12 Difference Between Memo And Letter With Examples

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What Is a Memorandum (Memo)?

A memorandum or ‘’memo’’ is a written message used for internal communication in a business organization. A memo’s purpose is often to inform, but it occasionally includes an element of persuasion or a call to action. Businesses often use memo to update employees and internal stakeholders about organization’s policies, procedure, projects, events and team activities. Memorandum formatting may vary by office or institution.

A memo has a header that clearly indicates who sent and who the intended recipients are. Date and subject lines are also present, followed by a message that contains a declaration, a discussion and a summary. The declaration in the opening uses a declarative sentence to announce the main topic. The discussion elaborates or lists the major points associated with the topic and the conclusion serves as a summary asking the reader to put the date of the coming meeting on her calendar or to pursue the action recommended in the memo.  

What You Need To Know About Memorandum

  • A memo is used internally within an organization moving upward, downward or horizontally. It is never sent outside.
  • A memo does not require return address, salutation or complimentary clause. It uses: To, From, Date and Subject Heading.
  • Memo can use technical jargon and abbreviations because their meaning is understood by the people within the organization.
  • The information in a memo is concise and straight to the point.
  • A memo is typically informal in nature.
  • Memos are written to inform or direct, a department or number of employees on a certain matter and so it is usually written from one to all perspective, such as mass communication.
  • The memo does not require a signature at the end of the message.
  • A memo is generally short in text.
  • The memo is interchanged between staff members in an organization.
  • A memo usually bears a header of the organization.
  • Memo is sent to the recipient(s) by an organization’s messenger and is generally not in an envelope.
  • Memos do not contain addresses.
  • There are different types of memos such as information request, confirmation, periodic report, suggestion and study results memos.

What Is a Letter?

A letter is a written message conveyed from one person (or group of people) to another through a medium. The term usually excludes written material intended to be read in its original form by large numbers of people. A letter can be formal or informal with less attention to structure, formatting and grammar.

A letter can be handwritten or printed on paper with date appearing under the letterhead on the left-hand side of the page. A blank line separates the date and the address of the recipient, which includes the recipient’s name, title and address. A letter usually provides more detail; support and justification than a memo, since letter writer often has to make a case, seek clarification or provide response (answer a question).

Typically the relationship between the sender and receiver plays a significant role in determining, the overall style in which the letter is drafted. A letter may include requests for information or clarification from a government agency; responses to customer complaints or queries or pitches or proposals to vendors, customers or the media.

What You Need To Know About Letter

  • Letters are used for internal and external communication. It has also large usage beyond the scope of an organization.
  • A letter requires inside address i.e salutation and complimentary clause.
  • Letters avoid the use of technical jargons and terms which are not easy to comprehend.
  • Letters are more detailed and often elaborate more on the important issues to be done or addressed.
  • A letter can be formal or informal in nature.
  • A letters is private as it addresses to a particular party or client, so it is a form of one to one interpersonal communication.
  • The letter requires a signature at the end of the message.
  • A letter can be long or short in text based upon the intention of the message.
  • The letter is interchanged between the client of the business or between the friends or from employees to head management of the organization.
  • A letter may or may not have a header indicating its origin.
  • Letters are normally put in envelopes and posted via mail.
  • Letters such as business letters contain both sender’s and recipient’s address.
  • There are different types of memos such as official/formal letter, informal or personal letter, business later, social letter, report letter, notice letter, circular letter, order letter, complain letter, employment letter etc.

Difference Between Memo And Letter In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON MEMO LETTER
Description A memo is used internally within an organization moving upward, downward or horizontally. It is never sent outside.   Letters are used for internal and external communication. It has also large usage beyond the scope of an organization.  
Features A memo does not require return address, salutation or complimentary clause. It uses: To, From, Date and Subject Heading.   A letter requires inside address i.e salutation and complimentary clause.  
Technical Jargons Memo can use technical jargon and abbreviations because their meaning is understood by the people within the organization.   Letters avoid the use of technical jargon and terms which are not easy to comprehend.  
Clarity The information in a memo is concise and straight to the point.   Letters are more detailed and often elaborate more on the important issues to be done or addressed.  
Nature A memo is typically informal in nature.   A letter can be formal or informal in nature.  
Channel Memos are written to inform or direct, a department or number of employees on a certain matter and so it is usually written from one to all perspective, such as mass communication.   A letters is private as it addresses to a particular party or client, so it is a form of one to one interpersonal communication.  
Signature The memo does not require a signature at the end of the message.   The letter requires a signature at the end of the message.  
Content/Text A memo is generally short in text.   A letter can be long or short in text based upon the intention of the message.  
Scope of Communication The memo is interchanged between staff members in an organization.   The letter is interchanged between the client of the business or between the friends or from employees to head management of the organization.  
Header A memo usually bears a header of the organization.   A letter may or may not have a header indicating its origin.  
Sending Memo is sent to the recipient(s) by an organization’s messenger and is generally not in an envelope.   Letters are normally put in envelopes and posted via mail.  
Addresses Memos do not contain addresses.   Letters such as business letters contain both sender’s and recipient’s address.  

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