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Writing informal letters

Writing informal letters

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Tutor: Esinam

Summary

Writing informal letters

In a nutshell

An informal letter is a letter written to a recipient that you know and have a friendly relationship with. In this summary, you will learn how to write an informal letter.



Getting started

A letter is a written message from one person to another that contains information. They are written in a casual and familiar style that often reflects the spoken language of the writer. Informal letters can be written and sent for a number of reasons.


Example
  • To share some good news.
  • To congratulate somebody on something.
  • To invite someone to an event.


The way you structure your letter will depend on the type of letter you are writing. However there are a few basic principles that are common across all informal letter types. They should have the address of the writer at the top right hand corner of the page with the date just beneath it. This is then followed by the recipient's address on the left hand side of the page.


Example

Joe Bloggs

42 Sunshine Crescent

Happytown

SM1 L3Y

14/09/2022


Sylvia Bloggs

81 Appleberry Close

Morningtown

KT7 4AY


The main body is where you write the content of your letter.


FEATURE

EXAMPLE

EXPLANATION

Greet the recipient

Hi Grandma,               
                                                                                 
Begin with an informal greeting like 'Dear', 'Hi', or 'Hello'. Using the recipients first name keeps the tone informal, and remember to leave a space before you begin the letter.
Ask for the well-being of the reader
I know I haven't written to you in a while, but I hope you and grandad are okay. Mum and I miss you both lots and can't wait to see you next month. How is Smudge? Did he like the treats I sent him?
By asking for the well-being of the reader, you are showing them that you care and are concerned about how they have been.
State the main purpose for writing the letter
I am writing to let you know all about our holiday to Greece. It was absolutely amazing!
By stating the purpose, you are informing the reader why you are writing to them and of what they can expect from the rest of the letter.
First paragraph
The first paragraph could address places the writer visited whilst on holiday and what they learnt about Ancient Greece, Greek culture and history.
Each paragraph should address one idea. 

Second paragraph
The second paragraph could talk ab​out the food the writer ate on the holiday and what they learnt about Greek traditions. 
Once you have finished talking about that idea, move on to the next paragraph.
Third paragraph
The third paragraph could detail the friends the writer made on holiday and their plans to keep in touch with them.
​​Breaking the body of the letter down into paragraphs ensures that you are providing your reader with information in a layout that is clear and easy to understand.
Conclusion and the end of the letter
I hope to hear back from you soon!
Conclude the letter with an appropriate and complimentary closing such as "Best wishes", "Lots of love" or "From".
Closing
Love, Joe
All informal letters are signed off with your name. 



Language

The tone of the letter reflects the attitude of the writer to the recipient and also the relationship between them. Informal letters are mostly written in first person, but can include the occasional use of second person pronouns when referring to the reader. 


Think about who you are writing to and adjust your tone to suit them. Writing to your grandmother would require a completely different tone to writing to your best friend.


Colloquial language 

Informal language and vocabulary is often used in informal letters. Colloquial language is informal words and expressions that are used in everyday speech for casual communication.


Examples

FORMAL LANGUAGE

COLLOQUIALISM

Got to
Gotta
Going to
Gonna
Want to
Wanna


Contractions

Contractions are used in casual speech or writing. They are used to combine words by dropping one or more letters. The use of contractions in informal letters adds to the conversational tone of the writing.


Examples

ORIGINAL WORD

CONTRACTION

Could not
Couldn't
Should have
Should've
Did not
Didn't


Abbreviations

Abbreviations are shortened forms of words and phrases which are often used in informal letters just as the writer would use them in speech.


Examples

ORIGINAL WORD/PHRASE

ABBREVIATION

As soon as possible
ASAP
January 1st
Jan 1


Imperative voice

The imperative voice is a grammatical mood that communicates a demand or request.


Examples
  • "Please come over soon. We miss you very much!"
  • "Don't forget to bring Smudge!"


Tip: When writing informal letters, you can use exclamation marks when communicating something exciting or shocking to the reader. This is because the informal writing style is supposed to convey the information as you would if you were speaking.


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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

Why are contractions important when writing informal letters?

What pronouns do I use when writing informal letters?

What is an informal letter?

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