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Chapter 10. Solving Problems Through Let... > Format of a Letter and a Memo

Format of a Letter and a Memo

This chapter briefly reviews standard letter and memo format, but it is more important to understand the problem-solving function of memos and letters. There are two reasons for not dwelling on format. First, once at work in the professional world, writers will either turn the formatting job over to a secretary or look up company recommendations on letter formatting. Often companies set their own conventions for correspondence to achieve some uniformity and a company look. They almost always set memo formats, ordering stationary with that format imprinted on it. Second, the best-formatted letter in the world cannot overcome the structural and rhetorical gaffes that come from inadequate problem solving.

No one is going to ignore a well-written letter if the date appears on the left side instead of on the right. The truth is that many professionals often don't notice such offenses, whereas English teachers are notorious for noticing them. The workaday professional is most interested in the technical and rhetorical sophistication of the documentation: How well does it solve its technical problem? How well does it communicate its purpose to its audience, within a certain context and the writer's ethical constraints?


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