Write an Informal Letter
Filed Under: Letter Writing
Date Created:29 Jul 2016
Last Modified:08 May 2017
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Write an Informal Letter
An informal letter or a personal letter is a letter to a close
friend or an acquaintance. Isn’t it wonderful to receive such a letter
from a friend? Better yet, isn’t it wonderful to actually write one?
If you think letter writing is lame or old fashioned, read this article first: Letter writing
writing still has a sentimentality about it that transcends all other
forms of communication, and this is probably why some people stick to
it even though they could use other means.
The best way of
learning how to write letters, I reckon, is to look at a number of
specimens, analyse what has to be done and perhaps what does not have
to be done, don’t you agree?
Of course there are no hard and
fast rules about how to write an informal letter and common sense
dictates that someone may use whatever works best for him. However,
there is a conventional way of going about it that will make all the
difference if you apply it.
Let’s start off by reviewing a letter I wrote to my sister some four years ago:
Informal Sample Letter #1
- Address and date
Some people may think
the address is not important in an informal letter and prefer to leave
it out. That works well if the person you are writing to knows your
address already or if she has a good memory! However, it is very
unlikely that someone will always remember your address, so it is
always a good idea to include it. Remember, this is the address they
have to write to for the letter to reach you. The recipient’s address
is on the envelope.
The address and date should be in the right
hand corner. If I were writing to a person in another country, I would
have preferred to add the following details:
Hillcrest Secondary School,
P.O Box 60453,
7th February 2004
she already lives in Zambia, it is not necessary to include the country
and the postcode i.e. 10101. However, if you are writing to someone
outside the country, always include your country and post code.
After you have written the address, leave a line and write the date.
The most common salutation in an informal letter is “Dear….”
Note that it is followed by a comma.
However, some go extremely informal and use “Hey!” or “Hi!”
should use your discretion. Obviously if you are writing to your
father, you would not use “Hey!” unless of course you are extremely
Here are a few things you should take note of:
informal letters are usually written by hand, the paragraphs are
usually indented. However, with more people using their computers to do
most of their writing(and I have a bad feeling most people will forget
how to write with their hands), it is becoming a common practice to
write paragraphs without indentations—like the way this one is written.
This, apparently, is the modern way of writing paragraphs.
- use informal language
first paragraph generally expresses a greeting, followed by wishes of
good health. Remember you are writing to someone you know very well, so
try to be as friendly as possible:
How are you my dear sister?
always use your discretion. Try not to go overboard. Some people become
bold and daring in letters and write things that they would otherwise
not say to the person face to face. Obviously if you are writing to an
adult that you respect, like your dad, try not to write things like:
“What’s up dude!” or “What’s going down?”
to picture the person you are writing to standing in front of you.
Imagine the things that you would say to him and write them down. This
will help you not to go overboard.
Also avoid boring sentences like…
“I am writing this letter to….”
…unless you are writing to a stranger. Even so, try to be as amiable as possible:
I have heard so much about you and would be head over heels with joy if you could agree to be my pen pal
to be as conversational as possible. You are allowed to use colloquial
language – i.e. language that is appropriate for speech but not really
My journey back here
was fine, though it was quite a long one. I wanted to travel by CR bus
but guess what; all the wretched buses were full! So I had no choice
but to travel by a small Rosa bus. The journey took seven hours. By the
time we reached, my legs were tried and my bottom was severely sore,
ugh! Next time, I promise, I’m not gonna use one of ‘em tiny buses!
However informal you get, you should not forget to pay attention to…
- punctuation and spelling
have come across a good number of letters that abound with spelling
mistakes and awful punctuation. Such mistakes tend to distract the
reader, so don’t neglect them even though you know your friend will
The quality of your letter also speaks volumes about the kind of person you are so all the more reason to be careful!
If you use contractions, make sure that you put the apostrophe in the right places. For example:
Isn’t and not is’nt
won’t and not wont
mustn’t and not must’nt
The contraction it’s is especially one that you must watch out for. It is the short form of it is or it has. But if you want to use it to indicate possession, you should use its and not it’s. Check out this example:
The dog lost its collar.
also to use capitals for the right things i.e. the names of people,
places, holidays, etc should all start with a capital letter.
Bottom line? Don’t throw away your grammar book!
- Use consistence voice and style
the active voice if you want your letter to sound more conversational
and interesting. Avoid shifts in the voice.
I was going to town yesterday when a dog bite me and I ran all the way to the hospital.
is a sentence with starts in the past tense and then right in the
middle, the tense changes to present and then finally reverts to past.
Even if your friend is very understanding, this is still distracting.
- Ask questions
is always a good idea to ask questions in the body of the letter that
you would like the person to answer in their reply. Questions work as a
good base on which to write a letter, and they give the recipient
motivation to reply:
How are those wonderful brothers of mine?
Did I tell you that I am librarian too, eh?
- Complimentary close
This is where you sign off, i.e. say toodle- oo:
In informal letter writing, the complimentary close is always very friendly:
Lots of love,
Missing you lots,
Remember, a comma always follows the complimentary close.
- Post Script
P.S. to add a short message after the complimentary close. Use it
especially to write down something that you may have forgotten in the
body of the letter.
Ah, I am certain that these tidbits will help you write a great informal letter!
Oh, what was that you are asking? How do I properly write the recipient’s address on the envelope?
No problem, I have that covered. check the example below:
N.B:You may choose to leave out the commas after each line in the address.
Here are some more sample informal letters:
The first is a letter from George to his girlfriend Lisa, whereas the second is her reply:
Informal Sample letter # 2
I would love you to take note of the following in these informal letter sample:
- In the first paragraph, George offers greetings, as well as a comment on his past and previous state of health.
takes care to mention the things of lesser important first. Obviously,
the informal letter is not about Trevor, so he deals with this first. I
like the way he skilfully shifts the attention from Trevor to his girl
friend in the closing sentence of paragraph two:
...What I did tell him was that your radiant smile is lighting up the entrance of the MTN offices.
my own opinion, it is a good idea to mention the by-the-way and less
essential things first, and then concentrate on the important things in
- The content of your letter should be
tailored in such a way that it elicits a response on its own. In short,
it should be substantial enough to prod the reader to respond (It is
weak and totally uncool to beg for a reply).
A teasing statement like:
I am sure that the very idea of marrying a jobless and destitute man repels you enormously!
bound to elicit a response, especially a defensive one. Learn to write
in a manner that will compel the reader to reply. I am sure we are past
the 'Pliz reply' postscript!
- It is true that most
people remember most what they read last, so in your concluding
paragraph, mention something substantial. George uses the last
paragraph to emphasise the closeness of their bond:
Take care dear! Remember, I am here—right here, in your heart.
the extra-friendly complimentary close. The complimentary close often
saves to indicate how close you are to the person you are writing to;
the more affectionate, the closer the friendship.
Here was Lisa's reply:
Informal letter sample # 3
Take note of the following:
does not find it necessary to write out the complete date. In fact,
since George knows her so well, she might choose to leave out the
- Notice the extra affectionate salutation:
- Be wary about using abbreviations.If you are to use them, make sure
that you write them out in full in parenthesis if your reader will not
know what they mean. In our example, Lisa uses the abbreviation TLC and
does not write it in full because she is certain that George knows what
- Note too the very affectionate complementary close:
Lots of love,
I will be putting more sample informal letters in future to help you get better and better, so just stick around!
you are not content with the information I have put here on writing an
informal letter, or if you think there is something I could do better,
please put forward your complaints or suggestions in the comments section below. The beauty of
writinglovers.com is that I am more than willing to tailor
everything to your tastes!
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