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Writing a Letter in German: Informal Letters Posted by on Apr 20, 2011 in Language, People

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.

 

Date:

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:

20.04.2011

20. April 2011.

The most important thing here is that you separate day, month and year with dots! No dashes () or slashes (/).

Salutation:

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)

 

Greetings:

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

 

Example Letter:

 

Frankfurt, den 20. April 2011

Hallo Tine,

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.

Liebe Grüße,

Sandra

 

Names of the months:

Januar – January

Februar – February

März – March

April – April

Mai- May

Juni – June

Juli – July

August – August

September – September

Oktober – October

November – November

Dezember – December

 

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About the Author:Sandra Rösner

Hello everybody! I studied English and American Studies, Communication Science, and Political Science at the University of Greifswald. Since I have been learning English as a second language myself for almost 20 years now I know how difficult it is to learn a language other than your native one. Thus, I am always willing to keep my explanations about German grammar comprehensible and short. Further, I am inclined to encourage you to speak German in every situation. Regards, Sandra


Comments:

  1. h0nza:

    Und wo der November ist? 🙂

  2. td:

    You missed November. 😉

    And one question: do we put a period after the year or not? Because you wrote the years in both manner in this article.

  3. Dennis:

    I remember learning this in German in highschool… years ago!!

  4. Marija Shopova:

    Wo ist November 😀

  5. Alia:

    Germans don’t have November apparently!

  6. Alia:

    It’s very helpful though 🙂 Thanks a lot!

  7. chaiRockZz:

    deutsch lernen ist sehr spaSS.ich liebe deutsch.

  8. Caitlin Bell:

    I’m writing a Christmas card to my German friend. I would like to know, please, what is the plural for ‘liebe/ lieber’. So in English: Dear ……… , …….. & ……..

    Thanks 🙂

    • Sten:

      @Caitlin Bell Hi Caitlin,

      sorry for the terribly late reply. Too late for the card :/
      However, the answer to your question is “liebe”. It is the plural form.
      However, a way to do it too is, for example for one man and one woman, to write “Lieber Thomas (man), liebe Anna”.

  9. David Manley:

    Vielen Dank. German is tough and I totally appreciate your thoughtful, kind and practical assistance

  10. Kumar:

    Hi,

    I need a answers for the below questions.

    Ist das die tocher von martin?- ja, das ist…
    a. seine b. ihre c. sein d. ihr

    seht ihr den mann? Nein wir sehen…. Nicht.
    a. es b. uns c. er d. ihn

    der supermarket ist… 08.oo uhr … 20.30 uhr geoffnet.
    a. um/nach b. von /bis c. ab / zu d. zwischen / mit

    er sitzt….. stuhl am esstisch,
    a. auf einem b. auf ein c. uber einem d. neben ein

    um wie viel uhr kommst du.. hause?
    a. bei b. zu c. in d.nach

    bei rot… man nicht uber die ampel gehen.
    a. kann b. must c. darf d. wollt

    wohin gehst du? – ich gehe … supermarket
    a. ins b. im c.in dem d.in den

    die suppe… mirnicht. Sie ist zu scharf.
    a. mag b. esse c. schmeckt d. mochte

    . …. Du als kind einen hund?– ja, sein name war Bello”
    a. Musstest b. Hattest c. Warst d. Konntest

    Wasch…. Vor dem Essen bitte die Hande!
    a. auch b. deine c. dir d. du

    Zurest… ich mich geduscht dann… ich zur arbeit gefahren.
    a. habe/ bin b. bin/ habe c. habe/ habe d. bin/ bin

    Please answer

  11. davie:

    am a student in hospitality handling german unit.
    am trying to write a letter to my friend concerning my hobbies and am like confused how to go about.


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