How to Write a Personal Letter Format? 

The practice of writing personal letters has declined as technology has advanced. Most likely, you only wrote one for your school-related English language exam. Not many people in the contemporary generation write letters regularly. These days, texting is more popular than writing handwritten letters to one another.

Handwritten letters were the primary means of communication before technology became so sophisticated. This was the only way that any news could be distributed. You also had the option of making phone calls. However, not everyone had access to a phone, and making calls cost more than mailing letters. You would write a letter to your grandparents or relatives living in a different city to let them know whether you passed your final exam or started a new job. Additionally, you would send letters to alert individuals of a significant event in your life. Things might go wrong or right. Normally, you only write people personal letters when necessary.

A Personal Letter: What Is It?

Writing handwritten letters may appear archaic in the era of social media updates and quick texting. However, nothing compares to the power of paper and pen to forge deeper ties. A personal letter is more than words on paper; it’s a genuine moment captured in time that you want the receiver to discover. Only those with whom you have a personal relationship should receive a personal letter.

Unlike formal letters, personal letters are mostly about warmth and intimacy. They provide a space for sincere dialogue, deep feelings, and fortifying relationships between two persons. It’s only a means to share everyday joys, express gratitude to a loved one, or contact a friend who lives far away.

Personal Letters vs Formal Letters

Types of formal letters-

  • Business letters
  • Cover letter
  • Resignation letters
  • Letters written for business correspondence
  • Complaint letter

Types of personal letters –

  • Congratulatory letter
  • Love letters
  • Letter of Thanks
  • Condolence Letter
  • Invitation Letter

There are numerous differences between personal and formal letters, which are as follows –

Purpose:

  • Personal Letter: This type of letter is designed for informal communication with friends, family, or close acquaintances. Its goal is to connect personally, share news, express emotions, or simply maintain a bond.
  • Formal Letter: This letter serves official purposes like business communication, job applications, complaints, or requests. They aim to convey information in a very clear, concise, and professional manner.

Tone:

  • Personal Letter: The tone is very warm, friendly, and conversational. It would be best if you used personal anecdotes.
  • Formal Letter: The tone of this letter is very respectful, polite, and objective. Do not use overly casual language. Maintain a professional tone and a consistent writing style throughout.

Structure:

  • Personal Letter: It has a flexible structure. There’s no strict format for greetings, introductions, body paragraphs, or closings. You can write freely and let the conversation flow.
  • Formal Letter: Follow a specific format. This type of letter typically includes a sender’s address, date, recipient’s address, salutation, body paragraphs, closing, and signature.

Length:

  • Personal Letter: The length and content of a personal letter can vary depending on the content and your relationship with the recipient. They can be short and sweet or longer and more detailed.
  • Formal Letter: It is generally concise and to the point. Avoid unnecessary rambling or irrelevant information.

Recipient:

  • Personal Letter: Letters to friends and family about recent life updates, letters sharing travel experiences with people, etc.
  • Formal Letter: Cover letters for job applications, letters of complaint to companies, business proposals, etc., fall under this category. 

Different Types of Personal Letter

There are various kinds of personal letters.

Congratulatory Letter 

This is the kind of letter you write to someone who has received an award or recognition, and you want to convey your best wishes to them. You can also write this letter to someone to applaud them for a promotion in their professional life or if they have taken up a new occupation. There are various other reasons you can write a congratulatory letter to someone. You may have just gotten to know that someone recently got married, or someone had a baby, or someone could have even bought a new house.

Condolence Letter 

When you hear that someone has lost a close family member or a friend, you write a letter to them to offer your condolences. You show sympathy/empathy towards them and try to make them feel better through your words.

Suppose you know someone going through a huge financial loss or any other major setback in life. In that case, the letter you will write to them is known as a condolence letter. You would write about how strong they are and that they can come out of whatever bad situation they face.

Letter of Thanks 

This letter is for those in your life who have helped you or given you something you greatly appreciate. Write a letter to them to tell them how grateful you are to have them in your life. You can also write this letter to someone who has given you important guidance in your life, which has proved very helpful.

Love Letter 

Normally, love letters are exchanged between couples. But if you want, you can write them to anyone you love, admire, or care about. Love letters are meant to spread love and happiness.

Sharing information 

You can write a letter to someone informing them about something that has happened in your life. Maybe you went on a trip and want to share your experience with your friend. Or you want to talk about a new movie you saw or a new book you have read.

Seeking Guidance

Write a letter to a senior or a trusted friend asking for advice. Maybe you are stuck in a situation where you want to escape, or you cannot decide which option to choose when faced with numerous ones.

Major Elements of Personal Letter Format

Even though personal letters are written in a very conversational tone, certain elements must be included.

  • Full address and name of the sender
  • Recipient’s address and full name
  • Single line subject
  • Salutation
  • An Introductory paragraph
  • The main body of the letter
  • A concluding paragraph
  • A complimentary close
  • First name of the sender

The format of writing a personal letter has also changed with the changing times. Generally, this is the structure followed, but you can make a few changes. For example, many people do not use the subject line while writing a personal letter. 

Tips to Write the Perfect Personal Letter

  • The first paragraph is crucial. Grab your reader’s attention with a funny anecdote, a recent accomplishment, or an intriguing question.
  • You can add a blank line after each paragraph to make the letter look neat.
  • Instead of simply stating facts, use vivid details and sensory language to paint a picture with your words. This will help your recipient feel like they’re experiencing things alongside you.
  • A two-way conversation is key to good communication. Ask thoughtful questions about your recipient’s life and show genuine interest in their experiences.
  • Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Let your unique voice and personality shine through in your writing style and humor.
  • Don’t underestimate the P.S.! It’s a great place to add an afterthought, a funny joke, or a secret message for the recipient.
  • Your closing should be warm and genuine. Experiment with different closings depending on the recipient and the tone of your letter. “Lots of love,” “Your biggest fan,” or a simple “Warmly” can all work well.
  • Add a personal touch by including a small memento or keepsake related to your letter, such as a pressed flower from your hike, a ticket stub from a concert you both enjoyed or a quirky drawing you or someone else made.
  • After writing your letter, read it aloud to yourself. This can help you catch awkward phrasing or ensure the flow feels natural.
  • Don’t rush the process. Savor the experience of putting pen to paper and expressing yourself authentically.
  • In this digital age, a handwritten letter stands out. It shows that you took the time and effort to connect deeper.

Remember, the most important element of a perfect personal letter is the genuine connection it creates. Following these tips and letting your heart guide your words, you can craft a letter that the recipient will cherish for years. You can add a handwritten signature to your letter to add an extra personalization touch.

Basic Structure of Personal Letter Formatting

Just like formal letters, personal or informal letters have a particular format you must follow.

  1. Name and Full Address of the Sender – Write your full name and address on the top right-hand side. Include the street name and your PIN.
  1. Date—You must write down the date you are sending this letter. It is mentioned just beneath your address on the right-hand side. Please do not write the date in short; it must be written in full.
  1. Name and Address of the Recipient—The full name and address of the person you are sending the letter to should be written on the left-hand side, one or two lines above the salutation.
  1. Salutation – This depends on who you are sending the letter to. If the letter is addressed to a man, begin with Dear Mr. (his name). And if you are writing the letter to a female, you need to begin with Dear Ms or Dear Mrs, depending on whether they are married.
  1. Subject Line – You may or may not include a subject line in an informal letter. In earlier days, using a subject line, even in a personal letter was compulsory. Still, nowadays, it has been made redundant. It is a must when you are writing a formal letter. It helps the reader understand what the letter is all about.
  1. Introductory Paragraph – Just like an essay, the opening paragraph of a letter contains the main topic. This is mentioned just to grab the recipient’s attention.
  1. The Body of the Letter—As this letter is personal, you can write as many paragraphs as you feel. But remember that if you make it too lengthy, the person you are sending it to may get bored and not want to read through such a huge letter.
  1. Concluding Paragraph—The last paragraph of your letter should summarize everything you have written in the body. If you want, you can ask the person to reply or share their viewpoints.
  1. First Name of the Sender—In a personal letter, you should write only your first name, not your full name.
  1. Names—Wherever you write a person’s name, be it yours or the recipient’s, the first letter of the name and the first letter of the surname should be in capital letters.

What Mistakes Should You Avoid While Writing Letters?

There are a few basic things that you need to remember while writing any kind of letter.

  • Follow the Correct Format – Stick to the correct format and do not deviate from it. While there are no hard and fast rules regarding writing personal letters, formal letters have a strict format that you must follow diligently. While writing an official letter, you must follow the standard salutation format, subject line, body structure, and signature. To write a well-written letter, ensure it follows the standard length and layout of the informal or personal letter format.
  • Clarity in Writing—A well-written letter does not lack clarity. The reader should not feel lost while reading your letter, formal or informal. The letter should be appropriately structured, and the transition must be smooth if there are multiple paragraphs. Be consistent with the writing style, and do not switch between the two.
  • Language – Do not use any inappropriate language. Whether it is a personal or a formal one, using foul language means being disrespectful to the person you are sending the letter to. It would be best if you also tried to avoid using technical jargon unless it is necessary.
  • Tone and Voice—The tone and voice of an informal and formal letter are very different. You write an informal/personal letter to someone you know very closely, and hence, it is relaxed, conversational, or casual. But formal letters are sent to officials, and they need to be very professional.
  • Keep Your Emotions in Check – Do not have emotional outbursts, even if you are writing an informal letter. When writing about your emotions regarding any event, do not let anger or any negative emotion dominate the tone of your writing. 
  • Edit – After completing your letter, you should check it thoroughly. A well-written letter should not have any spelling or grammatical errors. Revise and edit it before you send it to someone. If your letter contains very basic errors, the recipient might feel you wrote it half-heartedly, as you do not care about him or her. 

Conclusion

Doesn’t it feel good to send a letter you’ve carefully prepared? Certainly, a well-knit letter has the best chance of accomplishing its purpose. To ensure your letter shines, it must be mistake-free and set the right tone. So, check carefully to weed out spelling and grammatical mistakes. You can also use premium grammar-checking tools for formatting suggestions and guidance to help you write clear, easy-to-follow letters that hold your recipient’s attention.

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