Not everything is business-oriented; in fact, more people write personal letters than they do business communications. There are more opportunities to write personal letters as even business people have to do it at some point in their lives.
Writing personal letters has been taught in school for many generations. But if you missed that lesson, continue to read. Our article contains the information to help you write better personal letters.
What Is a Personal Letter?
A personal letter is a style of letter that only deals with personal matters. It does not deal with professional or business affairs, and it is sent from one individual to another. It is not sent from one person to a business or a business to a person nor business to business.
Plus, the format is more informal than a business letter, and your greetings are less than professional and sometimes more intimate. Usually, personal letters are handwritten and sent through the postal system, but some e-mails can be considered personal due to the content and not the format or mailing system used.
Other factors that separate it from business letters or quick notes that are written in a few seconds is that it takes longer to write and it takes more time to read.
Personal Letter Examples and Templates
Essential Elements of a Personal Letter
While it is neither a business nor a professional letter, there are still essential elements that should be included in a personal letter. The first two on this list are optional depending on how well you know the person you are writing to:
- Top right-hand corner- your full name and address.
- Top left corner- the recipient’s full name and address.
- Date- can go underneath the recipient’s address or place in the top right-hand corner in place of your name.
- Salutation- most people, use ‘Dear,’ and that is the accepted greeting unless you are writing to an intimate partner and a few other exceptions.
- First paragraph-this is the warm-up content that will contain a little information as to why you are writing or just saying a few introductory remarks. It leads to the purpose of your letter.
- Following paragraphs- the purpose of why you are writing, and there is no mandatory length. Some people claim you should be short and brief, but that depends on the purpose, the person you are writing to, and the subject matter.
- Concluding paragraph- some final remarks, greetings to the recipient’s family, and so on. Some say you should put a call of action in there to get a response but that is usually a given when writing personal letters.
- Signature- you can close the letter with ‘Yours Truly’, ‘Deep regards’, or other appropriate phrases. The words you use depend on how close you are to the person you are writing to.
How to Write
This is similar to including all the essential elements, and the content and style of the letter depend on the purpose and the closeness of the relationship. Romantic and intimate personal letters are written vastly different than a letter to your cousin whom you haven’t seen since Christmas.
One thing a personal letter is not is a business letter written in business format. You usually indent the first letter in the first line at the start of each paragraph.
- Place the addresses at the top or replace your name and address with the date you are writing the letter.
- Next, write your greeting, and generally, ‘Dear Tom’ or Dear Jane’ will suffice unless the letter is written under other circumstances.
- After that, write the content. You can add in emotion if you want but be clear and coherent. The length depends on what you want to say to the other person
- Add in a few closing remarks like ‘say hi to the family, or ‘Hope to see you soon and similar ending phrases.
- Sign your name using a phrase that fits the relationship. Sometimes Sincerely is acceptable.
Types of the personal Letter
There will be occasions where you write all of these types of personal letters at one point in your life.
- Pen pals- just a regular letter catching up on the news of what has happened in your life since the last time you wrote.
- Fan mail- writing letters to those television and movie stars or someone famous in another field
- Love letters- filled with intimate feelings about the other person. Some are for romance, while others are to tell relatives and immediate family members how you feel about them.
- Dear John or good-bye letters- either you are moving, taking a trip or ending a relationship. These letters are telling the recipient you are leaving in some manner.
- Get well soon- your friends or family members are sick and you cannot be there to help them in their time of need. You send them this letter wishing them a speedy recovery.
- Condolences- written when a friend or relative had someone they were close to pass away. You are sending your deepest sympathy for their loss.
- Thank you- usually to your grandmother who gave you clothes instead of toys for Christmas or to other people thanking them for gifts, help, and other acts you appreciated.
- Celebration- the content is sharing the joy the other person is feeling, congratulating them on great news or you are sending out special announcements about events you are celebrating.
A personal letter is a letter where the recipients see you. You are writing personal thoughts as you build a personal relationship with the other person. Business is left for another day and another type of letter.