Sending a letter in the mail is one of the most special things you can do to show someone that you appreciate them. Sure, a phone call, text message, and email are all faster, but there is nothing like opening up an envelope and reading a thoughtful, hand-written letter from someone that cares about you. And the best part about sending a letter? It’s very cheap! For less than the cost of a Starbucks Venti Caramel Macchiato, you can make someone feel very, very loved. Writing a letter from the USA in English is a great way to show your family and friends back home your new language skills!
Here are some simple guidelines for writing a letter:
Informal letters follow a very simple format. Letters usually begin with a salutation such as “Hi (name of recipient), or “Dear (name of recipient)”, followed by a comma. Usually, the date is written in the top right hand corner.
Dear (name of recipient),
Introductory Paragraph- In the first paragraph, you should tell the recipient why you are writing. Here, you may want to explain why you chose to write a letter rather than call or email. Maybe you want to explain that this is the first letter you have written in English!
Body Paragraphs- If you are writing to someone you have not seen in a long time, it is a good idea to give them an update on your life. Where are you living? Are you studying or working? Have you visited Hollywood or started surfing lessons? This is where you can make your letter personal.
Last Paragraph – In your last paragraph, you should summarize what you have talked about in the letter, and take the opportunity to ask any questions you want the recipient to answer in their response. If you want them to respond in a letter, tell them! This might be the start of a beautiful, long-term-letter-writing correspondence!
At the very end, write a closing and sign the letter. “Sincerely,” “Love,” “Regards,” and “Best wishes,” are all appropriate closings.
These guidelines are only meant to help you start writing your first letter. Handwritten letters are informal, so feel free to be creative! Include pictures, small souvenirs, or anything you want to share with your loved one. If you have visited a beautiful California beach, sprinkle in some sand! No matter what your letter says, it is guaranteed to make the reader smile.