The letters written between different offices and departments of government, autonomous bodies and government or semi-government are called OFFICIAL or GOVERNMENT CORRESPONDENCE. These letters also include letters written between two governments, inter-government, from one state government to another state or central government or vice versa. These letters are written by the concerned authoritative officer or authority in his official capacity and for the use of the office.
It is different from business letters as they are not friendly and should have a direct style of addressing. The official letters demands special care of dignity and designation of the person or officer writing the letter.
Distinction or Difference between Official Correspondence and Business Correspondence
There are differences between business correspondence and official correspondence and they are detailed below:
1. Difference in Language: – The language in official letters is mostly official and authoritarian in the form of directions. In business letters the language is polite, friendly and congenial. In official letters the language is governed by the post held by the writer of letter. In business letters there is nothing like official designation etc.
2. Difference in Lay out or Form:- Unlike business letters, the official letters are not written or typed on printed letter heads and are written on plain paper giving the name of office and designation of the officer writing the letter at its letter head. Even the reference number and date is written differently than business letters. The letter heading in an official letter is mostly followed by the words ‘From’ and the addressee’s name and address is followed by the words ‘To’. The subject in official letter is generally written above the salutation but in a business letter the subject is written after the salutation. The form or lay out of writing salutation depends upon the designation of the writer and addressee.
3. Personal touch or feelings: – An Official letter is written in authoritative tone and abstains from personal touch or feelings but is governed by official directions and the post held. The business letters cannot afford to go this way and are written to evoke a spirit of fraternity and friendship with the addressee.
4. Sale Point: – An official letter is
not written to attract attention, arouse reader’s interest, creating desire,
stimulating action etc. because the official letters does not relate to
business world. Business letters have some element of a sales letter because it
aims to persuades and influence customers for longevity and prosperity of good
Forms or Types of Official Correspondence:
The official correspondence can come
into play or action in any of the following forms:-
1. Official Letters
2. Demi-official letters (also known as D.O. Letters)
3. Office Memorandum (also known as ‘memo’)
8. Press Communiqué
1. Official Letters: – These letters are used generally in the communications in government or semi-government offices. They have different lay-out, style, language etc. The official letters are supposed to be fine blend of correctness, conciseness and clarity in all aspects.
Lay out of an Official Letter:-
The official letters do not have attractively printed letter heads but are written on plain papers. The heading in official letter is written with the prefix ‘From’ or by giving the official designation and name, address of the office of the writer at the top of the letter. From and To are not used now a days.
- Reference number and date:
In official letters, the reference number are generally lengthy and are written at the same place as in a business letter. The date is written in a way that it is followed by the name of the place.
- Name and address of Addressee:
They are usually written with the prefix ‘To’ and immediately after the sender’s name and address.
- Salutation and Subject:
In official letter, the usual way of salutation is ‘Sir’ when it is written to higher official otherwise words ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ may be used for salutation. The subject in an official letter is written before the salutation whereas the subject is written after salutation in business letters. However, the salutation may be omitted.
- Body of Letter:
In official letters, the body of letter is divided into convenient and suitable paragraphs in serial numbers. The opening sentences of the official letters are generally written with words – ‘I am directed to inform you’ or the undersigned is directed to inform you or ‘With reference to your letter No. …….dt…, or ‘In continuation to our letter No……..dt…, I am directed’ etc. The closing sentences are different from business letters as there is no sales point in official letters.
- Subscription or Complimentary close:
The general way of writing subscription
is ‘Yours faithfully’ and is followed by blank space for signature and then the
name of the official is written with designation. However it may be omitted.
Specimen of Official Letter
Government of Pakistan
Office of the
FA &Chief Accounts Officer
The Deputy CAO/Coord,
Pakistan Railways, HQ Office,
The Executive Director (BPR&DS)
State Bank Of Pakistan,
Please refer to this office letter of even No. dated 25.01.2012 on the captioned subject.
(Muhammad Akram Ch)
Copy for information to;
They are personal cum official letters written by officers in their personal official capacity. They are also called D.O Letters and are addressed in personal name with the official designation of the officer concerned and is also addressed to another officer by his name and his official designation. They are generally printed or typed on printed personal letter head containing the name, official designation and name and address of the office. D.O Letters are intended to show personal relationship between the correspondent and sender.
The main objectives of writing D.O Letters are as following:
(a) They are written to get the information or things done at the earliest.
(b) They are written to involve the personal attention of correspondent by ignoring the usual lengthy office procedure.
(c) They are written to keep the information confidential.
Essentials for drafting D.O Letters
The basic essentials of drafting D.O Letters are as following
- Demi-official letters are generally written or typed on printed personal letter heads containing personal name, official designation, name and address of office etc.
- In these letters, reference number and date are written as usual.
- The starting point of a D.O Letter is ‘Dear Mr. ……..’ or ‘My dear Akram ………in the form of salutation.
- They are written in the first person using “I” instead of “We” and official language is used in minimum way.
- The general or usual way of subscription in D.O Letter is written as ‘Yours sincerely’ and thereafter the personal name is typed or written in brackets.
- In these letters, the name and letters of the addressee is written at the end on left hand bottom corner of letter together with his official designation.
Specimen of a Demi-official Letter
Government of Pakistan
Office of the
Controller General of Accounts
D.O.No. ——————————– Dated:
The Controller General of Accounts,
CGA Complex, Sector G-5/2,
My dear Mr————–,
With kind regards,
(Abdul Waheed Khan)
The Member Finance,
Ministry of Railways,
It is also called ‘Memo’ and is used for inter office correspondence in the offices. These letters are written in noma-simplified style and it abstains from salutation as well as complimentary close. The memo is used usually used in offices for routine matters like granting of annual increments, confirmation in services, salary and leave adjustments etc.
There are two forms of Memorandum and they are:
No. Date ………..
(b) INTER-OFFICE MEMO
The difference between memo and letter are:
1. In a memo, it is essential to write official designation, department with or without the name of sender and the recipient. In letter it is not necessary and we can simply write the nomenclature of the person signing the letter.
2. In memo, the words ‘From’ and ‘To’ are written consistently but not in a letter.
3. In memo, there is no salutation or complimentary close but they are essentially written in a letter.
4. Memo is written in direct style and in brief but not in a letter.
Specimen of a Memo
No. Dated ………..
The General Manager Mr. Ram Kumar
KRISHNA BANK Cashier
Rajouri Garden Kirti Nagar Branch
New Delhi – 110027 New Delhi -110015
Mr. Ram Kumar, cashier, joined the Bank on probationary basis on 21.11.99 and he is confirmed in the service of the Bank w.e.f 1.6.2000.
His work output and conduct were not found satisfactory during this period, it has been considered necessary to extend his probation period by another six months so as to provide him an opportunity to show satisfactory results.
It is therefore decided that the probation period of Mr. Ram Kumar, Probationary Cashier, is hereby extended upto 1.12. 2000.
The Branch Manager, Kirti Nagar Branch, New Delhi
The District Manager, Delhi-circle, New Delhi
5. Endorsements: – Whenever the copy of an official letter if forwarded to the other departments, offices or authorities simultaneously with the original addressee, then they are called Endorsements. It is usual practice in offices as whenever any important information has to be forwarded to other offices and departments simultaneously with the original addressee, it is forwarded with a copy or carbon copy of the same letter by writing the following words :-
Copy forwarded for information, record and necessary action to:-
(a) XYZ …
(b) ABC ….
We should write the full name and address of the endorsee together with the official reference number and date while making any endorsement on any letter.
6. Circulars:- In an office, whenever any information or matter is to be communicated to a large number of persons or offices, members or branches of the same organization, then they are done through Circulars. They are in a form of letter addressed TO ALL OFFICES, TO ALL BRANCHES or TO ALL DEPARTMENTS. They are drafted in such a way that the information is understandable, reasonable and useful to all the concerned persons or offices. So circulars are drafted carefully so that it covers up all information and should be correctly written or typed. Circulars should be written in third person and should be printed or cyclostyled, depending upon the nature and coverage of the contents or matter. Circulars are different from ‘Circular Letter’ as the name and address of addressee is not specific but is written in general. In circular letters the name and address of the addressee may not be written specifically. Circulars are generally referred for internal use of one particular organization or department or branch but circular letters refers to persons outside organization.
Specimen of a Circular
No.-R-678/sal/stf/admn. New Delhi, 25th March 25, 2007
Sub: Availability of NOKIA camera phones in all designs
In continuation of our Circular No …… dated …… on the above subject, all the recognized branches will be provided with latest models of NOKIA camera phones of all designs in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai. It is requested that all branch managers should contact the head offices for all the important details and information latest by one week. It is believed that these new mobile sets will boom the company’s and branch’s sales in the coming months.
This information kindly is brought to the notice of all the patrons, customers through the hoardings, posters and leaflets available at company’s head office.
They are the formal announcements intended for the purpose of the information to the general public or to all the concerned persons. In Government offices, notifications are published in Gazette while in other offices they are displayed in the form of notices on notice boards. They are written or typed with the reference number, date, designation and signature of the concerned authority. Notifications are written in third person and are generally written in regard to new appointment of officers, transfers etc or other such information that are useful for the all the concerned or for the general public.
Specimen of a Notification
Government of Pakistan
No————————– Dated ……..
Mr. Ram Kumar, Under secretary of Tourism Ministry is appointed with effect from ….. to officiate as the General Secretary of the Ministry as Mr. Hari Prasad is retiring from his post by next month.
It is a communication containing the decision or verdict of the Government or the Higher Authorities on any subject and is meant for publication for general information of the public. They are neither addressed to any person nor does it contain any address or salutation or subscription. Resolutions contain the decision passed by the government or the concerned higher authorities.
Specimen of a
Government of Pakistan
Ministry of Urban Welfare
Resolution No. 10th July 2007
The Ministry of Urban Welfare, Government of Pakistan has decided of setting up a Welfare Board for Urban Welfare to look into the problems and issues of growing problems in Housing Societies. The Welfare Board will be taking up issues area wise and thereafter it will take suggestions from the concerned citizens for further developments.
Secretary to the Govt. of India
Ordered that the Resolution be published in Gazette for general information
Secretary to the Govt. of India
Press Communiqué or Press Release:
They are important resolutions or announcements
passed by the government and published in newspapers or magazines for general
information of public. Such important resolutions or announcements made through
daily newspapers or print media are termed as ‘Press Communiqué’ or ‘Press
Release’. They are informal communication through the services of Press
Reporters or by release of press note. There are advantages of Press Release as
the information reaches public earlier and faster than the publication in
Government Gazette. The other advantage is it reaches to larger number of
people as newspapers reaches to all. The nature and contents of Press Release
are similar to that of notifications.
Specimen of Press Release or Press Communiqué
Mr. Hari Ram, General Secretary of Ground staff, Indian Airlines has invited tenders for the purchase of plastic furniture’s, marble flooring and office stationeries. The concerned business parties are requested to submit their quotations till …….
Chief Traffic Staff Assistant