10 Tips How to write Letters to the Editors

10 Tips How to write Letters to the Editors

10 Tips Series – Letters to the Editors


Tip Explanation Example
1.  Know your audience You might address your letter to “the editor”, but remember that you intend your letter to be read by the wider public.  So make sure you speak through your editor to the public at large. I’m sure your readers would be interested to know the amount of CO2 that is emitted by a Toyota Rav4. 
2.  Get the greeting right It’s not common to address these letters by name (“Dear Mr Chan”) or by the phrase “To whom it may concern”.  Just stick with “Dear Sir” or “To the Editor”.  Then say why you are writing: I am writing to…

Dear Sir

To the Editor

Dear Sir or Madam

I am writing to express my views about…

3.  Refer back Refer back to the article you’ve read or the event that’s caused you to write in.  And make sure you credit the journalist who wrote the article: attack him, not the editor.  Give the title of the article and the date it was published.  I would like to take issue with Tim Hansen’s (your) article “The Drive of Your Life” published in your newspaper last week.
4.  Say who you are Why are you writing the letter?  Presumably because you have a personal connection with the issue at hand.  If you’re an expert, say so.  If you are a resident who will be affected by the new building plan, say so. 

·       I have spent years researching education strategies, and I can tell you …

·       I am writing as a citizen of Lantau Island…


5.  Use topic sentences

Begin each paragraph with a general sentence that introduces your main argument.  We need to lobby the government to put higher taxes on sugar. 
6.  Choose interesting examples Every time you make a point—any point—use examples.  If you can’t think of any, think harder!  And if worst comes to worst, make them up.  A letter without examples is like a car without an engine. It just won’t do the job.  Academic achievement is not always connected to wealth.  A recent study showed that undergraduates at Cambridge University were more likely to get the highest grades if they attended public school, not private school.
7.  Show why the opposite view is wrong You absolutely don’t have to present the opposite view in detail, or analyse it in any way.  But you should mention it.  Then knock it down.  Some critics might argue that zoos don’t treat animals well [opposite argument], but all the evidence suggests the opposite. [my argument]
8.  Keep it formal Remember that this is going to be published in a newspaper.  Use formal verbs where possible I would like to address some of the issues your journalist raised. 
9.  Learn how to agree / disagree Show that you appreciate that other people have opinions about this issue.  In particular, if you are writing in response to an article, say if you agree or disagree with the journalist.

I couldn’t agree with your journalist more…

I have grave reservations about what your journalist’s article implied

10.  Use adverbs You can often make your argument more persuasive by using powerful adverbs It is undoubtedly true that…


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