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Old Fashioned Letter Writing: Do people write letters anymore?

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Old Fashioned Letter Writing. Do People Write Letters Anymore?

Old Fashioned Letter Writing. Do People Write Letters Anymore?

Are the days of putting pen to paper and handwriting a letter obsolete? Does old fashioned letter writing still exist?

These days, the invention of smart phones, iphones, ipads and the humble old computer are giving people faster options of sending friends, colleagues and loved ones messages.

It could be said that the problem with letter writing is that is that it is far too time consuming. Yet on the other hand, people will say that they appreciate receiving a hand-written note.

Letter writing is an essential skill. Despite the prevalence of technology, everyone will have to write a letter at some point. Encouraging children to write letters from an early age will improve their communication, handwriting skills, and teach them what they need to know about writing and structuring letters. Don't let this classic old-fashioned art fade.

Can the new generation of children spell?

Automatic spell checkers, text message abbreviations and newly-formed slang is surely going to cause a whole new generation of people who cannot spell for themselves and who do not know how to manually search through the humble dictionary.

Personally I send e-mails. They are so much quicker to type up (particularly if you can touch type) and you can correct the spelling and edit the format in a way you can't do with hand writing. Once you make an error on a hand-written letter, unless you are a fan of liquid paper (white out), or crossing out a word, the only option is to start again. How frustrating! There is no backspace button!

Hav u eva knoticed tat peeple carnt spel enemore? I woz just aksing.

Just kidding.

Wouldn't it be horrible if this was the norm?

Whilst we are brought up to learn how to spell correctly, and politely correct people who make errors, there are some occasions when a spelling error is to our advantage. How? Misspelled items on eBay. Take a look.

You will be pleasantly surprised.


How about writing a letter today. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Write to a long lost friend
  • Write a letter and include it in a Time Capsule
  • Find a penpal and write a message
  • Write a thank-you letter
  • Write to a grandparent to ask about their childhood
  • Write a letter requesting information on a chosen topic
  • Letters to Santa Claus
  • How about a thank you letter for a gift you have recently received
  • Write a letter inviting someone to come for dinner
  • Letters of complaint
  • Letters to newspapers and magazines
  • And the list goes on

Remember to watch out for those homophones that sometimes trick us all too easily. And if you are looking to add a special zing to your next letter, consider using an onomatopoeia word.

Type of Letters

Letters can be both formal and informal and each has unique characteristics. Depending on the style will determine how components of the letter are penned.

  • How to address the person
  • The Greeting
  • The type of language used
  • How to close the letter
  • The type of paper used

Formal letters

Formal letters, generally used in the business arena or when writing to someone with authority, are prepared with far stricter guidelines and structure.

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Thoughts on such structures differ but keep in mind these aspects if you are preparing a formal letter:

  • Use plain white paper, A4 size.
  • Use the title of the recipient - Mr, Miss or Mrs
  • Do not use slang
  • Close the letter with a more formal message such as 'Yours faithfully' or 'Yours sincerely'
  • Sign the letter if possible.

Informal letters

Writing an informal letter gives you much more room for creativity, and depending on the recipient, much more fun can be had.

  • Paper options are introduced here - coloured, patterned or plain
  • Use the recipient's first name (if appropriate)
  • Close the letter with informal messages such as 'Love from', 'See you soon' or 'Thanks again'.
  • Add a photograph or a drawing (for a special occasion)


  • Determine if you are preparing a formal or informal letter.
  • Make sure your hand writing is neat and legible.
  • Jot down some key notes you would like to include before writing.
  • Double check the address and add a return address on the envelope.

Letters to Santa

Each year, hundreds of children around the world write a letter to Santa Claus, asking ever so politely for that one (or list of ) special toys that they would love to receive.

Why not encourage your children to write to Santa. Maybe you could encourage them to ask Santa some questions about his life in the North Pole. Ask him how his reindeer are? What he likes to eat? There are many companies that exist that send children letters from Santa so why not tie this in together. Get some special writing paper just for this occasion too. Sprinkle red glitter. Make it a fun exercise.

Let's follow in the footsteps of the Letter Writing Challenge and help good old-fashioned letter writing make the come back it deserves. Let's all support Universal Letter Writing Week. Let's encourage our children to use their imagination, improve their hand-writing and create unique letters. This will help to keep letter-writing a lovely tradition.

The sheer enjoyment of sending and receiving a letter via the Letter Writing Challenge changed the way I think. There is definitely something special about putting a letter into a letter box. It shows someone cares and has taken the time to sit down and think about you.

Handwritten letters have a unique charm. You can take time to think about what you want to say. You can keep letters to read again and again. Responding by letter is very different to the immediacy of a text message or an email.

Try it sometime.

All Hubs are Original Material by 'Work At Home Mums' ©

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 WorkAtHomeMums


Maggy on October 15, 2015:

Thank you for this hub! I absolutely love writing letters and find it a shame that´s it´s not that common anymore.

Sometimes it´s hard to find inspiration on what to write. I found great music videos on youtube, which help me think clearer about what I want to say. If you´re interested, there´s a link right here:

Julie K Henderson on March 18, 2015:

Fantastic article. I love your suggestions, especially the one about writing a letter and including it in a time capsule. Well done.

Jan on August 31, 2014:

My youngest brother writes letters to several people all the time. He even writes to me and we live in the same town.

Basty. from Hell. on September 05, 2012:

I like writing letters. It's one of my ways to vent, even though I usually don't send them because they contain strong language and they may or may not get me in huge trouble with the law. Great article!

Jenna Kunc from Colorado on July 20, 2012:

Love it! I wish writing letters was still a common practice.

Ally Jean from Boston, MA on May 16, 2012:

I love this hub! Good job!

Sunil Kumar Kunnoth from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on May 14, 2012:

You have written it clearly and neatly. Await more such hubs. Thanks for such a good work.

Robin71 on April 24, 2012:

I am with you one-hundred percent. I to feel that the art of letter writing is fading fast. I know some teens that can't read cursive handwriting, how sad is that. They can't read it because they don't have to write it. With the Texting shorthand, that I still don't really understand, they seem to be losing out on some really great stuff. Kids don't need books or writing anymore, they have Kendle's, keyboards (even on their phones) and email. Dictionaries-their waiting for the movie.

I personally believe that's why there is so much more drama in relationships. No one write's "Love Letters" any more. No one writes home to Mom any more. No one writes period, they type. I'm sorry, but I haven't met a computer, gadget or phone that I felt truly loved me.

Oh, well, that's my soap box rant...what's yours.

WorkAtHomeMums (author) from Australia on April 23, 2012:

Lovely thoughts. You know you are spot on about it being just like a little present. It's a thrill. Let's hope it continues. Thanks again.

Graham on April 23, 2012:

This was a wonderful hub! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I love mailing 'letters' and I love receiving letters'. To me, it's like getting a small gift in the mail. My mother taught me to write letters and throughout my life I have had friends who have moved to other parts of the country so letter writing was perfect for us, especially during college. Sure, they take time, but I've never know anyone that didn't like opening the mailbox and getting a card/letter.

WorkAtHomeMums (author) from Australia on April 22, 2012:

Wonderful. I'll read your hub. Look forward to it. Thankyou

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on April 22, 2012:

It's called: Teaching Children the art of writing thank you notes. I just added your letter writing link to the hub. Thanks.

WorkAtHomeMums (author) from Australia on April 21, 2012:

Thank you so much. I will take a look at your hub too. :)

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on April 21, 2012:

I love the hub because I am an advocate for letter writing. I wrote a hub about teaching children to write thank you notes which I will add your hub to as a link.

I just sat down this morning (saturday) and wrote four quick notecards to four friends. I love receiving mail and really miss that. Rated it up and congrats on your win-well deserved.

WorkAtHomeMums (author) from Australia on April 19, 2012:

@lilMissScrittore couldn't agree with you more. thank you for sharing and for your votes.

WorkAtHomeMums (author) from Australia on April 19, 2012:

@pinktaxi too true!

DoItForHer on April 19, 2012:

10Q 4 the hub. just kir! ttfn

(You knew someone was going to do this. ?_? )

pinktaxi from Tualatin, Oregon, USA on April 19, 2012:

I love the "new" electronic way of writing. I do not use spell checkers because I just do not have a need for them, and, besides, they are not always correct. I learned how to spell before there were computers. Thank you to all the great teachers I had as a kid.

I have found, even in this new age of electronic formats, if you really want to get someone's attention there is nothing better than putting pen-to-paper and mailing a letter to them. Almost everyone will reply in some form of response.

Using pen-to-paper, now a days, is above and beyond the today's standard forms. It adds that extra special something you will never achieve using electronic mail and/or phone.

lilMissScrittore on April 19, 2012:

WorkAtHomeMums, I loved this hub! My parents were always making me write hand-written letters as I grew up. I wrote them after getting gifts, I wrote them while my grandparents vacationed in Florida all winter, I wrote them after I got a job interview, I wrote them when I was trying to make a convincing argument. I wrote them all the time. The only time they didn't like it when I wrote them was when I was expressing my distaste for something they had said or done that hurt my feelings, haha. You reap what you sew, yeah? The other reason I love this though, apart from my own relationship with hand-written notes, is that it provides a practical argument about why this art form is hugely important and should not be forgotten. Voted up, awesome, and interesting!

WorkAtHomeMums (author) from Australia on April 19, 2012:

Lovely thoughts. Totally agree. Thanks for sharing.

Marites Mabugat-Simbajon from Toronto, Ontario on April 19, 2012:

Yes I do still write letters and encourage my kids to do the same. Nothing is more authentic of the excitement of receiving a hand-written letter in the mail, opening it with full excitement, feeling the letter between your fingers,and having it close to you right before your eyes.

Thank you for sharing. I'm linking your hub to one of my hubs. Voted and will share. Cheers!

WorkAtHomeMums (author) from Australia on April 18, 2012:

Interesting story and definitely a sign of the times. thanks for sharing

WorkAtHomeMums (author) from Australia on April 18, 2012:

Thank you ~ I'd love your support in voting for this in the current hubnuggets nominations if you would like to

Tom Ware from Sydney, Australia on April 17, 2012:

When I first started to write - as a tiro writer - I did so with a fountain pen. That little bit of drag or resistance to a nibbed pen really adds to the character of one's handwriting. But this was lost when pen and ink was superseded by the ball point.

However, as a man who was obliged to learn to touch type in the military (without looking or a whack across the nuckles) I was a touch typist at age 18. Yet, even then, I continued with the pen. Until I bought my own Ollivetti Portable. From then on it was typing. First the manual, then the electric and, finally, the electronic keyboard.

To sit and write this with a pen would have taken me maybe twenty minutes. With a keyboard such as this, a quarter of the time. Hence, the handwriting is now restricted to a few words on birthday and Christmas cards, and perhaps a signature when required.

CheyenneIsaacs from Arizona on April 17, 2012:

This is brilliant! I'm glad there are other people interested in the proper use of grammar, spelling and writing format. Well done indeed. :D

WorkAtHomeMums (author) from Australia on April 17, 2012:

Haven't we all :)

leros003 from Orlando, FL on April 17, 2012:

Very informative! I have fallen a trap to looking at encyclopedias online :)

WorkAtHomeMums (author) from Australia on April 16, 2012:

What lovely memories those letters could be. I bet the handwriting is gorgeous too. Thank for sharing that. Fingers crossed I win the HubNugget votes too :)

FirstStepsFitness on April 16, 2012:

Very informative hub , children these days might be hard pressed to find a dictionary or encyclopedia set off line . I still have many letters written by my Great and Grand Mothers of generations past . Letter writing and written communication is very important .

WorkAtHomeMums (author) from Australia on April 16, 2012:

Thank you so much. This hub was inspired by a friend who set up the letter writing challenge for her boys to encourage them to write (amongst other things). You may want to look up her site. I have it linked within the hub but also it is

You may enjoy reading their experiences. And you may relate to them a little.

Anyway thanks again for your vote and support.

Elsie Nelson from Pacific Northwest, USA on April 16, 2012:

Congrats on your hubnugget nomination. This is indeed worthy of recognition. I still love getting letters in the mail. I'm much more likely to read each and every handwritten word than I am when I get an email. I have my kids write letters to their grandparents... I want them to know how to properly write a letter/thank you letter. I knew how to do that at a very early age. I want them to know how at least. Anyway, I voted for your hub... good luck!

WorkAtHomeMums (author) from Australia on April 15, 2012:

Thank you so much for your support.

Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on April 15, 2012:

Yes this hub has been nominated on the Hubnuggets! To all who would like to support this hub click this link and vote away

I miss writing letters the old fashioned way. Sending snail mail seem to take forever. However, when I write letters I try to remember to be polite and to have proper greetings. Wonderful hub!

WorkAtHomeMums (author) from Australia on April 14, 2012:

Thank you pamela99. Feel free to vote for this article in the hubnugget awards. It is currently up for nomination in the book literature and writing topic. :)

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 14, 2012:

This is an excellent hub as I think it is so important for children to learn to communicate by writing properly. I think it should be an important part of their education. Voted up and useful.

WorkAtHomeMums (author) from Australia on April 14, 2012:

Thanks heaps. So do I. Trust me when you write one and mail it, it will put a smile on your face.

Ciel Clark from USA on April 14, 2012:

Great hub and great ideas. I miss hand-written letters! Voted!

WorkAtHomeMums (author) from Australia on April 13, 2012:

Thank you so much. Appreciate your support.

ShepherdLover from Portland, OR on April 13, 2012:

Great hub, full of great advice...and congrats on your HubNugget nomination, you have my vote!

WorkAtHomeMums (author) from Australia on April 13, 2012:

thank you farmloft - I am very excited :)

farmloft from Michigan on April 13, 2012:

Good writing, voted up. Congrats on your HubNugget nomination.

WorkAtHomeMums (author) from Australia on April 13, 2012:

Thank you so much vespawoolf :)

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on April 13, 2012:

It's sad that letter writing is becoming a lost art...this hub has a wealth of information that can benefit us all. Congratulations on your HubNugget nomination. You have my vote!

WorkAtHomeMums (author) from Australia on April 01, 2012:

Thank you. It makes you think doesn't it.

P. Thorpe Christiansen from Pacific Northwest, USA on March 26, 2012:

A wonderful hub and it addresses so many problems of today's communication. Well done and very well written.

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