Memo vs Letter: Difference and Comparison

Despite being quite similar terms, there is a lot of difference between the memo and letter. People have a lot of misconceptions that they are the same, as both letters and memos perform the same function.

But it is clear and confirmed now that they are different from each other.

Key Takeaways

  1. A memo (short for memorandum) is an informal written communication used within an organization to convey information, updates, or requests to employees or colleagues.
  2. A letter is a more formal written communication, sent to recipients outside or those within the organization when a higher level of formality is required.
  3. The main difference between a memo and a letter is their formality and intended audience, with memos being more informal and used for internal communication and letters being more formal and used for external communication.

Memo vs Letter

Memo is a short message used for business purposes and in office settings to communicate between parties, from one department or one firm to another. Letter is a short or long message that is used to convey information, messages, or explanations between two parties, individuals.

Memo vs Letter
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A memo or memorandum is a message people use in a business office. The memo is valuable for internal business communication. It practically gives answers and information.

It is a long-written message from one department to another department of the firm or company.

A letter is a mode of communication that conveys a written message from one person to another.

It is communication that stores information, and this can be in both forms, formally and informally. A person writes them to give information, convey messages to another person, or report about another person’s situation.


 

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonMemoLetter
MeaningA memo is a business message used for business purposes to communicate between one department or one firm to another.A letter is a communication mode whose purpose is to convey messages or information or explain situations from one to another.
LengthyA memo is a short message that conveys from one person to another.A letter is a short or long message that conveys from one person to another.
Nature of CommunicationA memo is an informal way of communicating with people.It can be done in both a formal and informal way.
InterchangeThe memo is interchanged between colleagues in the organization.The letter is interchanged between the business’s clients, friends, or employees to the organisation’s head management.
RelevantThe memo is to the point as it is a tiny message to communicate.The letter is not that relevant as compared to the memo.
SignatureThe memo does not require a signature at the end of the message.The letter requires a signature at the end of the message.
Writing ContentIt used more technical terms in a message to communicate.It used straightforward terms to communicate.

 

What is Memo?

A memo or memorandum is valuable written communication for a business or office.

Memo used notes, reports, letters, or binders to communicate with colleagues.

It comes in use for internal communication in a firm. The memo is written from one person to all other perspectives, like delivering a message to an audience; it is not one-to-one communication.

A memo can inform the group member about the company event, provide information about the given project to the team, or inform the employee about the company’s action.

Memo’s purpose is to provide information about the event in the company or call for its action.

It follows the format of the transparent header, which indicates who sent the receipt, the titles given by the individual, the date and subject are also present and then the message or information by the individual, the discussion about the topic, and last, the summary.

It follows the writing format of an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. In contrast, all these are present in the memo and provide a clear purpose.

The heading gives the main topic, and then the discussion is done about the topic and lasts the conclusion.

It is the announcement that a person speaks on behalf of the organization.

It may contain an announcement, feedback, or a legal document that reflects the organization’s policies or procedures and may mention the employee’s existing or new policy.

memo
 

What is Letter?

The letter is a written mode of communication that is handwritten or printed on a white sheet. It can be sent through mail or post by letter; it is a one-to-one conversation between the parties.

In today’s time, emails, texts, and other communication methods have become the norm, while letter writing has become old-fashioned. Till now, a formal kind of communication has been done via letters.

At the same time, the critical mode of communication is done through letters, just like a cover letter for a job, a reminder sent from the bank, or an acceptance letter from the college. 

Two main types of letter writing are formal letter writing and informal letter writing. The other letter-writing types are business, official, social, circular, and employment letters.

It occurs in formats and forms, adding notes, letters, and postcards. A letter is commonly written between friends, family, and lovers, known as informal letter writing, and the letter exchange between clients is known as formal letter writing.

letter

Main Differences Between Memo and Letter

  1. Both letters and memos are non-verbal communication modes expressed through writing.
  2. The memo is the informal nature of communication used for internal conversation in business. On the other hand, letters are formal and informal in communication, which helps exchange words with clients or send a message to friends.
  3. A memo written by a person is more in point, as the message is concise, while the letters are longer than the memo.
  4. It is not one-to-one communication, while the letters are one-to-one interpersonal communication as it is private.
  5. No signature is required by writing the memo, while the signature is required by writing a letter.
  6. Memo uses technical terms in writing content, while letter uses simple terms.
Difference Between Memo and Letter

References
  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0893318989002004003
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/20189278

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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23 thoughts on “Memo vs Letter: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The comparison table is very helpful. It provides a concise overview of the distinctions between memos and letters, making it easier to understand.

    1. I agree, Award. Having a clear comparison table makes it easier to remember the key differences between the two forms of communication.

  2. I appreciate the clear distinction between memos and letters. It’s important to understand the differences for effective communication within and outside of organizations.

    1. Avatar of Chelsea Hughes
      Chelsea Hughes

      Absolutely, Nicole90. Memos and letters serve different purposes and should be used accordingly.

  3. Avatar of Knight Freddie
    Knight Freddie

    Understanding the nature of communication in memos and letters is crucial for effective business interactions. This post does an excellent job of highlighting the differences between these modes of communication.

    1. Absolutely, Knight Freddie. The emphasis on the nature of communication in memos and letters is instrumental in clarifying their respective usage in professional environments.

  4. The detailed explanation of what a memo and a letter are is quite enlightening. It’s important for professionals to have a clear understanding of these forms of communication.

    1. Absolutely, Karl Murray. Clarity on memos and letters is crucial for maintaining professionalism in written communication.

  5. This post effectively outlines the differences between a memo and a letter. The key takeaways provided are very clear and valuable for anyone engaged in professional communication.

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Richards James. The emphasis on formality and intended audience makes the distinction between memos and letters very clear.

    2. Avatar of Reynolds Imogen
      Reynolds Imogen

      Absolutely, the differences are well-articulated in this post. It’s important to grasp the nuances of each form of communication for effective business correspondence.

  6. The comparison of signatures in memos and letters brings an interesting perspective to the distinction between the two types of communication. It’s a crucial point to note in formal business interactions.

    1. I completely agree, Wendy Campbell. The difference in requirements for signatures in memos and letters reflects the formality and intended purpose of each type of communication.

  7. The detailed descriptions of a memo and a letter are very comprehensive. This post is a great resource for understanding the intricacies of different forms of written communication.

    1. I agree, Mark98. This post is an excellent guide for those seeking clarity on the distinctions between memos and letters.

    2. Indeed, Mark98. The explanations provided here make it easy to differentiate between the functions of memos and letters in professional settings.

  8. The explanations provided for memos and letters are quite enlightening. This post serves as a valuable resource for understanding the unique functions of these forms of written communication.

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Hunt Harley. The detailed explanations help professionals navigate the nuances of written communication within and outside of organizations.

  9. While the memo and letter are different, they both serve as essential tools for communication. It’s important to understand when to use each type of communication.

    1. You’re right, Oscar20. Knowing when to use a memo or a letter ensures effective communication in various business settings.

  10. The in-depth analysis of memos and letters is both insightful and educational. This post offers a comprehensive understanding of how these different forms of communication are utilized in professional environments.

    1. Absolutely, Rrichardson. The thorough analysis provided here is immensely valuable for professionals seeking clarity on memos and letters.

    2. I agree, Rrichardson. This post serves as an excellent reference for understanding the nuances of memos and letters in business communication.

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