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In one of my previous posts I told you how to write a formal letter in German. Now, I want to continue with how to write an informal letter in German. Whereas there are rather strict guidelines for writing formal letters, there is more ample scope for you for writing informal letters.
The address of the recipient and your address:
When writing an informal letter in German it is not necessary to put your and the recipient’s address on the letter. It is sufficient to put the addresses on the Briefumschlag (envelope). The sender’s address is put at the top left of the envelope, and the recipient’s address is put in the lower right half of the envelope.
The date includes the city name and is put at the top right of you letter. The date is always arranged in the same order: day/month/year. You can write the date in digits or you can also spell the month in full. For example:
20. April 2011.
The most important thing here is that you separate day, month and year with dots! No dashes (–) or slashes (/).
How you address the recipient, depends on the relationship you have with him or her, and the intention of your letter. When you are writing to an acquaintance or (close) friend, the most common and natural salutation is:
Hallo Sara/Michael – Hello Sara/Michael
When you have a rather close relationship to the addressee, you can use the salutation Liebe or Lieber. Here it is important to consider the gender or sex of the person you are writing to.
Lieber Michael – Dear Michael (m)
Liebe Sara – Dear Sara (f)
When you want to write a love letter, you can use salutations like:
Mein lieber Schatz … – My dear Honey …
Hallo mein Liebling … – Hello my darling …
If you like you can add the name of your love to the salutations above. Here, there are no different forms for the different genders or sexes.
When you want to address the recipient of your love letter with something like “honey” or “sweetie”, you again have to consider whether the person you are writing is male or female.
Hallo meine Süße – Hello honey pie (f)
Hallo mein Süßer – Hello sweetie (m)
There is a variety of greeting you can use for your ending. The most common and natural greetings are:
Viele Grüße – ‘Lots of regards’
Liebe Grüße – Lots of Love
When you have a close friendship with the person you are writing to, then you can use one of the following:
Alles Liebe – Love; much love
Dein … – your … (m)
Deine … – your (f)
When you want to greet your boyfriend or girlfriend, you can use this:
In Liebe – (with) all my love
Frankfurt, den 20. April 2011
der Wochenendausflug mit Dir an der Ostsee war wunderschön. Wir hatten wirklich Glück gehabt mit dem Wetter: 20 Grad Celsius und viel Sonne, und das schon im April. Den ganzen Tag in der Sonne liegen und einfach mal die Seele baumeln lassen, beim nichts tun. Ich hatte schon lange nicht mehr so viel Spaß gehabt. Ich hoffe, wir finden bald wieder mal Zeit für so ein Wochenende.
Names of the months:
Januar – January
Februar – February
März – March
April – April
Juni – June
Juli – July
August – August
September – September
Oktober – October
November – November
Dezember – December