In general the letter that contains official information and message is known as official letter. This letter is generally written for conveying various official messages such as rules, regulations, procedures, orders, actions, reactions, opinions etc. from one organization to another, or from one department to another, or from one individual to another individual.
In writing this letter, official structure, rules and procedures are strictly followed and maintained. There is no scope of presenting any emotional or personal message in this letter.
Official letter may be of various types depending on its contents, purposes, features and nature of organization.
The main types of official letter are:
- Government organization official letter
- Semi government organizations official letter
- Autonomous body’s official letter and
- Private organizations official letters
In conclusion, we can say that official letter refers to the letter that is written formally for conveying official messages by one office, department or individual to other offices, department or individuals.
Features of Official letter or, Elements of Official Letter
By nature, official letter is the most formal type of letter through which official messages are exchanged among various offices, departments or institutions. This letter possesses some unique features that distinguish official letter from those of other formal letters.
Some important features of official letter are discussed below:
- Subjective matter: official letter contains purely official message or information. It never discusses any personal affair.
- Structure: It is written by strictly following the officially recognized structure of writing letter. In this regard no deviation is entertained.
- Rules and procedures: This letter is drafted by incorporating prescribed rules and producers of writing letter. For this, it is regarded as the most formal letter.
- Use of language: Officially recognized traditional, simple and courteous language is used in drafting this letter. No poetic or emotional language is used in this letter.
- Conciseness: messages, facts and figures are presented concisely in this letter. Irrelevant or unnecessary matter is avoided.
- Approach: Official letter is drafted either by following direct or persuasive approach.
- Universality: Its appeal is universal. Absence of sender or receiver does not affect its appeal.
- Legal status: official letter enjoys more legal status. The concerned organization not the sender bears the responsibility of writing letter.
- Status: The status or importance of official letter depends on the status of the writer or sender.
- Use of grammar: In drafting official letter first person third person plural number is used.
- Copy: Generally, copy of official letter is being kept for future reference and it is also served to the parties who are concerned to the message of the letter.
- Salutation and complementary close: Generally, use of salutation and complementary close of official letter depend on formal relationship between sender and receiver.