The art of letter writing

Without meaning to sound old and cynical, I believe the art of letter writing is being lost.


Okay I failed, that sounds exactly like what an old, cynical person would say. But the basic message is there: we’ve all practiced our formal and business letters for numerous Leaving Cert subjects, so why do we stop there? Some may argue that it’s pointless, that emails do the same job but quicker, but really, there’s a whole load of small things that people forget about.

For example:

  • How many people know to put the stamp in the top right corner? Or how many stamps should you use? Or how much a stamp costs nowadays?
  • How many people would still write their return address on the back, when An Post have requested people to standardize it to the top left corner on the front?
  • How would you fare without SpellCheck or AutoCorrect? Would you remember to look a word up in a dictionary before writing it?
  • Even simple handwriting skills are lost. Imagine how awkward it would feel writing with your weak hand. That’s how it could feel to write normally if your hand muscles aren’t kept in check!
  • It’s a bit anti-dated, I know, but have you ever used a seal? Even in jest?
  • Do you know where your nearest post box is?

I’m presuming that the above apply mostly to teenagers, as the majority of people in their 20s+ have had to send letters for real, at some point or another. In fact, a number of those points applied to me, until I recently sent a letter for the craic!

I don’t mean to whine to the younger generation (i.e. those about 2 years younger than me), but those letter writing classes in English and Business Studies aren’t just for the exam, they’re useful life skills which you should try to enhance every few weeks.


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