The most difficult activity in which we all incur obligations is that of social correspondence. Over the years you will receive numerous letters, notes, and formal invitations which require a written reply. Also, having accepted someone's hospitality for a meal, a visit, or some other kindness, you will be obliged to thank someone in writing. This chapter will concern itself with those forms of correspondence, which have a direct bearing on your social life.

Take a few minutes to think completely through what you wish to say before you start writing. This may save you from making a false start. Keep your letter as neat as possible. It is better to start over than to try and patch up a bad job.

  1. For answering formal invitations, note paper 51/2" by71/2" is used. In answering engraved invitations or other formal invitations, one should avoid using writing paper which, like most business paper, is folded twice before being placed in the envelope.

  2. Standard equipment for answering informal invitations is the informal notepaper with the Corps insignia, or plain notepaper.
  3. When writing a thank you note, sometimes called a "bread-and-butter" note, there are requirements that you should observe in preparing this note. You should express yourself, using your own words. Spell out the month; the 3/14/83 notation is not used socially. The date should appear in the upper right hand corner. There should be margins on both sides of the page; about 12 11/4" on the left and about 3/4" on the right, depending somewhat on the size of the letter paper you are using. The salutation, "Dear Mrs. Wilson," is brought out to the margin. The first line of each paragraph is indented; thereafter, each line is brought out to the left margin. The complimentary close is placed approximately as far to the right as the date is at the top of the page. "Sincerely" or "Sincerely yours" are acceptable complimentary closes. "Yours truly" is never used socially. Sign your given name and last name without using initials. Do not use "cadet" in your signature.
  4. The thank you note is always addressed to the hostess, never to the host or both unless there was no hostess. It is perfectly correct; however, to express your appreciation in this letter for a particular kindness tendered to you by the host. A typical example is "It was so thoughtful of Colonel Wilson to bring me back to Barracks in that downpour. Please thank him for me." The thank you note is an individual thing. If eight of you have enjoyed a meal in your Faculty Adviser's quarters, it is not proper to match-out on who writes the thank you note; you each write your own.

Thank You Notes: 

Cadets are not expected to return all entertainment extended them by their seniors, however, the acknowledgment of those courtesies is mandatory. A "thank you" note will suffice in most cases. There may be times when dinner invitations will be offered for a special reason, e.g., you are away from home and are invited for Sunday or a holiday dinner. At these times, the courteous gesture is to send a "thank you" note to the hostess. The following note illustrates the proper form to be used after being entertained at dinner.

Sample thank you note:

Dear Mrs. Fairben,

Thank you so much for having me at your home for dinner this past Sunday. You know what a good time Bruce and I had, and I hope I didn't make too much extra work for you. (Sometime would you tell my mother how you make apple pie?) It was wonderful of you to invite me, and I enjoyed the dinner very much.

Tell Bruce I'll write him soon.

Sincerely yours,

Cdt Frost