Crafting an Informal Letter in English: Tips and Examples


Writing an informal letter in English is a straightforward process. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Start by writing your address at the top left-hand side of the page.
  2. Write the date below your address.
  3. Include the recipient’s address below the date, on the left-hand side of the page.
  4. Begin your letter with a salutation or greeting, such as “Dear [Name]” or “Hello [Name]”.
  5. State your reason for writing in the first paragraph and expand on it in subsequent paragraphs if necessary.
  6. Ask about how the person you’re writing to is doing and make some comments about yourself or other topics that may be relevant to them.
  7. End with a closing remark such as “Warm regards” or “Take care” followed by your signature and name underneath it.

Key Points:

  • Start with your address at the top left-hand side of the page
  • Include date, recipient’s address, salutation/greeting
  • State the reason for writing in the first paragraph
  • Ask about the person you’re writing to and make comments about yourself
  • End with closing remark followed by signature and name

Introduction

Writing informal letters in English can be difficult for many learners as it is a very different style of writing when compared to formal letters. It is important to understand the conventions of informal letter writing, from the greeting to the closing.

In this article, we’ll look at the format, language, and basic dos and don’ts of informal letter writing, as well as provide some examples to get you started.

Definition of Informal Letters

Informal letters – also called friendly letters – are traditional personal correspondence. These sayings or writings are often used to express one’s feelings or thoughts in a friendly manner. Whereas formal letter writing uses more precise and specific language, informal letter writing has the advantage of being able to use more colorful, colloquial, and personalized language.

Informal letters are typically used for more casual communication such as when you want to thank someone for a gift. Examples of such topics might include expressing gratitude, asking for advice, apologizing, offering remorse, and sending congratulations. In all informal letters, the tone should remain sincere and courteous even though the language may be more relaxed.

The style of addressing in an informal letter is direct yet warm and can vary from person to person depending on their relationship with the recipient. For example, if it is someone you know well you may begin with “Dearest X” whereas with someone you have never met before the opening may just be “Dear X”. Another feature characteristic of informal letter writing is the use of contractions (e.g I’m, don’t) as well as slang or colloquialisms particular to that region or culture (if applicable).

The content of an informal letter will vary depending on its purpose but all should adhere to formal grammar rules such as correct punctuation and sentence structure unless purposefully broken (done after careful consideration) for style or effect. Common structures include:

  • using paragraphs if necessary
  • keeping all information relevant to its main purpose
  • ensuring that line breaks are logical transitions between subtopics discussed in a single paragraph thereby adding flow and readability to the overall text.

Purpose of Writing Informal Letters

Informal letters are written primarily for socializing, exchanging news, and information. They often have a personal, semi-formal tone and may include jokes and funny stories. Informal letters can be used for both personal and professional reasons, such as sending thank-you notes to a business associate or keeping in touch with friends and family members.

Informal letters should be conversational in tone. When writing an informal letter, it’s important to keep the purpose of the letter in mind. This can help ensure that your message is conveyed effectively while also keeping it friendly and engaging.

The structure of an informal letter should be relatively straightforward, with a greeting followed by the body of the text then finishing off with closure and signature. Additionally, the content should contain appropriate details relevant to why you’re writing the letter. If it’s for professional reasons, make sure to stick to facts rather than opinionated statements; if it’s for personal reasons, feel free to add engaging anecdotes or stories which will give your message more personality and character.

Formatting

The format of an informal letter is fairly simple: there is no particular formatting, you just need to make sure that your letter looks neat and is easy to read.

  • The sender’s address should be written at the top right corner and the recipient’s address should be written underneath it.
  • In the main body of the letter, make sure to use a conversational tone and write full sentences.
  • Additionally, you should use a friendly opener and end your letter with a friendly closing.

Salutation

The salutation is the greeting you include at the beginning of a letter or email message. When writing to someone you know, the salutation is typically informal in order to maintain a friendly tone. To address someone formally, use their title along with their last name; for example, Dear Mr. Jones or Dear Mrs. Smith. You may also opt to use an abbreviated form such as Dear Mr./Mrs. + surname or simply Dear + name if it’s someone you’re close with.

If you do not know the recipient’s name, use a general salutation such as Dear Sir/Madam or Dear Sir or Madam (addressing two people). For your closing remarks, finish with “Sincerely” followed by your signature and full name:

Sincerely,

Body

The body of an informal letter makes up the majority of the letter and usually contains the main points you want to communicate. The structure for writing an informal letter is flexible, and what it contains will depend on who you are writing to and what you are writing about. However, there are a few general pieces of information that should be included in most informal letters.

  • Start with an opening line that greets the recipient in a friendly manner. An example might be: “Dear Jane,” or “Hello Jane!”
  • Follow this with some background information on why you are writing. This could be to ask for advice from someone who knows more than you do or to discuss a common interest or shared experience with them. This should come after any introductory greetings or small talk; this could include phrases like, “How have you been?”
  • Explain your purpose clearly at the start of the body section – this could be inquiring about something specific related to their work, or asking for help or advice on something they can do for you. Keep your questions clear and precise so they will know exactly how they can help you. Provide additional relevant details that may be useful in understanding where/why/when support may best be given by them.
  • Follow up your main points by expressing gratitude if they take action – thank them for their time even if they ultimately decide not to help; express pleasure at being able to stay in touch afterward; tell them if/how often contact is desired; say when/if further follow-up is necessary etc., this may encourage further conversing between the two parties involved so nobody feels overwhelmed by the requests made from either side.
  • Conclusion such letters informally depending upon cultural background – wishing good fortune, and laughing heartily might all make sense depending on context – use your discretion when closing conversations!

Closing

Closing your letter correctly is something you should take time to do right. The closing should be accurate and polite, as it gives you the opportunity to say goodbye in the most important part of your letter. It’s also a way of saying thank you if the recipient has done something to help or been especially kind or generous. There are quite a few possible endings to use depending on the formality of the tone, as well as whether or not you’re writing in US or British English.

Common informal closings in US English:

  • All best,
  • Best wishes,
  • Cheers,
  • Take care,
  • Thanks again,
  • Warmly.

Common informal closings in British English:

  • Best wishes,
  • Cheers for now!
  • Goodbye for now!
  • Lots of love,
  • Speak soon!
  • Take care.,
  • With love.

Content

Writing an informal letter can be daunting if you’re used to writing formal letters. It’s important to follow certain conventions when writing an informal letter. You should include a greeting and an appropriate closing while making sure to tailor the content to the recipient.

In this section, we’ll discuss dos and don’ts of writing an informal letter and provide examples to help you get started.

Use Appropriate Language

When writing informal letters, it’s important to use appropriate language that is friendly and respectful. Avoid using overly formal language as this can make the recipient feel uncomfortable. Instead, use conversational phrases that create a sense of connection and closeness.

Here are some language tips to keep in mind when crafting an informal letter:

  • Stay away from professional phrases like “Dear Madame” or “Sincerely Yours.” Instead, use more casual phrases such as “Hi there!” or just “Hello!”
  • Forget formal salutations such as “Most Respectfully” or “Your Humble Servant;” try using something more natural like “Take Care” or “Best Wishes.”
  • Use writing techniques like unnecessary exaggeration and slang to add fun and humor to the letter – these techniques show the recipient that you value them and see them as an equal.
  • When ending your letter, avoid phrases that come across as too formal like “Yours Faithfully” instead try “All the best” or “Take care”.
  • Include positive words like congratulating them on accomplishments or telling them how much you missed them to create a sense of warmth and admiration in your message.

Maintain a Conversational Tone

When writing an informal letter, it’s important to maintain a conversational tone. This means the use of contractions, slang, and even humor. Keep in mind that you’re writing to someone you know – your friend, family member, or someone else close to you – so feel free to write in a casual style.

Typically, conversational English includes the use of contractions such as “don’t” instead of “do not”. Feel free to also incorporate some common slang within your text when appropriate and familiarize yourself with popular memes and phrases that can offer a chuckle within your letter-writing occasions. Keeping the tone light and playful can often make for a better read than overly formal diction may provide.

Make sure that any humor you include is carefully chosen, however; try to be sensitive and avoid jokes or references which could be considered offensive by the reader who may have different cultural backgrounds or beliefs than yourself. Additionally, if the topics at hand are serious in nature then avoid sudden shifts into jocularity as this could seem insensitive or off-putting, instead maintaining an upbeat but still sober tone that best expresses care while offering cooperation during delicate discussions.

Include Personal Details

When you write an informal letter, it is important to include personal details that make the recipient feel connected and valued. Depending on your relationship with the recipient and the purpose for writing, you can include as much or as little personal detail as appropriate.

Consider starting your letter by using shared memory or interest. This can be especially effective when writing to friends or family members whom you’ve known for quite some time. This helps you break the ice and will provide an initial connection between you and your recipient. You might share an anecdote or joke to help lighten up the mood in the beginning of your letter.

You should also consider including a few key details about yourself and how life is treating you so far. Talk about recent events in your life that may have impacted your state of mind during this particular period of time (e.g., job change, wedding preparation, upcoming vacation). Avoid oversharing too many details that could get off-topic—just enough to give insight into where things stand at the moment! Finally, if appropriate, be sure to express gratitude towards specific actions that the recipient has done for you recently (e.g., visiting during the summer holidays).

Express Your Feelings

If you’re writing to a friend, colleague, or relative, it’s perfectly acceptable to express your feelings in an informal letter. The tone of your letter should be kinder, softer, and more personal than it would be in a formal letter. While you don’t want to be overly familiar with the recipient, you should still attempt to express yourself in a way that connects emotionally with the reader.

You might write something like: “I felt so moved when I heard your news – I’m so happy for you! In my opinion, this is well-deserved and long overdue. Congratulations!” Or: “It was great catching up with you last week. It reminded me of how much I enjoy our friendship and appreciate having someone like you in my life. Thanks for being there for me.

Including open questions or requests for information can also make the reader feel more included and engaged in the conversation and add a personal touch: “What have you been up to lately? How is everyone at home? Is there anything exciting happening that we need to know about? Do you have any advice on [subject]? I could really use some help!”

At the same time, don’t forget that it is still an informal letter; steer away from overly serious topics and keep it light-hearted where possible. If appropriate, adding an anecdote or funny story (especially one featuring both you and the reader) can be enjoyable as well as entertaining!

Examples

Writing an informal letter in English can be an easy task if you understand the basics of the language. You should familiarize yourself with the type of language used for informal letters and the format you should follow. In this article, we will provide some examples of informal letters and the phrases you can use to write one. Let’s have a look.

Informal Letter to a Friend

Writing a letter to a good friend is one of the most special conversations you can have. A letter to a good friend can be used to express appreciation, send news, or just say hello. Whether handwritten or typed, regardless of which form it takes, an informal letter to a friend should be light and friendly. Let’s see what an informal letter looks like and how it is written.

Format: Informal letters follow a format similar to regular business letters but with fewer requirements. The sender information and date are usually aligned right at the top, followed by the recipient’s address – their name, address, etc., all on separate lines – with the body of the letter indented below that. The closing also stays the same even in informal letters and should be followed with your handwritten signature plus your name printed underneath.

Opening: Once again like regular business letters, you should start off by introducing yourself briefly and expressing why you are writing. Since it’s an informal letter being written to a close acquaintance or family member, “Dear [Name]” is always a safe bet for opening salutations, or if it’s more comfortable going for “Hi [Name],” for starters; this immediately sets an amiable tone for your writing.

Body: Here is where personal thoughts about any recent events as well as details about them come into play; however make sure not to forget basic courtesy statements such as inquiring about their well-being –this would include both physical health as well as emotional health–among other polite inquiries or compliments on recent accomplishments may also be incorporated here. We highly recommend including positive affirmations so that they know they are valued by you; make sure to avoid any topics that could cause discomfort if written down such as politics or heated topics between you two because everything in this section should remain lighthearted conversation between close friends/family members!

Closing: Unlike more formal messages there isn’t much need for summarizing what was discussed in this section but rather let affectionate sentiment take over by expressing gratitude and appreciation towards them no matter how small! End off with fan-favorites such as “Take care!”, “Best Wishes”, etc.; talk about upcoming events/plans when saying goodbye most definitely add anticipation for your next correspondence leaving them feeling excited yet contented at the same time!

Informal Letter to a Family Member

Writing an informal letter to a family member is a great way to stay connected and share the news. Informal letters have no set structure, which means you’re free to be creative with the content and format. Whether you’re writing to let your brother know about recent developments in your life or responding to an update from your uncle, follow these steps to craft a thoughtful letter.

Begin the letter with an appropriate salutation: Casual greetings such as “Hi” and “Hello” work best for family members. Before continuing with your main message, express how much you appreciate the recipient. This does not need to take more than a few sentences but will mean a lot to them when they receive it.

Next comes the body of your letter—the part where you write the actual information you wish to convey. Try using sentence starters like:

  • I was so thrilled when I heard…
  • As we haven’t talked in some time, I wanted to tell you.
  • My favorite recent memory is.

Here, talk about any exciting events or achievements that have happened since last writing and include personal anecdotes as well if possible—it will make it feel more intimate. Conclude by expressing affection for your intended recipient, telling them how much they mean to you or how much it would mean for them if they were there for such events in the future! Be sure that all closing remarks are heartfelt and sincere so that your message will reach its intended recipient truly felt.

Informal Letter to a Colleague

Writing an informal letter to a colleague may seem daunting, but it can be an excellent way to show appreciation or to just keep up with the news. Here are some tips on how to write an informal letter that will set a positive tone and create a connection between you and the recipient.

  • Start by addressing your colleague by their name and add a warm greeting. This helps make the letter more personal and encourages the reader to keep reading.
  • Then, explain why you are writing them, such as asking for advice, offering congratulations on accomplishments, or sharing interesting news about yourself.
  • Provide additional details and anecdotes that give your letter context and make it easier for them to get in touch with you if they want more information.
  • Finally, end your informal letter with good wishes or an expression of appreciation for their time. And make sure not to include any topics related to work since that is generally avoided in these types of letters.

By using these simple guidelines, you can craft an informal letter that conveys your message in a friendly but professional manner.

Conclusion

Informal letters come in many different forms and have a variety of uses. They can be used to express gratitude, acknowledgments, well wishes, or messages of condolence. No matter the reasons for writing a letter, if you keep it professional yet friendly you’ll be sure to make a good impression. Remember to pay attention to correct grammar and punctuation as well as follow the guidelines set forth depending on the tone of your letter.

When sending an informal letter, consider using common greetings such as “Hello” or “Dear Friend” followed by closing remarks such as “Take Care” or “Sincerely”. Sign off with your first name only at the end of your content and consider including relevant attachments that may help convey your message. In addition, remember that expressing emotion can make all the difference when writing an informal letter!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is the difference between formal and informal letters?

A1: Formal letters are generally used for professional or business communication, while informal letters are used for personal communication. Formal letters typically use more precise language and follow certain conventions of grammar and punctuation, while informal letters tend to be more conversational and use more colloquial language.

Q2: How do I start an informal letter?

A2: To start an informal letter, you can use a friendly salutation such as “Dear” followed by the recipient’s first name, or a more informal greeting such as “Hi” or “Hello.” You can then proceed to the body of the letter.

Q3: What are some tips for writing an informal letter?

A3: Some tips for writing an informal letter include using a friendly, conversational tone; avoiding overly formal language; keeping the letter brief and to the point; and ending the letter with a friendly closing such as “Sincerely” or “Take care.”

Sources:

Jonathan Holmes

Jonathan Holmes is a writer for HKS Siblab, an education and business blog. He has a MSc in Cyber Security & Digital Forensics from the University of Napier and has been working in the cyber security industry since 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, playing guitar and spending time with his family.

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