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157. Write a sentence in which you mention all your studies. (Why should algebra begin with a small letter and English with a capital?)
158. Make a list of five proper adjectives.
159. Write the titles "mayor," "king," "president," and 'governor," in connection with names of persons.
160. Write a letter to a publishing house, asking to have sent you the prices of four books, which you may wish to purchase. (Consult Chap. VIII and follow the directions given there for the arrangement and form of your letter.)
161. (1) In a paragraph give your opinion of a newspaper with which you are familiar.
(2) In a short talk give your opinion of the magazine which you know best.
162. Spelling Match. Be prepared to spell any word in this chapter.
We naturally wish to become skillful in the kind of writing that has a practical value. A matter of such general interest and great importance that every one should be impatient to master it, is letter writing.
It is a form of recreation for some persons, after a hard day's work, to write a letter to a friend. It appeals to them as an investment, for it promises an entertaining reply. Now this corresponding is a recreation in so far as we write without restraint. If a friend is interested in whatever interests us, we let our pen run freely; we give expression to what is uppermost in our minds. If some of the attempts to make our meaning clear are bungling, we know he will try to understand us. At the same time, the finer the friendship the more it prizes courtesy, and we must not expect any one to solve puzzles that are due to our indifference or laziness. From our own point of view, too, we cannot afford, even in the most familiar letters, to lapse into uncouth, slovenly ways, any more than in conversation we can afford to descend to vulgar expressions.
53. Letter Writing as a Form of Training. It is only to the two or three friends with whom we think aloud," that we write with perfect freedom. Most of our correspondence must be limited; and the limitations make it,
as a form of training, most valuable. We generally have a
definite object in writing a particular errand to put on paper. There is one thing which a business man wishes us to tell him; he cannot stop to read anything else. Our writing must have unity and brevity. Our success, therefore, often depends largely on our ability to understand the wishes of the person whom we are addressing.
At another time we have a favor to ask. Again we study our man. He may be easy to antagonize. We must at any rate expect him to be busy; we have no right to waste his time. Hence the need of making him understand us readily and fully- of expressing ourselves so clearly that he may not misunderstand us.
There is an advantage in having to interest only one man. Our problem seems much more specific when we have a definite explanation to make to a definite reader. We can easily see, however, that when we have learned to satisfy one man, we have learned to satisfy many others. Whereas a talk to nobody in particular may interest nobody, a speaker who talks to one man in his audience may give most of his audience the impression that he is talking to each one of them. It was said of the late Dr. Babcock, pastor of the famous old Brick Church in New York, that "there is the feeling during his preaching that Dr. Babcock has you individually by the arm and is talking to you earnestly, quietly, and impressively."
54. The Paper. With the numerous kinds and sizes of paper at our disposal in these days, we have no excuse for not choosing paper suited to our various needs. White unruled paper is always in good taste for all forms of correspondence. Four-page paper looks better for letters. of friendship than the two-page form used in business.
Naturally we should try to adapt the size to the length of communication, with a view to making the letter pleasing in appearance and easy to read. Little thought is necessary to decide whether to use ordinary business paper, some eight inches by ten in size, or note paper, for inviting a friend to lunch.
Business correspondence should be written on one side of the paper only.
55. The Beginning of a Letter. In beginning a letter we should consider (1) the heading, (2) the address, and (3) the salutation. Study the following illustrations:
The Heading. As these illustrations show, the heading includes the writer's address and the date. None of the details given above should ever be omitted unless the
writer is sure they are so well known as to be unnecessary. In illustration III, in the case of the village of Center Lovell, the name of the county is useful.
The heading is usually placed an inch or more from the top of the page and near the right-hand corner. The first line should begin far enough to the left to allow each succeeding line to be indented a little.
Such words as street and avenue and the names of the months may be abbreviated, but the year should always be written in full, as 1906, not '06.
The Address. In business letters the address of the person to whom the correspondence is sent should begin on the line below the date, and near the left edge of the paper. As in the heading, the second line should be indented a little under the first line. Sometimes the address is placed at the close of the letter, but it is more convenient to have it precede the letter. Naturally, many informal letters do not require the address.
The Salutation. Just below the address, when there is one, comes the salutation. If there is no address, the salutation takes its place. A writer should choose a form of salutation in harmony with the relations existing between him and his correspondent. He should make his choice with care. The following salutations are used in formal business letters:
Dear Sir or My dear Sir:
Dear Madam: or My dear Madam (applies to a married or to an unmarried woman):
Dear Sirs or Gentlemen:
NOTE. Too formal for common use, but suitable for persons of note, for example, officials in high position, - are Sir: and Madam: