Definition and Types of Letter




A letter is defined as a written message addressed to a person or an organization, usually put in an envelope and sent by post.

Idiom: ‘to the letter’

Related words:

–       Lettering (n): the process of writing or drawing letters

–       Mailbox (US) – Postbox (Brit)

Types of Letters

Formal Letters

Informal Letters

The ‘thank you’ letter Letters of Application
Exchanging news Letters of Reference
Letters to Pen-Friends Letters of Resignation
Emotional Letters Letters of Complaint and Protesting
Letters of Sympathy Letters to the Editor
Letters of Congratulations Letters of Giving Information
Letters of Apology Letters of Granting, Refusing
Asking for a favor Letters of Extending Thanks
Letters of saying ‘no’ Letters of Goodwill and Condolence

The division of the letters above is generally based on the content and the layout of each of them. Informal letters tend to be more personal and the language used is commonly used in the daily communication. Meanwhile, formal letters are more serious, the language used is under the conventional agreement of English written expressions.

  • Exercises                    :

Individual Work

  1. You are studying in the department of English education in STKIP PGRI Sumatera Barat, what did you expect to learn from this subject in developing your ability in English?
  1. What do you know about letters?
  1. When did you write letters for the first time? To whom did you send them? For what purpose?
  1. Please explain chronologically what did you do when you write a letter?

Individual Task


Please write a letter to one of your friends in the class. The content of your letter is up to you. After you give your letter to your friend, you should receive a reply immediately. The same thing goes to your friend. Your friend writes a letter to you, then, you reply to your friend’s letter.

Collect the task in the third meeting.



Hornby, AS.Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of   Current English. Oxford; Oxford University Press, 1995, pp. 677.

Author: Syayid

Syayid Sandi Sukandi is a person who is just like you. He loves to meet new people. He likes to learn new things and opens his horizon to understand how this world works. He is happy to help you when he can. His personal blog is Sparkling Silent Silhouette ( He can be contacted at e-mails: or He has a YouTube channel @Mr.Syayid's Corner. He is active on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You may follow and subscribe to his creativity and works there. Enjoy different perspective and insightful ideas!

9 thoughts on “Definition and Types of Letter”

  1. Kindly make sure that you give the appropriate information about everything because I’m not satisfied with the types of formal and informal letters on this page.


    1. If you were one of the students I taught, I am glad that you view the post as in your comment.
      However, if you are a reader coming from other part of the world, I still appreciate your comment. Is there anything I can add in the post?
      Perhaps, you can share more ideas? I wrote the content seven years ago, anyway. =)


    1. Maybe you can add more with additional references? I guess I will add some more when I teach the class again this Sprind. Thanks for your suggestion anyway! 🙂


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