Penpalling & Letters

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

How to write a letter

Veteran letter-writers are already familiarized with the different parts of a letter and how to structure and organize it in a correct way, but what about beginners? Today's post is addressed to all those who wish to know some tips to write a letter to a friend and aren't used to penpalling, yet.

As you can see in the image, a letter can be divided in different parts. Let's start reviewing each of them:

1. Place and date of the letter:

The place and date have to be written on the right upper corner of the paper, just like it can be seen in the image. Some people don't include the place, others do... so you decide what to do here. The date helps to keep track of when the letter was written, so it is nice to know this information in my opinion.

2. Opening greeting:

The opening of the letter should be located at the left area of the paper, just below of date and place (as it can be seen in the above pic). There are several ways to open a letter, depending on your level of confindence with the person you are writing to. The most common opening is "Dear" followed by the person's first name and a comma. A more casual greeting is "Hello (name)" or "Hi (name)" followed by an exclamation mark or a comma.

3. Opening paragraph:

There are several ways you can begin your letter with as they are "How are you?", "How are you doing?", "How it is going"? In this paragraph you can also add sentences like: "I am happy to be writing to you again", "It is always so nice to hear back from you and start writing a new letter to you", "I am so happy I received your letter after so many weeks travelling! I thought it was already lost in the mail.", "It is great to hear from you once more and get your news", "I am sorry it took so long to get back to you but here I am finally"... (check number 3 in the image to see where it should be located in the text).

4. Body of the letter:

This is the main and more important part of a letter, as well as the part which is really unique in each letter you will be writing. The body can consist of as many paragraphs you wish to write and of as many topics you wish to develop. A letter to a friend can be as long (or as short) as you wish it to be. Don't forget to make your letter attractive and interesting so your penpal will be hooked to this penfriendship!

5. Closing paragraph:

At this point you are saying goodbye to your penfriend. Some typical endings are: "It was such a pleasure to write this letter to you", "I am so happy to have written to you this long letter. Cannot wait to hear from you again!", "Looking forward to hearing from you", "Hope to hear from you (very) soon", "Write soon", "Hope you are enjoying your holidays and that I will hear from you soon"...

6. Closing:

When ending a letter you can choose a closing depending on the person you are writing to and the level of formality. It is usually situated towards the right side of the paper. Some of the closings you can use are: "Take care", "Best wishes", "With best wishes", "All the best", "Cheers", "Talk soon", "Kindest regards", "With kindest regards", "Yours", "Truly yours", "Sincerely yours", "Sincerely", "Love from", "With love from", "Love always", "Much love from", "With much love from", "Lots of love", "All my love"... Under any of these endings you have to add your name or put your signature.

What are you waiting for now? Pick a pen and a paper and start writing! Isn't it lovely to write a letter to a dear friend far away? Go and enjoy it!

Are you learning how to address an envelope? Check the following tip: "How to address an envelope"

If you are looking for advice on penpalling check: "Tips on letter writing"


  1. Across the time I guess some people adopted their own way to write a letter, did you ever saw such thing? I still feel attached to the way I learned in school (when I was very little) how a letter should be structured and I keep doing it. The date part just depend, for large years I used the place, and date, but now sometimes I prefer to write the day of the week, and the date because I'm always in the same place and it bores me a lot. I dislike very much letter that start with impersonal "Hi" or just "Joana!", it really think it is ugly, I keep loving the adorable and friendly "Dear" or any other way to show my love for someone.

    Great post by the way and it is really great that you made your own letter to show to the readers :)


  2. Very cool article.
    However, as I always used since I was a kid (and back there we had no email, so we used much more of "normal mail"), and till today, and also as I receive, your "number 1" is a bit differente for me. At least here, we do it on "left corner"... but it's very good to see this kind of article here in the net. I'm sure many young people have no idea of what "is" a letter. hehehe

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