Definition and Classification Of Correspondence


Correspondence is any written or digital communication exchanged by two or more parties. It may come in form of letters. e-mail, text messages, voicemails, notes and postcard. It is regarded as the external type of communication that involves the activity of writing and receiving letters. Letters are therefore, a form of written communication, which contains information or message sent by one party to another. Letters are classified according to the purpose for which they are written.

Classification of Correspondence

Letters broadly speaking, fall into two classes namely:

a. Formal or Business or Professional letters.

b. Informal or Personal letters

Formal Letter

The formal letter is written for business or professional purposes with a specific objective in mind. It is written to serve official purposes or transact business. It uses simple language that can be easy to read and interpret.

Informal Letter

A letter is said to be informal when it is written in a friendly manner to someone you are familiar with. Informal or personal letters are written to friends and relatives for personal communication and it uses a casual or an emotional tone.

Formal Letter

Good writing goes far beyond mere ability to handle the technicalities of language but to transfer thoughts, ideas and from one mind to another. A well-written formal or business letter has three points of focus-the writer, the message and the readers. As the writer, you must have a clear idea of what you are going to say, and then express yourself not only with unmistakable clarity, but in such a way that your message is received and understood as you intended.

Writing a letter requires the ability to collect and classify facts and to present them in a form that interests the reader, captures his attention, wins his approval and gets him to take the action you want him to take.

Types of Formal Letter

There are several types of a formal letter depending on the reason for the letters. A formal letter is classified according to subject matter as follows:

i. Resignation Letter: A letter written when leaving a job.

ii. Recommendation Letter: It is used when applying for a new job or higher Institution of learning.

iii. Complaint Letter: This type is written when something has gone wrong.

iv. Reference Letter: It is written to explain why someone is a good candidate.

v. Invitation Letter: It is written to organize a function and invite guests.

vi. Cover Letter: When applying for a job or position, it is written to accompany a curriculum vitae. It can also be taken for an application letter.

vii. Confirmation Letter: A letter used by companies, people or organization to ensure that those involved in an anterior discussion are in accordance concerning the issue discussed.

viii. Memorandum

A short message or record used for internal communication in a business office for the sole purpose of informing and making inquiry. It occasionally includes an element of persuasion or a call to action.

ix. Circular letter

A circular letter is a written document that is addressed for circulation to a group of people at a time. It is usually formal and official and cost effective.

x. Apology letter

Apology letters are letters written to express regret towards a past occurrence or action.

xi. Application letter: It is a type of letter that is formally written to request for something from authority, apply for a job, posts and appointments. It gives a detailed explanation of the writer’s interest, showcases the applicant’s abilities, strengths and experiences. In writing an application letter, the job advertisement must be read carefully and must be written in a way that will be appealing to the employer.

The guidelines to follow are:

i. Write in a professional manner

ii. Mention where you got the information on the job vacancy and express your interest in applying.

iii. List down the qualifications that you have. Also include special qualities or any achievement attained. Include your detailed Curriculum Vitae.

iv. End in a professional and uplifting tone.