A personal letter is an informal method of communication. Personal letters are mainly exchanged wherever you have a non-professional relationship like between family, friends, peers, etc. As opposed to a formal letter, a personal letter can be used to convey feelings and emotions, depending upon the relationship the sender and the receiver share. Personal letters can be used for invitations, expressing gratitude, apologizing, congratulating, passing condolences, or for any other personal matter. Though the communication is informal and does not require formal language, it should follow a personal letter format.
Nowadays, digital modes of communication like telephone calls, text messages, and emails have replaced letter writing. However, there might be occasions when you feel the need to convey your message via a letter. Alternatively, you might have to write a personal letter as a part of your homework assignment. To write an engaging and meaningful personal letter you need to follow a personal letter format. There are no hard and fast rules while writing a letter using a personal letter format. As a personal letter is not a formal communication, there is no need to use a letterhead. However, if you wish to, you can use personalized stationery for writing a personal letter.
Personal letter format: Tips and Tricks
Start the letter by writing your complete address including the street name or number, the city, country, and zip code. This can be mentioned in the top right corner of the letter. Mentioning your complete address will make it easier for the receiver to respond to you. Giving your complete address is more important when you are sending the letter from an address that is different from your usual home, university, or office address.
The date on which the letter is written
Below the sender’s address, insert the date on which you write the letter. The date can be written in a standard format such as 01 January 2021.
On the left corner of the page write down the complete address of the recipient along with the full name. The recipient’s name and address should be written in the line after the date. The recipient’s address should be mentioned immediately after the name to maintain continuity.
Salutation or greeting
As this is an informal letter, you can use dear as a term of endearment. This is usually followed by the recipient’s first name or how you address them. The decision to address the recipient by their first name or last name should be taken based on your relationship. The greeting usually ends with a comma and can occasionally end with an exclamation point if the greeting is very personal.
Subject line (optional)
The subject line gives an idea to the reader of what is going to be discussed in the main body of the letter. Though writing the subject is mandatory for a business letter, it is not usually part of a personal letter reference samples format.
As a personal letter is a friendly communication, feel free to enquire about the well-being of the recipient. In this section, you have to introduce the reason for sending the letter. The objective is to ensure that the recipient is clear about the reason for contacting them from the beginning.
This is the main text of the personal letter format. The message that has to be conveyed is included in this section. If you wish to pass on multiple information, you can use different paragraphs for each piece of information. There is no word limit for writing the body paragraphs but try to be brief and clear in your writing. Generally, two to three paragraphs are written as per the personal letter format.
The summary of the letter is written in this paragraph. Make sure to politely include a call to action in the conclusion paragraph. This could be a reply to the letter, setting up a meeting, or scheduling a phone call. The response required from the recipient should be made clear. For e.g., if you are sending out an invitation then mention that the receiver has to inform you whether they would be attending the event or not.
After you write the concluding paragraph, leave a blank space and write a complimentary closer such as, “Sincerely” or “Faithfully”. In a good letter format, a complimentary close is a way to send your regards to the recipient. It is also a way of thanking them for their time and attention. The complimentary close should be written in a single line, consisting of a few words. The first word should be capitalized and the valediction should end with a comma.
After the complimentary close, in the next line put your signature and you’re beneath it. Having a handwritten signature is a good practice. The signature should be done in blue or black ink if you are sending a hard copy of the letter. Leave sufficient space between the complimentary close and your name so that your signature does not look cramped. A space of two to three lines should be sufficient for the signature.
Keep the language simple and easy to understand. Proofread and spell-check the paragraphs once you have finished writing the letter. Ensure adequate spacing between different paragraphs and correct indentation of the lines. Once the letter is complete go over it once to check if the letter format has been followed completely or not.
Personal letter writing with TutorBin
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