Talking About
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Interpreting - Translation

Talking about Letters...

“What a lot we lost when we stopped writing letters. You can't reread a phone call.”

Commonly used expressions containing the word ‘letter’:

Listen to airmail letter - a letter sent by air mail
Listen to begging letter - a letter asking for money, sent to an individual or an organization believed to be rich
Listen to blackmail letter - a letter of threatening to reveal substantially true information about a person to the public, a family member, or associates unless a demand made upon the victim is met
Listen to business letter - a letter dealing with business
Listen to chain letter - a letter which is sent to several people who are each asked to send copies to several others, and which sometimes threatens that bad things will happen if they do not send these copies
Listen to circular letter - an advertisement intended for wide distribution
Listen to complaint letter - letter of complaint
Listen to confirmation letter - letter of acknowledgment, letter of confirmation
Listen to cover letter - a letter sent along with other documents to provide additional information
Listen to dead letter - an unclaimed or undelivered letter that after a period of time is destroyed or returned to the sender by postal service
Listen to express letter - special delivery, mail that is delivered by a special carrier (for an additional charge)
Listen to letter box - a private box for delivery of mail, public box for deposit of mail
Listen to letter carrier - a person, especially a postal worker, who delivers mail
Listen to letterhead - the heading at the top of a sheet of letter paper, usually consisting of a name and an address
Listen to letter paper - paper cut to an appropriate size for writing letters; usually with matching envelopes
Listen to direct mail - advertising circulars or other printed matter sent directly through the mail to prospective customers or contributors, junk mail
Listen to hate mail - mail that expresses the writer's dislike or hatred (usually in offensive language), poison-pen mail
Listen to snail mail - normal postal mail, where an actual physical letter or package is delivered; paper mail, as opposed to electronic
Listen to love letter - a personal letter to a loved one expressing affection
Listen to Dear John letter - a letter written by a woman to her husband or boyfriend to inform him that their relationship is over, usually due to the woman finding another man
Listen to letter bomb - a small bomb that is put in an envelope or parcel and sent to someone by post
Listen to open letter - a letter intended to be read by a lot of people, not just the person it is addressed to
Listen to red-letter day - a special, happy and important day that you will always remember
Listen to silent letter - a letter which is written but not pronounced, such as the 'b' in 'debt'

Now we put new vocabulary into context, so you can see how you might use these terms yourself. The expressions are in boldface in the text.

Listen to You’ve got mail.

Listen to Please send a covering letter with your application form.

Listen to Sending or receiving chain letters increases your exposure to spam.

Listen to In the field of postal delivery a dead letter refers to a letter or parcel sent via the mail that for some reason is undeliverable or unclaimed.

Listen to We agreed the deal online, but we'll have to wait for snail mail to get the paperwork.

Listen to The term "Dear John letter" refers to a letter written by a woman to her husband or boyfriend to inform him that their relationship is over, usually due to the woman finding another man. Nowadays, the roles may also be reversed, with a man notifying his wife or girlfriend. Sometimes this is referred to as a "Dear Jane" letter.

Listen to More than 60% of English words have silent letters.


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