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In a cover letter (for a job application), is it correct to start the letter with "By this letter,…" (and then introduce the purpose of the letter)? this sounds a little strange to me, but there are some example of it on the internet. So, I would love to know whether this is correct, and if not, if there is a similar but more correct way of referring to the letter (as a form of gentle introduction) while introducing its purpose.

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"how you introduce the purpose of the letter" is based on what kind of letter you are writing....is it business letter ? proposal ? compliment? memo ? –  ba1a Nov 4 '11 at 17:16
    
@BalamuruganK: Good question; I was thinking of a cover letter for a job application. I updated the question. –  EOL Nov 4 '11 at 22:30
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up vote 4 down vote accepted

The usual way to convey this meaning is to write "I am writing to ... (inform you/tell you) that...". I've never seen the expression you cite, not in English. I know it is accepted in other languages, maybe non-native English speakers translate it from their mother tongue in English.

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By this letter or with this letter does not add to the message you are conveying. It can simply be omitted or preserved to emphasise the fact that the letter being received serves the intended purpose.

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Here's an example which I think qualifies as "real life". It's a bit stilted and dated, but I myself have several times included the words "Please accept this letter as [formal notification of something or other]". Sometimes it's no bad thing to remind the reader that your letter is more than just marks on paper to be eyeballed and then ignored. –  FumbleFingers Nov 4 '11 at 17:28
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"I would like to..." is also poor writing. If you would like to tell something, then tell it! For example, "I would like to tell you about the Grand Canyon. It is the deepest canyon...." This can be changed to "The Grand Canyon is the deepest canyon...." In a letter, rather than stating, for example, "I would like to inform you that your account is past due," you can write "Your account is past due." –  David Bowman Nov 4 '11 at 18:24
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