Letters (and the informal, internal kind of letter we call a memorandum) are the principal day-to-day medium of information exchange. This chapter is not about letter-writing in general, though much of what we say would apply to any letters; it is about letters written to give technical information, the type of letter likely to be written by the scientist or engineer working in an industrial or scientific organization. Other sorts of letters (in particular, sales letters) are not our province.
Every letter carries not only information but also an image of the writer and the organization he or she works for. It is important to be aware of the potency of this image. Consider, for example, the following letter in reply to a customer's query about his account:
Dear Mr Knight,
We are in receipt of your letter received at this Office 14th April 1987 and would advise that according to our records, an exchange of model to colour receiver type 7641 was effected on account 55 78 91 99 from 15th December 1986 and an initial payment of £8.50 was allocated.
However, an annual invoice in respect of previous television was despatched prior to details of exchange of model being completed on the account and a subsequent payment of £72.15 was allocated on 15th December 1986.
It would appear that a further remittance of £179.22 was made 13th January 1987 in respect of annual rental for both television accounts and the sum of £86.02 has been transferred to clear rentals on account 38 00 31 00 until 19th April