How to Write an Informal Letter – Yes, You May Have to Write One Someday
It’s hard to imagine. In your world of email, IM, tweets, and texts, you might have to write a letter for anything other than as part of an application or perhaps a business letter on the job. And true, letter writing by snail mail just does not occur much anymore. But, there may be times when you do want to write a letter instead of an email – grandma still appreciates a thank-you note for a gift; you may want to write a note of thank-you to someone who has done you a huge favor. The thing about letters is that they are a bit more permanent, and people may want to keep them.
Defining the Informal Letter
Informal letters are those that you would write to a friend, to someone you know who may not be a friend (teacher, coach, pastor) or a relative. Your language and style will be much more casual than in formal letter writing, along with the greeting (also called the salutation) and the ending, or sign-off. Still, your thoughts should be organized.
Here are some times when you will write an informal letter:
- As a congratulations – someone got a promotion; someone achieved something (a new job, finished a training program, etc.)
- A thank-you for a gift, for some help, for some advice
- Hand-written invitations to an event
- Declining or accepting an invitation
- As an apology
- As an expression of sympathy for loss of a loved one
- Requesting information
- Letter of complaint to a company
Obviously, your tone will vary, dependent upon the circumstances. For example, you will not use the same language in writing a letter of congratulations as you would writing a letter of sympathy.
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The Steps for Writing an Informal Letter
- You may or may not want to put a date at the top of your letter – this is optional, dependent on the circumstances. If you are writing a letter of complaint to a retailer, for example, you may want to include a date so that you have a timeline of the communication.
- Use a greeting that is comfortable for you and for your recipient. Typical greetings are “Dear Joan,” “Hi Joan,” or even “Hey There,” if the letter is going to a really close friend or relative, like a sibling. Sometimes you will use a title and last name, such as, “Dear Pastor Miller.”
- Start with a sentence of introduction which establishes the point of your letter. For example, “I just wanted to write a note of thanks for all that you did to help me out while I was sick,” or “I was so terribly sorry to hear about the loss of you sister,” or, “I am very disappointed with the electric knife I ordered from your company.”
- Start the main body of the letter with a new paragraph. Here is where you will give the detail. Depending upon the nature of your letter, you will be writing one-two paragraphs.
- Your concluding paragraph can be rather short – just a sentence or two. For example, “Again, I just wanted to say thank you for all that you did,” or “Again, let me say how sorry I am that you have suffered this loss. My thoughts are with you,” or, “I would like to hear from you soon regarding a refund for the electric knife I am returning,” “Let me say it once again – congratulations and great job!”
- Your sign off should be appropriate for your relationship with the recipient of the letter – “Fondly,” “Love,” “Sincerely,” “With Best Wishes,”
- Signature: In most instances, informal letters will be signed with just your first name. Exceptions will be in those instances where you do not know the person well or at all – for example, a letter of complaint or to request information.
- Be sure to proofread your letter for mistakes.
Do’s and Don’ts forWriting an Informal Letter
Be polite, even if you are writing a letter of complaint. You do not inspire others to help you out if your tone is angry and accusatory.
Don’t use lengthy compound sentences with too many thoughts in them. Break up sentences to keep the points being made simple. This is not an academic piece
Try to break the body up into at least two paragraphs. You reader will follow your train of thought better.
Don’t skip your introductory statement. You have to let the reader know the point of your letter right away.
You can let emotion show if the reason for your letter is to say thank you, to apologize, or to express sympathy.
Don’t use overly familiar jargon or slang for people who are not really close buddies or relatives.
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Learning how to write an informal letteris not hard. Here are some additional considerations:
- As you write, pretend you are speaking with the person face-to-face. Write as you would talk to that person, and you will get the right tone.
- Informal letter writingmay indeed occur via email. When it does, avoid using some of the typical shortened jargon – “yu” instead of “you,” “R U” instead of “are you,” etc. While your letter is informal, it is still a letter, and you do want to use basic English well.
Today, we are going to talk about the type of essay that differs greatly from other types of papers. It may be a surprise for you, but an informal essay is written usually for enjoyment. This doesn’t mean that this type of essay cannot be informative or persuasive, but it is less formal than a relaxed expression of the opinion, observation, or research. A good informal essay may have a relaxed style, but it has a strong structure, though this structure can be less strict than a formal essay has. An informal essay has a tendency to be more personal than a formal one, though both can express subjective opinions. In a formal essay, a writer is silently presenting his or her thoughts behind the words; at the same time, in an informal essay, the author is connected with the reader in a conversational style.
How to Write an Informal Essay to Interest Readers
Before we are talking about how to write this type of paper, we should understand what is informal writing. Informal writing is writing where you should reveal your ability to write informally and express your own point of view on an issue. If you write informally, try to express your own personality in the essay. Don’t worry about writing in academic style, but avoid sloppiness.
Many students may ask, “what is the difference between formal and informal essay?” The difference is in the style of writing or in how we use words to say what we want to say. Different situations require different ways of using words. The way we write in the academic or scientific purposes differs a lot from the way we write to a friend or a close person. Proper writing of the informal essay is to understand the features of the genre. Observance of the basic principles and recommendations on writing will create an interesting essay.
Steps for Writing an Informal Essay
- Select the topic. You have a great opportunity to select any topic for your paper. An informal way of writing provides a great chance to write about whatever you want. Choose a topic that will be really interesting to you. The presence of a certain narrow topic that contains the problem and prompts the reader to thinking is a great choice. If there is no list of topics among which you can choose one, and only a general direction is given, then you need to take into account which audience the essay is written for. Variants can be different: your classmates and a teacher, the commission, the literary community, the employer. If the essay is written for handing in to the teacher, then it is necessary to consider what qualities will be evaluated. Proceeding from this, the topic should be chosen in such a way that it would be possible to show those abilities that the examiner is waiting for from the author: originality, the ability to logically construct sentences, literacy, professional qualities, etc. When choosing the topic for writing an essay from the proposed list, you should choose one which you have particular knowledge in.
- Write an informal outline for essay. This part of a paper is important, because with an informal essay outline, your writing will be much easier. An outline is like a plan with which you will not forget to include all main points in your paper.
It often happens that a person who has enough eloquence and the ability to express his/her thoughts on paper, has difficulty in starting the essay. Thinking about the introduction can take quite a long time, which greatly darkens the process of creative work. Before you start writing an introduction, you need to formulate an idea, define a goal, and find sources of information for the work. It is important not to focus on the introductory part too long. Write an introduction including a thesis statement. Remember that the essay is distinguished precisely by the presence of the author’s view of the existing problem, his or her relation to the world, speech, and thinking.
- Write the main body of your essay using cliches, colloquialisms, and even jargon, as the format of this paper allows you to write in this way. It is necessary to avoid complicated formulations or too long sentences. It is important to follow a laid-back style to establish contact with the reader. It is important not to overdo it, however, turning the essay into a substandard text full of slang. The correct emotional color of the text will be given by short, simple, understandable sentences, and the use of different intonations in sentences. Include a detailed analysis of the problem. Your own point of view needs to be argued on the basis of factual material.
- Write a conclusion. Summarize everything that you have said before in your paper.
- Remember relative brevity of writing. There are no restrictions on the number of pages, but the informal essay is usually small in volume. An informal paper has a free construction. The informal essay has a way of presentation that does not fit into any definite framework. The construction obeys its own logic, which the author adheres to, trying to consider the problem from different angles.
- Proofread and edit your paper. Ask your friend to do it in order to find and correct more mistakes.
Informal Essay Example
The following example of informal essay writing was created to help you handle your own paper. As this type of paper is not formal, you can find personal observations, opinions, or points of view. The main thing is that this example is written in a relaxed manner, but it adheres to a particular structure. Short informal essay examples usually include the personal contact, and not the academic writing flow. You can find a subjective opinion in this type of paper, so you should write in this way as well. Our sample will help you understand how to write your own informal paper in order to get a high grade.
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Useful Tips for Informal Essay Writing
- Keep in mind that informal essays can be written in the first person, so using “I think that…” “In my opinion…” and “I believe…” are welcome.
- Sentences of your essay should not be too long, especially in the case of run-on sentences. At the same time – they should not be too short. Varying your sentence lengths is a good practice.
- Reread your essay at the end of your writing process. Ask yourself whether the tone is too formal or too informal. Make all necessary changes if needed.
- Add personality to your essay! Don’t know what it means? Well, an informal essay gives you a chance to personalize your writing, using words and phrases which are used only by you. In this way, you will have a unique piece of writing on a particular topic. Be creative!
- All statements that you include in your paper should be clear and realistic.
- Despite the free composition, the informal essay must have internal unity, with consistency of the author’s statements expressing his or her opinion.
- The author does not insist on his/her point of view, but uses a method as if inviting the reader to think about and discuss it.
Typical Mistakes for Writing an Informal Essay
- The absence of links between the substantive parts of the essay: introduction and conclusion, and the main part of the essay with the conclusion.
- Having proportionality of parts of the essay which should not be equal in length. The introduction and conclusion in the aggregate should be no more than one-third of the entire work. The main part is two-thirds.
- Inability to strictly follow the theme of writing in the course of reasoning.
- Inability to compositionally structure an essay in accordance with the theme and the main idea.
- Vast amounts of unnecessary information in the introduction and conclusion. However, too short and too unreasonable a conclusion is also inappropriate. It must really summarize and sum up all the work. The absence of a conclusion is a serious logical mistake. The conclusion must be meaningful in accordance with the introduction, topic, and main body of the essay.
- Absence of a problem in the introduction (this is the topic itself) and the formulation of a key thesis, which will be proved there.
- Indistinct formulation of theses, making it difficult to integrate them into the logical structure of the work. If there are several theses, then there should not be a contradiction between the theses formulated in different parts of the paper.
- Weak arguments. They are such if they do not prove or confirm, unconvincingly or superficially, the thesis.
- Unreasonable repetitions of the same thoughts.
- Errors in the division of the text into paragraphs and even the complete absence of paragraphs.
- Inability to operate with abstract concepts.
- The non-distinction between the concepts “example” and “argument,” and inability to formulate a micro-output, on the basis of an example, correlated with the thesis put forward.