Writing an informal letter is easier than writing a formal letter because there are fewer rules to follow. Just address your letter to the person you’re writing, fill out the body with what you want to say, then sign your name at the bottom to let your recipient know who it’s from.
What is an Informal Letter?
An Informal letter, also referred to as a friendly letter, is a letter written to those with whom you share a personal or close relationship such as family, friends, relatives, etc. Since informal letters are written to close acquaintances, informal letters have fewer formatting rules and do not have any specific conventions or patterns. They can be written with casual and friendly languages and often contain emotional words.
Parts of an Informal Letter
Informal letters generally contain the following:
The first thing to write is your address, i.e. the address of the writer. Write the address on the top right-hand side of the page. The address should be accurate and complete. Even when writing to close friends or relatives the address must be written, so they can reply back to the letter with ease.
The address contains your house number, street name, city and state. If the recipient of the letter is in another country, do not forget to write your country as well in the address.
Next, just below the address, write the date. This allows the reader to have a reference as to when the address was written. He can then relate better to the contents of the letter.
You can either spell out the full date (“Wednesday, February 12th, 2018”) or use the abbreviated numeral form (“2/12/18”) to keep things simple.
The most common salutation in an informal letter is “Dear….”. Note that it is followed by a comma. Since you know the person you are writing to, the greeting can be informal as well.
If it is a friend or someone close to your age you can greet them by their first name, like “Dear Alex”. If you are writing to your relative like your mother/father/aunt/uncle etc, you may greet them as such, for example, “Dear Mom”. And if you are writing to an elder person, someone you respect greatly you can address them as Mr or Mrs. For example, if you were writing a congratulatory letter to your teacher, it can be addressed as “Dear Mrs. Alex”.
Greeting comes directly under the date, aligned to the left. Unlike formal letters, informal letters do not contain subjects.
The body contains the actual content of the letter and should be written in a personal, friendly but polite tone.
- Introductory paragraph
- Main body/paragraph(s)
- Closing paragraph
The introductory paragraph sets the tone for the whole letter. It generally expresses a greeting, followed by wishes of good health. You might begin by asking the recipient about their well being. Or you may say that you hope the letter finds them in good health and great spirits. Remember you are writing to someone you know very well, so try to be as friendly as possible.
However, always use your discretion. Try not to go overboard. Some people become bold and daring in letters and write things that they would otherwise not say to the person face to face. Obviously if you are writing to an adult that you respect, like your dad, try not to write things like:
“What’s up dude!”or “What’s going down?”
Try to picture the person you are writing to standing in front of you. Imagine the things that you would say to him/her and write them down. This will help you not to go overboard.
The main body/paragraph(s) is where you elaborate upon the reason for your writing. Unlike formal letters, there are no restrictions in length or number of paragraphs in the main body. You can say whatever you want to say. The main body of your letter can be as long as you want it to be, so don’t feel like you have to keep it within the confines of a single page. Pour your heart out!
The length of your letter depends upon your content and thought. One point I can mention is it should not be too much for your reader as to bore him/her for further reading. Use your style and method of convincing.
Try to be as conversational as possible. You are also allowed to use contractions and colloquial language.
In the closing paragraph, sum up the reason for writing the letter, i.e. summarize the letter. Say a meaningful and affectionate goodbye to the reader. And do not forget to invite the reader to write back or reply to your letter. It shows an intention to keep the conversation going.
There is no one way to sign off informal letters. Since they do not follow a strict format, you may sign off as you please. Some commonly used phrases are:
- Lots of Love
- Best Wishes,
- Kind Regards,
Pick the one that best suits the occasion and then simply sign your name below the greeting. Signatures are usually aligned to the left of the letter.
Sample Informal Letter
Below is a sample informal letter inviting a friend to spend the summer vacation at your place.
15, Fleming Avenue,
March 17, 2020
It’s been a while since I’ve heard from you. Where have you been? I hope this letter finds you in the best of your health.
As summer is approaching, I was thinking if we could spend the summer break together at my place in Lagos. I will introduce you to all my friends and close relatives. I will give you a city tour as well. We will spend some quality time in the afternoons at the beach. To add cherry on the cake, the weather here is very pleasant during those days due to ocean winds.
I am excited even at the thought of you and I spending the summer together after so long. I have to tell you a lot of things and expect the same from you. Give my regards to aunty and uncle!
Hope to see you soon.
Kunle Ahmed Eze
You might want to see more sample templates.