Writing a personal letter
Let's take a look at personal letters. Personal letters are letters you write to someone you know. For example, you might write to a friend, family member, classmate or pen pal.
How do I write a personal letter?
- Begin your letter by writing your name and address in the top right-hand corner of the page. It is important to include this information in case your return address (on the back of the envelope) is torn, or the envelope is thrown out. This way the person who receives the letter will always have your address and will be able to reply to you.
- Next, write the date on which you are writing your letter. This goes on the left-hand side of the letter, just above where you will write your greeting. The date is important so the person who is reading it knows when it was written. It is also helpful for people who like to keep letters they have been sent and look back on them.
- Under the date write your greeting. It is acceptable in a friendly letter to be informal with your greeting. Depending on how well you know the person you are writing to, you could use "Dear", "Hi" or "Hello".
- Now it is time to start writing the content of your letter. This is where you put everything you want to include in your letter. Remember, if you forget anything you can always put it in the postscript.
- When you have finished writing your letter, end it by signing off. Depending on how well you know the person, you could use "Your friend", "See ya" or "From".
- Sign or write your name under the sign-off.
- If you have forgotten to include something in your letter or you want to add an extra message, you can use a postscript (PS). This is written underneath your name at the bottom of the letter.
For a fun and interactive writing experience, check out Let's write a letter in the "Multimedia fun" section.
What can I write about in a personal letter?
Personal letters can be written conversationally. They can be about whatever you wish. There are no rules for what you can and cannot talk about, although you should always be kind. Think about what the person you are writing to might like to read. Here are some suggestions that you might find helpful:
- Updates about school, hobbies or your sports team.
- News about friends, family or your pets.
- What has been happening in your street, town or city.
- Holidays, birthdays, school camps, achievements, anything you think is special or exciting and would like to share.
- A funny joke you have heard, a good movie you have seen, a fun game you played, or your favourite song, are all great things to write about.
- Anything new. A good idea is to think about the last time you saw the person you are writing to. This will make it easier for you to tell them about new things that have happened since the last time you saw them.
- Remember to ask the person you are writing to about what they have been doing and what has been happening in their life.
Are there different types of personal letters?
There are many different types of personal letters. Here are a few you might have heard of:
A pen pal is someone you communicate with by sending letters regularly.
You write fan mail to someone you idolise or admire. You might choose to write to a famous actor, rock star, author, or sports hero.
You can write a love letter to someone whom you love or care about. In this letter, you express feelings of affection and romance.
In a farewell letter you would say goodbye and good luck to someone who is moving interstate or overseas, or changing schools.
You send a get well letter to wish someone a speedy recovery from illness.
In a condolence letter you show sympathy, usually for the death of someone close to the recipient. You might wish them strength through their grief, say you are sorry for their loss, or share fond memories of the person they have lost.
You would send this letter to congratulate someone on a birth, wedding, achievement or award.
When you write a thank you letter, you are showing your appreciation to someone. Perhaps they invited you to their birthday party, gave you a thoughtful gift, or did you a favour. This is less formal than an appreciation letter, and would be sent to a friend or family member.
Holiday / Celebration
Your holiday letter could celebrate a birthday, Christmas, New Year, Bar mitzvah or any other special event or holiday.
Letter writing tips
Although there are many different types of letters, here are some general tips and hints to make sure that every letter is a good letter:
- Write a draft. Writing a draft, or even planning what you want to say, will mean that the point of your letter is clear.
- Make sure your handwriting is clear and neat. Nothing spoils the excitement of receiving a letter in the mail more than finding it is unreadable!
- Don't include anything messy in your letter. If you are using glitter or sequins in a letter to a friend, make sure that they are all stuck down securely and will not spill all over the carpet when the letter is opened. Also remember that it is not a good idea to decorate your envelope as this may mean that it will take longer to sort or can cause it to get stuck in the sorting machine.
- Make sure that your spelling is correct and there are no grammatical errors. Proofread your letter before you send it.
- If you know your handwriting is a bit on the messy side, you can print out an address label to stick on your envelope, or ask an adult or friend with neat handwriting to write the address for you!