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Words of Wisdom

There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it's like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.

— Ernest Hemingway



Howdy, and welcome to "Write Right," the student podcast of the Texas A&M University Writing Center.  I'm your host Megan Dortch, and today's "Quick Tip" is on writing memos.


Memos, or memorandums, are used for much of the communication within businesses and organizations. They have a wide variety of readers and purposes, and must always be organized, concise, and clear. Your readers can be anyone from supervisors to peers to subordinates. You might be writing to respond to a request, request information or action yourself, thank someone for help, or persuade someone to provide additional support.

Memos are more informal & conversational than business letters, and since readers are probably familiar with your subject, you will not need to provide much background information. Excessively elevated language and technical jargon are also unnecessary. You want to be easily understood with as much brevity as possible.

A memo is divided into 2 main parts: the heading and the body. The heading consists of the date, who the memo is to, who the memo is from, the subject, and who else the memo is being copied to. The body states you exact purpose for writing and needs to be logically organized with supporting details. Finish your argument with a courteous and clear call to action. Tell you reader what results you expect to follow from reading your memo. It may be helpful to include deadlines.

The format of a memo should be in block form, single spaced, with double spaces between paragraphs. Memos should be kept to a single page if possible.

For more info on writing memos and to see examples of sample memos, visit our website at writingcenter.tamu.edu. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time on “Write Right.”



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