language, slang or contracted forms. The sentence structures are well organized. The rules associated with paragraph development are strictly observed. (G) COMPLIMENTARY CLOSE The complimentary close should always match the salutation. The form it takes depends on the relationship between the people corresponding. The most commonly used salutation and complementary close are: Dear sir.. Dear madam Yours faithfully, yours faithfully,

(i) (ii)


Dear Mr. Johnny. Yours sincerely,

Yours sincerely could be used if the parties concerned wish to do away with formality. Yours obediently or Your obedient servant is no longer in vogue; therefore, should not be used. The complimentary close always starts with a capital letter, while the words following, begin with a small letter. This is usually broken off by a comma as exemplified below: Yours faithfully, The pronoun Yours does not have an apostrophe before the s. it is therefore wrong for any body to write it in this form Yours Ending a formal letter with phrases such as I am. I remain. We are. is outdated and serve no useful purpose. (H) THE SUBSCRIPT After the complimentary close comes, the signature and name of the addresser. Where his official designation is required, it is written below the name. The name does not carry any official title. If an individuals name is Dr S. B Amakiri for instance, it could appear as:

Yours faithfully, S.B. Amakiri. The only exception is where a woman is writing to a stranger, and needs to show her marital status, she can add (Mrs) or (Miss) in bracket in front of her name. Yours faithfully, (Miss) A.C. David West. Manager. Letters are some times written in the first person singular or first person plural (I or we). First person singular is used when the addresser is the owner of the business or wishes to express his personal opinion. On the other hand, the first person plural is used when the letter is expressing the views of a firm as a whole.

A letter written in the first person singular should be signed by an individual while the letter written in the first person plural should bear the name of the firm concerned. (i) Format of a formal letter in the first person singular. Department of general studies Rivers State polytechnic P.M.B. 20 Bori. June 12, 1999 The Chairman ASUP Rivers State Polytechnic Bori. Dear sir, A REQUEST FOR THE BUDGET AND EXPENDITURE OF ASUP I would like to have a summary of your budget for the building of the Senior Staff canteen. I understand the project has already gulped a total of 2.5 million, and is still far from being completed. You should do well to send to me the summary of your budget, stating your expenditure and how much you need to complete the work. Yours faithfully, Tariye Aberebiya.

(j)(ii) FORMAT OF A FORMAL LETTER IN THE FIRST PERSON PLURAL Shell Petroleum Development Company P.O. Box 263 Port Harcourt May 2, 1999 The Manager DUSCO (Nig) Enterprises. Port Harcourt Dear Sir, APPLICATION FOR EXTENSION OF SERVICE We refer to your letter of 15th March, 1998 on the above subject and regret to inform you that we have stopped registration of contractors in our Safety Department. We are therefore unable to process your APPLICATION. Thank you for the interest shown in our operation. Yours faithfully, For the shell Petroleum Development Co. Nig. Ltd G. J Renolds (Head Safety Department. South) Sometimes the chief executive of an organization may delegate people to sign documents on his behalf due to pressure of work. In such situation, the Chief employees are said to sign per procurationem or per pro. Nowadays, per pro is replaced with words descriptive of the office held by the signatory. It depicts the power and responsibility of the signatory.


Below are Examples of Delegated Signature

The signature of an official for his company could take either of the following forms: (a) Yours faithfully, (b) Oriselem Dokubo Secretary. (c) Yours faithfully, For: Dismage & Sons Ltd. Bele Amakiri Secretary A private secretary: signing on behalf of her boss.


Yours faithfully. (Miss) T. Tommy Secretary to Mr. O.S. Osaro (iv) An employee with special authority to sign

Yours faithfully For: Johnson. Duke & Co. O.C. David-West. (K) STYLES IN LETTER WRITING Just as there are styles in literary writing, so there are style in business letter writing. The style of a writer accrues from the vocabulary he uses and the way he uses them.

For a writer to project his style, he should be natural, use a simple and concise language that is mutually intelligible. A writers style is also portrayed in the layout of his letter. The different styles of letter used in contemporary times range from fully block, semiblock and modified block letter styles, The different styles of the semiblock, modified block and fully block letter styles will be letter considered in this section.


Semi-block Letter Style Here, the inside name and addresses are block, while the paragraphs are indented. The complimentary close, subscript and title are4 centralized. This form of letter is said to make reading easy, but wastes time in typing. FULLY BLOCK LETTER STYLE As was noted earlier, the block style has taken over the world of business letter writing. It is said to be more business-like in appearance than the indented style, and saves the time of the typist.


Two to three line spacing is between the different paragraphs to make a distinction between one paragraph and the other. The complimentary close and subscript are written at the left hand corner, on the same line as the addressees address, salutation, title of the letter, and the first paragraph of the letter. This trend runs throughout the entire letter. Below are examples of semi-block letter and fully block letter styles.

Semi-block letter Slumberger Group of Companies

5 Chief Obodah Estate Rumuogba Port Harcourt. 1 July, 1999 The Registrar, Rivers State Polytechnic, Bori, Dear Sir, Application for the post of an Electrical engineer I hereby apply for the above-mentioned position in your establishment. I am 29 years old and a native of Kono in Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State. I attended Government Technical College Tombia, and sat for the West African School Certificate Examination in Telecommunication practice. I later attended Rivers State Polytechnic. Bori, where I graduated as an Electrical Engineer. To attest to my character, and qualification, my Head of Department. Mr. E. Oludi, my Lecturers. Mr. B. Princewill and Mr. Osiboko can be contacted. Attached herewith are photocopies of my credentials and curriculum vitae. I would be grateful if my application is duly considered and I am invited for an interview. Yours faithfully, Nwifii Wikina.


FULLY BLOCK LETTER STYLE Dusco (Nig). Enterprise 107 Creek Road. Port Harcourt. 5th May, 1997

Head of Safety Shell petroleum Development Company Port Harcourt. Dear Sir, APPLICATION FOR SWIMMING PASS I wish to apply to undergo the training and test for swimming pass. This is to enable me perform safely, and also to save lives during my services to production Department in particular and Shell Petroleum Development Company in general. Production Department (PRDE) NAMF BO sponsors this company. 06450. N.N.P.C. REG. NO. PI/GP/PH/ 1708/93 I have the knowledge of swimming. I wish to undergo the swimming training and shall comply with all safety and other conditions given to me. Yours faithfully Abioye Saromi Managing Director. EXAMPLES OF A BUSINESS LETTER (p) Examples of business letters are application for employment, admission, quotation, enquiry, circular, invitation, order, complaint, and congratulation. Inquiry Letters of inquiry are usually written simply, clearly and concisely. The language is polite as to establish goodwill between the people corresponding. It deals with one issue at a time. The reply to letters of

enquiry is usually warm and friendly with appropriate complimentary close to maintain the rapport that has already been established by the inquirer. 10 Odikago Close, Odani Mate New Layout, Elelenwo, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, 15th April, 2012. The Project Manager Sambeldan Nigeria Limited Okporo Road Port Harcourt Letter of Enquiry O..r company is involved in building and construction of roads and we are interested in the chippins and hard core you have displayed for sale. You may please, send to s, your price list and the terms of payment. We thank you in anticipation of your prompt reply. Yours faithfully, . Eb.ka ..dez..l.. Quotation A quotation is an estimate of a piece of work, sales or services quoted for. A satisfactory quotation will include: (a) (b) (c) (d) An expression of thanks for enquiry. Details of prices, discounts, and terms of payment. A clear indication of what the prices cover e.g. (Package, carriage and insurance) The period for which the quotations is valid.

Below is an example of letter of quotation No.5 Telma Street, G.R.A Phase 11, Port Harcourt 25th March, 2007 The Manager, d..clos Nigeria Limited Port Harcourt. Dear Sir, Quotation for Maintenance We wish to submit the quotation for the repair and maintenance of leaking roofs and damaged ceiling boards of the clinic building. Scope of work 1. 2. 3. 4. Leaking roof many spots Replacement of celotex ceiling boards Replacement of wood nagging Replacement celotex boards

Materials kreakdown (1) Wood (hard wood) 2 x 2 12 4pcs at N40 = N1,..00.00 (2) 2 x 2Celotex ceiling board 1 pk at N3,500.00 (3) Two p..onds weight of copper nail at N100.00 = N200.00 (4) 4Ibs weight of 3inch. Nail at N70.00 = N280.00 (5) 3 rolls of Evo-stick flash band at N1,800.00 = N3, ..00.00 (..) 2 Tins of white emulsion begger paint at N750.00 (7) Labor, Viz, Carpentry and painting including transport = N4,500.00 Total N15, 180.00 We look forward to a favorable consideration. Yours faithfully, D. Amakiri Managing Director

Order An order is brief, yet says all that is necessary in a polite manner. An order placed on the basis of a quotation should be linked up with the quotation by reference number and date. The essential qualities of an order are accuracy and clarity. A good order should include details of description, quantity and prices. Where an order is for books, the author, title and date of publication should be stated. Every order should be acknowledged, and such letters must contain the following: (a) An appreciatory acknowledgement of the order. (b) A reference by name to the goods ordered (c) Possibly an offer to be of further services as to stimulate future business and to create good will. Below is an example of letter of order Modified block style No.5 Telma Street, G.R.A Phase 11, Port Harcourt 25th March, 2007 The Sales Manager, Global Services Limited Port Harcourt. Dear Sir, Order for foams We were excited to read your advertisement in this weeks Newswatch, and would be most grateful if you co..ld send ..s ten pieces of your foam of

green, red and cream colors. Enclosed is the required amount, which includes that of transportation, as stated in your advert. We look forward to a quick response from you. Yours faithfully, Dein Amakiri Complaint Letters of complaint may be written as a result of delay in payment, delivery or delivery of the wrong type of goods. In the school setting, it could be as a result of omission of name or an examination result. For whatever reason the complaint is made, it should be written with tact and restraint to avoid straining future business relationship. Letters of Complaint should Contain the Following (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) Regret the need to complain State clearly your reason for complaining. Ask for an explanation and the adjustment you seek. Refer to the inconvenience caused and suggest how matters could be put right. Conclude by expressing confidence in the expectation of a favourable and helping reply.

Below is an example of letter of complaint

Department of General Studies Schools of Foundation Studies Rivers State Polytechnic, Bori August 10, 2002 The Director, School of Foundation Studies Rivers State polytechnic

Dear Sir, OMISSION OF EXAMINATION SCORE FOR GNS 221 On the 7th December. I joined the other students in my department to write communication in English examination. The examination took place in Block A room 4, and the time was 9am. I sat with my course mates Kelechi Odumegu. and Terica Wilox, and also signed the attendance sheet that was passed round. Nevertheless, when the result was published, my score was omitted. Nobody has been able to explain the reason for the omission and I am getting disturbed. I shall appreciate, if my booklet is sought for and marked. and my score properly recorded. I am counting on your dexterity in prompt attendance students problems Yours faithfully, Telema Tamonuye LETTER OF APPLICATION The purpose of an application is to secure an interview to discuss a job you want. Some companies may ask for letters of application, while others may request for curriculum vitae. In writing letter of application, an applicant must know what information to include. Sometimes, an application made is in response to an advertisement. Such application should make reference to the newspaper and date of the advertisement. In addition, every letter of application should include all such pieces of information that the applicant wants the prospective employer to have. The following are vital to every good letter application. 1. 2. 3. Type of job being applied for Age Educational qualification

4. 5. . 7. 8.

Job experience Personal references Request for an interview Legible well organized writing Good grammar, correct spelling and proper punctuation.

The curriculum vitae This is a document containing specific pieces of information about an applicant. It has five major parts; namely. (i) Personal data (ii) Educational background and qualifications Experience (iv) Extra-curricular activities References Examples of a curriculum vitae Name: Date of Birth: Place of Birth: Sex: Nationality: State of Origin: Local Government Area: Marital Status: Next of Kin: Contact Address: Position Sought: Educational Background S/N SCHOOL ATTENDED 1. University of Science and Technology 2. University of Port Harcourt 3. Government Girls Secondary School Harbor Road. 4. Municipals Council School. P.H DATES 1990-1993 1984-1988 1977-1981 1970-1977 CERTIFICATE OBTAINED M.A English B.ED English WASC First School Certificate. Leaving



EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES REFERENCES R Essential qualities of a good letter Business organizations communicate with their customers through the business letter. From the tone and quality of such letters, a customer forms his impression concerning the organization. It therefore behooves everybody engaged in writing business letter to express himself accurately in a plain language that could be clearly and easily understood. S. The following are the qualities of good business letter.

(i) .se of Right Words. The writer should know exactly what to say. He should be able to define his objectives, gather facts and arrange them logically and sequentially, .ing the right words. (ii) Clarity Say what you want to say in a clear language. The words and sentences should be arranged in a way as to convey the exact meaning you have in mind. As an official letter, every word or phase will be properly analyzed; therefore, it should be precise, devoid of redundant and flowery words. (iii) Brevity It is necessary for every business letter to be brief. The enormity of the work done by the manager of an organization does not permit him to waste much time on lengthy letters, so brevity is very essential. To achieve brevity, unnecessary details should be omitted, and what must be said, should be said in the most concise form.

(iv) Factual Accuracy Every statement made in a business letter must be accurate. Accracy depends largely on thorough knowledge of the subject matter. Consequently, anyone writing a business letter must know what to say, and say them in an appropriate manner. (v) Courteous phrasing Politeness is a mark of a good business letter. Business letter written to express ones grievance can be written in a pleasant style, and is much more likely to receive attention than the one written in an abusive language. However, excessive politeness should be avoided as it may lower the prestige of the writer, and make less serious the matter at sake.

Forcefulness Forcefulness in a business letter is essential to drive home your point. It is the careful and convincing arrangement of the argument a letter is intended to present. A strong forcefully written letter may finally induce the recipient to make the concessions necessary to arrive at an agreement. Forcefulness in business letter writing is achieved by keeping to the point, arranging the points in the best possible order, writing clearly, and concisely.

THE STRUCTURE OF AN ARTICLE Ideally, an article should have a caption, an introduction, a body and a conclusion The caption The caption should be made as catchy as possible. This is because the reader will read it first, and then decide if he should continue reading the rest of the article.

Introduction Introduce the problem you intend to discuss in your article or write a short story of your experience with the problem. The body In the body of the article, you would need to discuss all the solutions to the problem that were outlined in the introduction. Each of the points should be broken up into separate paragraphs, and discussed exhaustively. Conclusion The conclusion should include a brief summary of the article and a call for the reader to take action, depending on the topic under discourse. Things to avoid in writing an article Do not: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) (vii) (viii) Use poor grammar or incorrect spelling Use bad English Use contractions Use too many complex sentences Use idiomatic expressions Use words you are not sure about without consulting a dictionary Write articles so short that they offer no useful information Write in the second person.

The address of the addresser and the address of the addressee editor. It has a formal salutation, just like the business