Whether you’re preparing for your IELTS test or another English language exam, it’s very common to be asked to write an informal letter as part of your assessment. Although it’s questionable whether our students ever send paper letters in an envelope anymore (because who doesn’t love WhatsApp?), knowing how to write an informal letter correctly is still a basic requirement for passing your English test as a non-native speaker.
In this post, we’ll have a look at the layout, style and structure of an informal letter written in British English. On top of that, we will provide an example which you can use to inspire your own version. Good luck!
Part 1: Your Address
Although the address of the person you’re writing to is usually mentioned on the envelope, it is polite (and handy!) to put your own address in your letter as well, in case your friend wants to get back to you. Your personal address should appear in the top right-hand corner of the page.
Always note down your address in the following order:
House number and street name
Town or city
Country (if applicable)
Part 2: Today’s Date
It’s common practice in the UK to incorporate the day on which you’re writing in your letter as well. This date should be included just below your own address, on the right-hand side of your paper.
Remember that the correct way to note down dates in British English is:
Day Month, Year
19 January, 2018
Don’t forget to start the month with a capital letter!
Part 3: Opening
When writing an informal letter, you will most likely start with ‘Dear [addressee’s first name]’. However, if you’re writing, for example, an informal letter to a business contact or an elderly relative, you may want to refer to them as ‘Mr, Mrs, Miss or Ms [last name]’.
The abbreviation ‘Mrs’ is used to refer to a married woman, ‘Miss’ is used to refer to a single woman and ‘Ms’ can be used if you’re not sure of the recipient’s marital status. For men, ‘Mr’ is always the appropriate abbreviation.
Part 4: The Body
This is the main part of your letter. If you’re writing an informal letter to a friend, partner or family member, make sure you use personal and friendly language.
Start off by showing an interest in how the addressee is doing, or refer to an event/happening they have mentioned before. Then state the reason for your writing.
Second Paragraph Onwards
From your second paragraph onwards, you can elaborate upon the reason for your writing. Even if your tone is casual, it’s still important to put the appropriate care into your sentence structure, grammar and spelling.
In your final paragraphs, make some concluding remarks. You may want to ask some final questions, mention that you look forward to receiving a reply or send your regards to the recipient’s family and friends.
Part 5: Ending
To conclude your letter, you will want to use a closing sentence. Common closing sentences in British English include:
I can’t wait to hear back from you.
I look forward to hearing from you.
See you soon!
Send my love to…
Part 6: Signature
Finally, at the very end of your letter, you should sign off with a greeting and your name. When writing in the informal style, using one of the following signatures will certainly ensure you pass your test:
All the best,
Lots of love,
An Example of an Informal Letter
To help you pass your writing test, we’ll now provide you with a short example of an informal letter in British English. Good luck with your exam, and if this article has been of use to you, feel free to send us a thank you letter!
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