Letters sent to friends and relatives are called personal letters. Personal letters are usually written in an informal language. The tone and style of a personal letter should be familiar and intimate depending upon the level of intimacy you have with the person you are writing to.
Formal and elaborate sentences won’t look natural on a personal letter. Instead, write short and loosely connected sentences. You may also use conversational idioms and colloquial expressions. Contracted forms like won’t, can’t, I’ll etc. are also very common in personal letters.
A personal letter should express the personality of the person who wrote it. It should be a like friendly talk and the reader should be able to hear your voice as he/she goes through the letter.
What to write?
Your letter should be interesting to your reader. Don’t devote the whole space to yourself. Write about people your reader is interested in. You may also want to write about the things that are of common interest to you and your reader. The purpose of writing a personal letter is to make the reader feel happy so show genuine interest in him/her. If you have a particular purpose in writing the letter – say, to convey a message – state it clearly so that it would not be obscured by the other details in the letter.
In personal letters the salutation could begin with Dear or My Dear. Note that My Dear expresses more intimacy and affection than Dear. The subscription could be Sincerely yours, Yours, or Yours affectionately. Many people also write ‘love’, ‘see you’ or ‘cheers’. Note that ‘love’ is not usually used in letters written by a man to another man.
Sample of Personal Letter
Jakarta , sector 17
October 10, 2009
Many thanks for your letter which arrived this morning. We are thinking of visiting you one of these days. By the by, how is Tom? You said nothing about him. Isn’t he studying well?
Convey my regards to everybody at home.
See you soon, I hope.
How to Write an Acceptance Letter
You may have verbally accepted a job offer or an invitation. But writing an acceptance letter is still a smart way of formally accepting an offer and expressing your appreciation.
When should I write an acceptance letter?
Acceptance letters are written in the following situations:
To accept a formal or informal invitation to a social or private event
To accept a job offer
To accept a resignation
To accept or decline a gift
To accept an assignment or something similar
To accept an honor or award
How to write an acceptance letter:
You are accepting a job, a promotion or a gift. So be gracious. The acceptance letter should convey your gratitude. Thank the person or the organization in the beginning of the letter itself. State how happy or grateful you are about accepting the offer. You may also want to thank those people who have helped you.
If you are accepting a job offer or some other assignment, formally restate the terms as you understand them. For example, you can write about your joining date, your expectations regarding the job and the rate of compensation. By restating these terms you are giving the other person a chance to review them and this will help prevent several misunderstandings from arising in future.
In your letter be enthusiastic about the job or assignment if you are accepting one. While accepting a resignation, try to keep the tone of the letter positive. Don’t make remarks that would prompt the other person to take legal action against you. Also don’t rule out the possibility of working with him or her again.
If you are accepting an invitation to an event thank the person for the invitation. You may also want to clarify details about the event – date or time, location and dress code.
At the end of the letter restate your appreciation for being offered the job, gift etc.
What if you must decline to accept an offer?
You will not be able to accept every job or invitation. Sometimes you may want to decline an offer. In your letter thank the person for the invitation or offer. State clearly that you are not able to accept the offer. You may also want to express why you are unable to accept the offer. Close the letter by restating your appreciation for the person’s consideration.
Once you have finished writing, read the letter and carefully check for errors. Make sure that your acceptance letter is well-worded and free of grammatical or spelling errors.
Personal Letter Writing Tips
Letters to friends and close relations should be written in an easy, conversational style. A personal letter should have the same tone as a friendly chat. And as a general rule they should be unpremeditated and spontaneous compositions.
In a personal letter we can touch on many subjects just like we do during casual conversations. We may also discuss these subjects in any order we like. Note that the use of colloquial expressions which would be totally out of place in a formal letter is also permissible in personal letters. But this does not mean that personal letters should be written in a careless and slovenly manner. In fact, it must be remembered that however friendly your tone may be, we are all bound by the rules of spelling, grammar and punctuation. Note that grammatical and spelling errors will instantly get you stamped as uneducated.
Forms of address
In friendly letters to friends and relatives, the proper form of address is the name (without title) of the person to whom you are writing. You may prefix the name by such qualifying terms as Dear, My Dear, Dearest etc.
My dear Mummy
The forms of subscription are varied. In letters to close friends and relatives you may write: ‘Yours affectionately’, ‘Your affectionate son/daughter/sister/brother’, ‘Your loving son/friend’ etc. In informal letters written to your superiors or teachers, you may use subscriptions such as ‘Sincerely’ or ‘Truly’.
Before the subscription some people use expressions such as ‘regards’, ‘kind regards’ or ‘with best wishes’.
Not that ‘sincerely’ should not be used in letters which begin with the formal Dear Sir, after which the proper form of subscription is ‘faithfully’ or ‘truly’.
Every educated person should know how to write a good letter. All of us have to write letters of some sorts at some point of time.
There are several different kinds of letters. For examples, there are personal letters and business letters. The form of each letter is determined by its kind. For example, personal letters are written in a friendly tone. Business letters, on the other hand, are written in a formal style.
Parts of a letter
There are six important parts to all letters. They are:
3. Body of the letter
4. Subscription or leave taking
6. Superscription on the envelope
The heading usually consists of two elements – the writer’s address and the date. The purpose of the heading is to inform the reader where the letter was written and when.
The heading should give the full postal address of the writer to which the reader may reply. The heading is usually given in the top right-hand corner of the first page. The date is given below the heading. Don’t put your name with the address. The address and the date may alternatively go on the left.
The date may be written in any of the following formats:
18 October 2003
18th October 2003
October 18, 2003
The date may also be written entirely in figures.
All-figure dates are interpreted differently in British and American English. For example, 12.10.2003 means 12th October 2003 to British people. To an American it means 10th December 2003. Americans put the month before the day.
Salutation or greeting
The form of greeting depends upon the relationship between the writer and the reader of the letter.
In letters written to family members and close friends, the greeting could be –
Dear Father, My Dear Mother, Dear Uncle, Dear John etc.
In business letters the greeting should be Dear Sir/Dear Madam/Dear Sirs etc.
Note that here the use of the term dear does not imply any special affection. It is a merely a polite expression.
Put the salutation at the left-hand corner of the page. It should be put at a lower level than the heading.