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English grammar basic Rule Book

Letter Writing Format, Types & Tips For Exams

Candidates in examinations such as SSC exam, Bank exam, RRB exam, or other and competitive exams are asked to write a letter in the descriptive papers to assess their writing skills.

To help candidates score full marks in the descriptive papers of a particular examination, this article will explore the types of letter writing, the format of letter writing and a few tips to write quality letters in the examination.

 

Letter Writing In Competitive Exams

  1. The letter should fill the communication gap between two parties
  2. It should send out a message and express a feeling
  3. It should create awareness and provoke thought in the receiver’s mind

Each letter that is written can have different objectives, depending on its type. So, first let us understand the types of letter writing.

Types Of Letter Writing

Letter writing can be classified into two types:

  1. Informal Letters
  2. Formal Letters

Candidates in the examination can be asked to write a 150- 200 word letter on either type mentioned above. Let us understand both the types of letters in detail.

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Informal Letter

Informal letters are also known as personal letters. Such types of letters are usually written to relatives, family, friends, or acquaintances. These letters may or may not have a concrete reason for writing. The aim of writing informal letters is to create a personal memoir. It need not adhere to any formalities or follow any set pattern.

Formal Letters

The letters that follow a certain formality and set pattern are formal letters. Such letters are precise, directly addressing the concerned issue and are kept strictly professional in nature. Formal letters are short and to the point. A variety of letters that fall within the category of formal letters are –

  • Business letters
  • Official letters
  • Social letters
  • Circular letters
  • Employment letters

Letter Writing Format

In general, everyone needs to be aware of the format of letter writing, more so candidates appearing for examinations. A letter is composed of different elements that change depending upon its nature. The format for both the types of letters is given below.

 

Letter writing format of Formal Letter

A formal letter must adhere to the prescribed format. The letter writing format of a formal letter is as mentioned below:

1. Sender’s address

2. Date

3. Receiver’s address

4. Subject

5. Salutation

6. Body of the letter

7. Complimentary closure

8. Signature line: sender’s name, signature and designation

  • Sender’s address: One of the most essential components, also known as the return address. It is the mailing address of the sender. The address and contact details of the person sending the letter are written here.
  • Date: Immediately after the sender’s address comes the date on which the letter is written. Candidates, while writing the letter in the exam, can follow any of the formats to write the dates: DD/MM/YY OR MM/DD/YY.
  • Receiver’s address: The corresponding address, i.e. the address of the recipient of the mail is written here. Candidates must start with the receivers’ designation followed by the name of the organization and then the full address, Pincode and country (if the information is known).
  • The subject: This highlights the aim of writing the letter. The subject of the formal letter should be very brief (6 to 8 words) and must be preceded by the word ‘Subject’. The receiver, through the subject, understands the purpose of the letter at a glance.
  • Salutation: This is a customary greeting to the recipient of the letter. If the name of the recipient is known, the salutation starts with ‘Dear’ followed by Mr/Mrs/Miss, etc. If the person is unknown or even the gender is not known the recipient can be addressed as Dear Sir/Dear Madam.
  • Body: The most important element of any letter. It furnishes the reason behind writing the letter. For formal letters, candidates should use short, clear, logical paragraphs to state the subject matter. The body of the letter is generally divided into 3 paragraphs:
  1. Introduction that states the main point.
  2. Middle part: Supporting points and details to justify the need and importance of letter writing.
  3. Conclusion: Request for some action or what is expected.
  • Complimentary Closure: This is to end the letter with respect in a polite manner such as ‘Yours faithfully’, ‘Yours sincerely’, etc.
  • Signature Line: This is the last part where the sender of the letter signs off with his first or last name. The signature line may also include a second line for the title or designation of the sender.

Candidates writing formal letters in the exam must remember the following pointers.

  • Use of colloquial words, short forms, slang language and abbreviations are restricted.
  • The letter must be to the point, precise and clearly indicating the message.
  • The subject line is very important in Formal Letters.

Letter writing format of Informal Letters

Candidates writing informal letters need to follow the below-mentioned format.

1. Address

2. Date

3. Salutation

4. Body of the letter

5. Sender’s name and signature

  1. Address: The sender’s address is important in informal letters. Since informal letters are personal letters and sent to acquaintances or people who are known, the receivers’ address is only mentioned on the envelope carrying the letter.
  2. Date: Same as in a formal letter format.
  3. Salutation in informal letters can be Dear/Dearest/ Hi/Hello followed by the first name/nickname of the recipient.
  4. Body: The body in the informal letters can be long and detailed containing diverse feelings, experiences, advice, news, etc.
  5. Sender’s name and signature are the same as in the formal letters.

Important pointers of Informal letter

  1. The subject line is not required in an Informal Letter.
  2. No prescribed format has to be strictly followed.
  3. The usage of language must be friendly and casual.
  4. The letter can have extra information, as per the sender’s choice.

Important Tips For Good Letter Writing

Candidates appearing for competitive exams are encouraged to follow the below-mentioned tips to write a good letter in the examination and fetch good marks.

  • Candidates must be able to identify the type of letter they will write. For example: writing a letter to the Principal asking for leave is a formal letter, but writing a letter to the Principal to catch up after a long time would be an informal letter.
  • Opening and closing of letters must be in the correct manner. Formal letters must open and close in a professional manner while informal letters can be directly addressed to the person with greetings. Even closing the letters is significant. Formal letters always end respectfully and impersonally, whereas informal letters may end with a more personal touch.
  • In formal letters, making clear the purpose of the letter immediately is important. Candidates writing formal letters must make sure to get to the point as soon as possible.
  • A letter is always supposed to be considerate and polite. It is essential to use polite words and civil language in all types of letters, be it formal or informal. Even if the letter is about any complaint, the point must be made in a careful and courteous manner.
  • The length of the letter also holds relevance. In formal letters, the matter should be expressed to the point, precise and short, while the length of the personal or informal letter depends on the message and the relation to the recipient.

 

Frequently Asked Question

 

Q.1. What are the various types of letters?

Ans. Broadly there are two types of letters – Formal Letters and Informal Letters but the classification of letters are also based on the contents, formalities, the purpose of letter writing etc.

Q.2. What are formal letters?

Ans. Formal letters need to follow a certain formality and set pattern. Such letters are precise, directly addressing the concerned issue and are kept strictly professional in nature.

Q.3. What are the types of formal letter?

Ans. A variety of letters that fall within the category of formal letters such as Business letters, Official letters, Social letters, Circular letters, Employment letters.

Q.4. What are the Informal letters?

Ans. The letter that is usually written to relatives, family, friends, or acquaintances that may or may not have a concrete reason for writing.

Q 5. How a formal Letter is written?

Ans. A formal letter must adhere to the prescribed format. It must include the following:

  • Sender’s address
  • Date
  • Receiver’s address
  • Subject
  • Salutation
  • Body of the letter
  • Complimentary closure
  • Signature line: sender’s name, signature and designation

 

 

Active & Passive Voice rules

 

Let us first understand the meaning of voice, and what is active voice and passive voice.

What is Voice of a verb?

The voice of a verb expresses whether the subject in the sentence has performed or received the action.

Example:

The watchman opens the door.

The door is opened by the watchman.

Types of Voices of Verb

Verbs have two voices (i) Active Voice (ii) Passive Voice

Active Voice – When an action performed by the subject is expressed by the verb, it is an active voice. Active voice is used when more straightforward relation and clarity is required between the subject and the verb.

Active Voice example:

Hens lay eggs.

Birds build nests.

Passive Voice –  When the action expressed by the verb is received by the subject, it is passive voice. Passive voice is used when the doer of the action is not known and the focus of the sentence is on the action and not the subject.

Passive Voice Examples:

Eggs are laid by hens.

Nests are built by birds.

 

Active And Passive Voice Rules For Conversion of Sentence

 

Below are the active-passive voice rules to follow for changing an active sentence into a passive voice. Before heading to the rules of active-passive voice, let’s check the examples of active and passive voice sentences.

 

Conversion of Active and Passive voice examples

Rita wrote a letter. (Subject + Verb + Object)

A letter was written by Rita.  (Object) + (auxiliary verb) + (past participle) + (by subject).

She cooks food. (Subject + Verb + Object)

 

The food is cooked by her. (Object) + (auxiliary verb) + (past participle) + (by subject)

 

Candidates can watch the video on Active-Passive voice rules and concept in English. This will help them gain conceptual knowledge and understand the variety of questions asked in the exams even better.

Rules of Active – Passive Voice in English Grammar – Part 1

 

Rules for Active – Passive Voice Conversions

Rule 1. Identify the (S+V+O) Subject, Verb and object in the active sentence to convert to passive voice

Example:

He drives car. (Subject – He, verb – Drives, object – Car)

Rule 2. Interchange the object and subject with each other, i.e. object of the active sentence become the subject of the passive sentence.

 

Example : 

Active voice : She knits sweater. (Subject – She, Verb – Knits, Object – Sweater)

Passive Voice : The sweater is knitted by her. (Object sweater is interchanged with the subject She).

Rule 3. In passive voice sometimes the subject is not used, i.e. the subject in passive voice can be omitted if the sentence without it gives enough meaning.

Example :

Milk is sold in litres

Rule 4. Change the base verb in the active sentence into the past participle ie. third form verb in a passive sentence i.e. preceded by (By, With, to, etc). Base verbs are never used in passive voice sentences.

Example:

Active voice: She prepares dinner.

Passive voice: The dinner is prepared by her.

Active voice: She knows him.

Passive voice: He is known to her.

Active voice: Juice fills the jar.

Passive voice: The jar is filled with juice.

Rule 5. While conversion of Active voice sentence to Passive voice sentence, the pronoun used in the sentence also changes in the following manner.

Active Voice Pronoun Passive Voice Pronoun
I Me
We Us
He Him
She Her
They Them
You You
It It

 

Rule 6. Use the suitable helping or auxiliary verb (is/am/are/was, etc.). The rules for using auxiliary verbs in passive voice sentences are different for each tense.

Example:

The letter is written by her

A book was not bought by her

Chocolates are being eaten by them.

Forms of Active And Passive Voice For All Tenses

Simple Present Tense

Active Sentences Passive Sentences
He writes an essay An essay is written by him
Sheena does the housework The housework is done by Sheena
She cares for the rabbit The rabbit is being cared for by her
Jacob always plays the guitar The guitar is always played by Jacob

Present Continuous Tense

Active Sentences Passive Sentences
They are eating bananas The bananas are being eaten by them
Bob is drawing a diagram A diagram is being drawn by Bob
Samta is playing the piano A piano is being played by Samta
She is waiting for Reema Reema is being waited for by her

Present Perfect Tense

Active Sentences Passive Sentences
Has he done the work? Has the work been done by him?
Have they left the apartment? Has the apartment been left by them?
He created this masterpiece This masterpiece is created by him
He read the newspaper The newspaper is being read by him

 

Active Voice Passive Voice
Ria paid the bills The bills were paid by Ria
The teacher called the student The student was called by the teacher
She did not buy the fruits The fruits were not bought by her

Past Progressive/Continuous Tense

Active Voice Passive Voice
They were waiting for him He was being waited for by them
Astha was learning French French was being learnt by Astha
She was playing kabaddi Kabaddi was being played by her

Past Perfect Tense

Active Voice Passive Voice
She won the match The match had been won by her
I had finished her work Her work had been finished by me
He had missed the last metro The last metro had been missed by him

Simple Future Tense

Active Voice Passive Voice
He will write a letter A letter will be written by him
He will repair her cycle Her cycle will be repaired by him
He shall start the meeting The meeting will be started by him

Future Perfect Tense

Active Voice Passive Voice
Meena will not have changed the bedsheet The bed sheet will not have been changed by Meena
They will have won the match The match will have been won by them
Reena will have washed the skirt The skirt will have been washed by Reena

 

Sentence Rearrangement & Parajumbles – Tips, Tricks & Questions

 

One of the most important topics in the English language section for various competitive exams is Sentence Rearrangement. The topic may also be referred to as parajumbles and questions from this topic are frequently asked in the exam.

The weightage of questions asked from the sentence rearrangement topic is mostly between 3-5 marks and candidates can easily score marks in these questions.

 

Sentence Rearrangement – Basic Concept

As the word suggests, sentence rearrangement refers to re-arranging a bunch of lines, which are presented in a jumbled manner in the question. Candidates need to arrange the sentences in the correct order and then answer the questions related to the same.

 

The theme, topic or the area from which the jumbled sentences may be picked is miscellaneous and candidates need to analyse the statements carefully to answer the question.

The questions asked may be of various types:

  • The correct order of all the statements
  • The correct order of any one statement
  • To detect the first statement of the passage
  • To detect the last statement of the passage, and so on

The more a candidate practises, the more efficient he/she shall get in solving the jumbled statements.

Given below are a few links which may help candidates strengthen their grammatical skills:

Types of Sentence Rearrangement Questions

There are basically 4 formats in which the parajumble questions can be asked in the various competitive exams:

  1. The Basic Format:This is the format where all the statements are given in a jumbled form and candidates need to arrange all the statements logically.
  2. Static First Statement:In the second type of format for parajumbles, the first statement is given as static and candidates have to arrange the other statements logically, such that the first statement remains constant.
  3. Static Last Statement: Just like a static first statement, the last statement given can also be static and candidates need to arrange the other sentences to make the paragraph logical, with the last sentence constant.
  4. Static First and Last Statement:The first and last statement can be static and candidates are required to arrange the leftover sentences between these two statements to make it logically correct.

It must also be noted that with the increase in competition, the conducting bodies keep enhancing the level of questions asked. The topics are the same but the standard of questions tend to change.

Thus, it is important that a candidate effectively understands the concept and its basics well to be able to answer it in any format.

Furthermore, given below is the syllabus for the various Government exams, candidates can refer to prepare themselves well for the upcoming competitive exams:

Correct Approach To Solve Sentence Rearrangement Questions

There are multiple mistakes that a candidate can make while answering questions from the sentence rearrangement topic. So, solving the questions with the correct approach shall help candidates answer the parajumbles without making errors.

Tips and tricks to solve sentence rearrangement questions are as given below:

  1. Read all the given statements carefully and analyse the common point between them and then start rearranging them.
  2. Refer to a pattern that may be given in the statement.
  3. Try relating the words given like, yet, but, when, then, they, anyway, etc. This will give you a clearer idea of how the sentences can be rearranged.
  4. Candidates with stronger vocabulary are more likely to solve the question quicker as understanding the meanings of every word given in each sentence will help in arranging the statements.
  5. Paragraphs with one static statement are comparatively easier to crack as you get an idea as to how the theme starts to evolve or how it shall end.
  6. Once you think you are done with arranging the statements correctly, re-read the entire passage to ensure that it is logically correct.

Sentence Rearrangement Questions

To help candidates get a better idea of the topic, discussed below are a few sample questions and examples of parajumbles.

Let us start with a basic example to understand what needs to be done.

Example 1: Given below are jumbled statements, arrange the following in logical form:

  1. Rani fills the form to the dance show
  2. A talent hunt show is looking for Classical dancers like Rani
  3. Rani is called for auditions
  4. Rani is a trained Bharatnatyam dancer
  5. Rani gets selected

The Correct Arrangement:

  1. Rani is a trained Bharatnatyam dancer
  2. A talent hunt show is looking for Classical dancers like Rani
  3. Rani fills the form to the dance show
  4. Rani is called for auditions
  5. Rani gets selected

From the above arrangement, the questions which may be asked are as follows:

Q 1. What is the correct order of the statements when arranged logically?

Answer: 42135

Q 2. Which statement is the 3rd statement from the beginning?

Answer: (1.) Rani fills the form to the dance show

Questions of similar type are asked in the final examination but in a little complex manner.

 

 

 

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