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Encyclopedia > Letter
Look up letter in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
A famous letter from Albert Einstein to U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt suggesting an atomic bomb project. Click here for page 2.
A famous letter from Albert Einstein to U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt suggesting an atomic bomb project. Click here for page 2.

A letter is a written message from one person to another. The role of letters in communication has changed significantly since the 19th century. Historically, letters were the only reliable means of communication between two persons in different locations. Letter can mean: Look up letter in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wiktionary (a portmanteau of wiki and dictionary) is a multilingual, Web-based project to create a free content dictionary, available in over 151 languages. ... “Einstein” redirects here. ... Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882–April 12, 1945), often referred to as FDR, was the 32nd (1933–1945) President of the United States. ... The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, 1945, rose some 18 km (11 mi) above the epicenter. ... Writing is the process of inscribing characters on a medium, with the intention of forming words and other larger language constructs. ... Message in its most general meaning is an object of communication. ...


As communication technology has diversified, letters have become less important as routine communication. The development of the telegraph, telephone, fax and the Internet have all had an impact on the writing and sending of letters. In modern industrialized nations, the exchange of personal letters has become less common, being replaced by technologies such as the telephone and also e-mail. With the advent of the compact cassette, tape letters became a novelty. Telegraphy (from the Greek words tele = far away and grapho = write) is the long distance transmission of written messages without physical transport of letters, originally over wire. ... For other uses, see Telephone (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Fax (disambiguation). ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... The Compact Cassette, often referred to as audio cassette, cassette tape, cassette, or simply tape, is a magnetic tape sound recording format. ... Tape letters are recorded personal messages exchanged using audio media, typically the compact cassette. ...


By analogy, the term letter is sometimes used for e-mail messages with a formal letter-like format. Historically, letters exist from the time of ancient India, ancient Egypt and Sumer, through Rome and Greece and China, up to the present day. Letters make up several of the books of the Bible. Archives of correspondence, whether for personal, diplomatic, or business reasons, serve as primary sources for historians. When a message is replied to in e-mail, Internet forums, or Usenet, the original can often be included, or quoted, in a variety of different posting styles. ... Ancient India may refer to: The Ancient India, which generally includes the ancient history of the whole Indian subcontinent (South Asia) Indus Valley Civilization — during the Bronze Age Vedic period — the period of Vedic Sanskrit, spanning the late Bronze Age and the earlier Iron Age Mahajanapadas — during the later Iron... The pyramids are the most recognizable symbols of the civilization of ancient Egypt. ... Sumer (or Šumer; Sumerian: KI-EN-GIR [1]) was the earliest known civilization of the ancient Near East, located in lower Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), from the time of the earliest records in the mid 4th millennium BC until the rise of Babylonia in the late 3rd millennium BC. The term... Ancient Rome was a civilization that grew from a small agricultural community founded on the Italian Peninsula circa the 9th century BC to a massive empire straddling the Mediterranean Sea. ... China is the worlds oldest continuous major civilization, with written records dating back about 3,500 years and with 5,000 years being commonly used by Chinese as the age of their civilization. ... For other uses, see Bible (disambiguation). ... In historical scholarship, a primary source is a document, or other source of information that was created at or near the time being studied, by an authoritative source, usually one with direct personal knowledge of the events being described. ... For other uses, see Historian (disambiguation). ...

Contents

Advantages

Letters are still used, particularly by companies and advertisers. This is because of three main advantages:

  • No special device needed - almost everybody has a home, which means they are easy to reach. A mailbox is all that the intended recipient needs - not like e-mail or phone calls where the intended recipient needs access to a computer and a telephone respectively.
  • "Catch-all" advertising- unlike e-mails, where the recipient needs an individual e-mail address to receive messages, addresses are not chosen (per se), and so with the help of a postal service, delivering an advertisement to all homes in a particular area is not hard.
  • Physical record - important messages that need to be retained (e.g. receipts) can be kept more easily and securely.

This article is about the machine. ... For other uses, see Telephone (disambiguation). ...

The letter-delivering process

Vintage German letter balance for home use
Vintage German letter balance for home use

Here is how a letter gets from the sender to the recipient: Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (2304x3072, 1899 KB) Summary Vintage German letter balance for home use Licensing I, the creator of this work, hereby grant the permission to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (2304x3072, 1899 KB) Summary Vintage German letter balance for home use Licensing I, the creator of this work, hereby grant the permission to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1. ...

  1. Sender writes letter and places it in an envelope on which he writes the recipient address.
  2. Sender buys a postage stamp, which they place on the front of the envelope.
  3. Sender puts their letter in a mailbox and does nothing more.
  4. The National Postal Service for the sender's country (e.g. the Royal Mail in the UK or the U.S. Postal Service in the U.S.) empties the postbox and takes all the contents to the regional sorting office.
  5. The sorting office then sort each letter by address and postcode, and deliver the letters belonging to a particular area to that area's post office. Letters belonging to a different region are sent to that region's sorting office, to be sorted further.
  6. The local post office dispatches their letters to their delivery personnel (postman/woman) who deliver them to the appropriate houses.

This whole process, depending on how far the sender is from the recipient, can take anywhere from a day to 3-4 weeks. International mail is sent via trains and planes to other countries. Front of an envelope mailed in the U.S. in 1906 contains postage stamp and address. ... A selection of Hong Kong postage stamps A postage stamp is evidence of pre-paying a fee for postal services. ... Front of an envelope mailed in the U.S. in 1906 contains postage stamp and address. ... Royal Mail is the national postal service of the United Kingdom. ... A USPS Truck at Night A U.S. Post Office sign The United States Postal Service (USPS) is the United States government organization responsible for providing postal service in the United States and is generally referred to as the post office. ... For other uses of terms redirecting here, see US (disambiguation), USA (disambiguation), and United States (disambiguation) Motto In God We Trust(since 1956) (From Many, One; Latin, traditional) Anthem The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City National language English (de facto)1 Demonym American... Small-town post office and town hall in Lockhart, Alabama A post office is a facility (in most countries, a government one) where the public can purchase postage stamps for mailing correspondence or merchandise, and also drop off or pick up packages or other special-delivery items. ... This article is about trains in rail transport. ... Airplane and Aeroplane redirect here. ...


Letter layout

United Kingdom and Canada

The following is the normal way to set out a letter: (Note: This is the style in the UK and Canada. See below for the format used in the US.) For other uses of terms redirecting here, see US (disambiguation), USA (disambiguation), and United States (disambiguation) Motto In God We Trust(since 1956) (From Many, One; Latin, traditional) Anthem The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City National language English (de facto)1 Demonym American...

Sender's address here
24 Lambert Street
Stoke-on-Trent
ST4 4WE
Date here
Formal: 3 February 2008 Informal: 03/02/2008
Recipient's name and address here
Mr Albert Gribble
25 Lambkin Street
Stoke-under-Lyme
ST3 9WR
Main body
Formal: Dear Sir or Madam, Acquaintance: Dear Mr Doe, Informal: Dear John,
Content
Formal: Yours faithfully, Acquaintance: Yours sincerely, Informal: Best wishes,
Sender's Name
Formal: Sender's Occupation and Enclosures Informal: Nothing (optional: P.S. / Post Scriptum = Afterthought)

A salutation is a greeting, in particular a formal greeting used in a letter. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

United States

The following is the modified block format for a business letter, common in the United States:

 June 19, 2007 

your Address
date



Mrs. Jane Doe
25 First Street
Anytown, VA 10005


Dear

 Ms. Doe: 

This is an example of a modified block letter. The difference between it and a full block letter style is that the date begins at the center point of the page; therefore, if a letter has a 6 inch line of type, the date begins approximately over 3 inches from the left margin.


The closing block also begins half-way across the page. The complimentary close and the keyed signature (first and last name of the writer) begin at the same point as the date - approximately 3 inches from the left margin.

 Sincerely, Ashely Ferris 
 Sales Representative 

jtp (the typist's initials appear at the left margin)


See also

Look up address in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Carbon copying, often abbreviated to c. ... Front of an envelope mailed in the U.S. in 1906 contains postage stamp and address. ... Historical documents are document that contain important information about a person, place, or event. ... This article does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... For other uses, see Mail (disambiguation). ... A manuscript (Latin manu scriptus, written by hand), strictly speaking, is any written document that is put down by hand, in contrast to being printed or reproduced some other way. ... A salutation is a greeting, in particular a formal greeting used in a letter. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Pen pals (or penpals or pen friends) are people who regularly write each other, in particular in the case of snail mail. ... If you are looking for different meanings of this word, see Postmaster (disambiguation) A postmaster is a term used in post offices to denote the head or master of the office. ... A Postmaster General is the national politician in charge of the postal system of a country. ... Small-town post office and town hall in Lockhart, Alabama A post office is a facility (in most countries, a government one) where the public can purchase postage stamps for mailing correspondence or merchandise, and also drop off or pick up packages or other special-delivery items. ... A selection of Hong Kong postage stamps A postage stamp is evidence of pre-paying a fee for postal services. ... The Private Express Statutes (PES) are, a group of federal civil and criminal laws in United States (Title 18 United States Code sec. ... The secrecy of correspondence (German: , Swedish: , Finnish: ), or literally translated as secrecy of letters, is a fundamental legal principle enshrined in the constitutions of several European countries. ... Snail mail is a derogatory retronym (named after the snail with its proverbially slow speed) used to refer to letters and missives carried by conventional postal delivery services, and refers to the inevitable lag-time between dispatch of a letter and its receipt relative to the virtually instantaneous despatch and... Stationery is a general name given to paper and office supplies such as envelopes, notepads, pens, pencils, erasers, paper clips, staples, etc. ... A specimen of roman typefaces by William Caslon Typography is the art and techniques of type design, modifying type glyphs, and arranging type. ... The Universal Postal Union (UPU, French: Union postale universelle) is an international organization that coordinates postal policies between member nations, and hence the world-wide postal system. ...

Types of letters

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Letters (written messages)
// An application letter or letter of application is a letter that is typically used to apply for a job. ... A business letter is a letter written in formal language (English), usually used when writing from one business organization to another, or for correspondence between such organizations and their customers, clients and other external parties. ... Cease-and-desist is a legal term meaning essentially stop: It is used in demands for a person or organization to stop doing something (to cease and desist from doing it). ... For other uses, see Chain letter (disambiguation). ... A cover letter or covering letter is a letter of introduction attached to, or accompanying another document such as a résumé or curriculum vitae. ... An epistle (Greek επιστολη, epistolē, letter) is a writing directed or sent to a person or group of persons, usually a letter and a very formal, often didactic and elegant one. ... Hate mail (as electronic, postal, or otherwise) is a form of harassment, usually consisting of invective and potentially intimidating or threatening comments towards the recipient. ... An introduction letter or letter of introduction is a letter that is used to introduce one party to a second party. ... Wikibooks has more about this subject: Marketing Direct marketing is a discipline within marketing that involves contacting individual customers (business-to-business or consumer) directly and obtaining their responses and transactions for the purpose of developing and prolonging mutually profitable customer relationships. ... A Letter of Credence is a formal letter sent by one head of state to another formally accrediting a named individual (usually but not always a diplomat) to be their ambassador in the country of the head of state receiving the letter of credence. ... After a contract is concluded between buyer and seller, buyers bank supplies a letter of credit to seller. ... A letter of inquiry is a general term used for a number of different kinds of business letters addressed to a company. ... A Letter of Intent (LOI) is an agreement about future business between two business partners / companies (mostly supplier and customer) without engagement. ... For the Patrick OBrian novel, see The Letter of Marque. ... Letters Patent by Queen Victoria creating the office of Governor-General of Australia Letters patent are a type of legal instrument in the form of an open letter issued by a monarch or government granting an office, a right, monopoly, title, or status to someone or some entity such as... A letter of resignation (or a resignation letter) is a type of letter written by an employee to his or her employer to officially announce their resignation from the current position that they hold. ... “Love letters” redirects here. ... An open letter is a letter that is intended to be read by a wide audience, or a letter intended for an individual, but that is nonetheless widely distributed intentionally. ... An anonymous poison pen letter to a former teacher. ... A query letter is a letter to a periodical or publishing house to ascertain interest in a book or article while it is in the planning stages. ... A recommendation letter or letter of recommendation is a letter in which the writer assesses the qualities, characteristics, and capabilities of the person being recommended in terms of that individual’s ability to perform a particular task or function. ... A reference letter or letter of reference is a letter in which the writer makes a general assessment of the qualities, characteristics, and capabilities of a person, or confirms details about that individual’s situation or circumstances. ... A rejection letter is a form of communication, print or otherwise, indicating the refusal of assent (viz: rejection) of a recommended course. ... A thank you letter or letter of thanks is a letter that is used when one party wishes to express appreciation to another party. ... Image File history File links Commons-logo. ...

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