Though letters have been taken over by e-mails and other forms of electronic communication, we will all agree that handwritten letters have a charm of their own. Therefore, if you wish to surprise a near and dear one with a letter, the format given below will come to your aid.
An informal letter
An informal letter is usually meant for a relative or close friend, to tell them something about yourself, your thoughts and/or feelings. It is written in a friendly and chatty manner, as you would talk to the person, face-to-face. A casual letter is not as exact and structured as a formal letter is, and there are not many hard and fast rules here.
Know the context
Some people adhere to the format of a formal letter, while for some people, mentioning the name of the recipient and sender’s signature are enough. The context is also an important factor to determine your writing style – if you are writing to your best buddy, your language can be a lot more peppy, than say, if you are writing to your uncle.
The best way to write this kind of a letter is to close your eyes, imagine that the person is standing right in front of you and jot down what you would like to tell him/her. Once you’ve got the rough draft ready, take a paper of your choice – my favorite part of writing! There are thousands upon thousands of pretty papers – little hearts would look terrific for writing to your sweetheart or a quirky geometric pattern for your bestie, maybe a teddy for the kids or recycled paper for your tree-hugger brother. Pick up a pen, and follow the format given below.
Format for an Informal Letter
Address of the sender
Date of writing the letter
Greetings and Name of the recipient; example – My Dear Kathy, or Dearest Mom,
This is the opening of the letter and should start with a ‘How are you?’ or ‘How are things?’. This is also the right place to acknowledge the previous letter/gift or apologize if you have replied late.
Example 1 – Hello. How have you been? It’s been so long since I’ve heard from you. I was chatting with Ruth the other day, and heard from her that you had moved to New York. How’s it going there?
Example 2 – How are you Andrew? I received your letter on Tuesday, but was busy with the soccer-practice as we had a match with the Avon Old Farms yesterday, so couldn’t reply earlier.
This is where you write the message – write about what is happening in your school or home. Write in a relaxed, easy manner, like you speak. Write in several paragraphs, so it is easy for the reader to understand. Also, remember, as you are writing and not typing, the paragraphs have to be indented i.e., start writing after 5 spaces on the left hand side when starting a new paragraph.
Example – Our school has just started with the drama classes and this year we are producing, ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’. It is a fun, hilarious story and I’m hoping to bag the part of Brom Bones. I’m so excited, and working hard. I read the lines at least twice daily, to perfect my diction. But need help with the expressions and would like some help from you. Can you make it on Saturday at my place?
Listen, did I tell you about my new neighbor?….
This part indicates that the letter is going to end and you may also ask the recipient to respond here.
Example – I have to stop writing now. Aunt Alice is coming to pick me up in half an hour. Do write soon and give my best wishes to your parents.
Sign off with a short expression followed by a comma like –
Lots of love,
Signature or name of the sender
Points to Remember
- If you are writing the letter instead of typing, make sure the handwriting is neat and clear.
- Remember to indent the paragraphs.
- Use active voice as it makes the letter sound a lot more interesting.
- You can write in a casual manner, but the language has to be clear and simple.
- Ask questions as it keeps the conversation going and remember to respond to the recipient’s queries.
- Use commas, semicolons and periods wherever necessary.
- A paper has no spell-check, so watch out for those extra ‘a’s and ‘e’s.
Personal Letter Sample
32-A, Charlton Dr,
How are you and the girls? Thanks again for giving me Brian’s number. It was so easy designing the site with Brian, as he was a great help with the technical stuff. It is online now, have a look when you get the time and do tell if any changes are to be made.
As per your suggestion, I booked a stall in ‘The Rocks market’ on Saturday, and got a terrific response. All the stuff was gone by 4, and there were a couple of women who wanted me to design for their boutique! But, I declined their offer, as they want at least 30 dresses in a month. The max I can do is 10, as the kids keep me busy and Shawn has a very hectic schedule. Besides, running after a dead-line is just not my thing.
The weather is driving us crazy – the rain just won’t stop and the kids are stuck at home getting bored. We tried to engage them by playing Monopoly the other day, and was immediately reminded of our childhood and the snow-fights we had. Can you believe that I miss snow?
You know what? The other day I bumped into Greg. The tall guy who used to live in Martha’s neighborhood? He too has moved to Sydney and lives just a few blocks from here. He has made it pretty big, and owns several restaurants, and just bought Aria on Macquarie Street. We went for dinner there on your last day in the city, remember?
I have to go to the market, so will stop writing now. Looking forward to meeting you all during the Christmas break. Give my love to Nat and the kids.
Informal Letter to a Pen Pal
32-A, Charlton Dr,
I am Sally. I study in the fifth grade. In school, I love science and math. I enjoy music. This year, I will be taking part in the debate and elocution competitions being held next month. Students from different schools in the city will be participating. I hope to do my best and make my school proud. Wish me luck.
How are you doing? It feels nice to have you as my pen-friend. I would like to know more about you. What are your favorite subjects in school? What are your hobbies? How do you spend your weekends? Hoping to hear from you soon.
Writing a letter might seem a bit behind the times, but it has its own old-world charm. Besides that, writing a handwritten letter is a very personal and touching gesture; and is sure to bring a lot of joy and warmth to any relationship. Just remember that this format is not as set as that of a formal letter.
Some say, stating the recipient’s and sender’s address is a must; while for some, it becomes too formal and they prefer mentioning only the names. So, consult your parents or better still, the recipient’s letter, if you are very specific about the conventions.