How to write a friendly letter

German every day

Hi everybody!

Today you will learn something really usefull for your daily life: how to write letter or e-mails in German!

Here is an example of a half formal and fictitious e-mail that I had to write in my German course:

Semi-formal email

The first step of e-mail / letter-writing in German is to determine whether it will be formal or informal. With that in mind, it is extremely important to choose the appropriate personal pronoun:

  1. For a formal e-mail letter, you will address the person as ,,You", with the obligatory capital S at all times (other forms are ,,Your" other ,,Them"), and the last name.
  2. For a close friend or relative, you will address them as ,,you" and the first name.

Not following these formalities, may make you sound impolite, rude and impertinent. In this post I describe and give examples of letter-basics!

Envelope

All names, whether it formal or informal should be addressed in the accusative!

To Ms / Mr ...To Ms./Mr. ...
Ms / Mr ...Ms./Mr. ...
To the company …To the company ...

Salutation (Opening greeting)

This is how to begin a letter or an e-mail.

Dear Mrs(Müller),Dear Ms.(Müller),…
Dear sir (cutter), Dear Mr.(Bold),…
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,…Dear ladies and gentlemen, …
Dear lawyer(Meyer),…Dear Ms. (lawyer)(Meyer), …
Dear Doctor.(Carpenter),…Dear Mr. Dr.(Carpenter), …
Dear Lady(Müller),Dear Ms.(Müller),…
Dear Sir (Kühne),Dear Mr.(Bold),…
love(Eva),Dear(Eva),…
rather(Martin),Dear (Martin),…

Introduction

Unlike English (and Portuguese), the word that follows your greeting begins with a small letter (Oh no! I have always done that wrong!). The following examples can be used for both (formal and informal letter / e-mail), just keep in mind when to use You form + last name or You-form + first name.

how are you?How are you?
I want to tell you something ...I want to tell you something ...
I would like to know … I would like to know ...
there is something new ...There is something new ...
I am so happy …I am so glad ...
Thank you for your email / invitation.Thank you for your e-mail / invitation.
Thank you for your quick response. Thank you very much for your quick response.
I hope that you / they have had a wonderful summer. I hope you've had a wonderful summer.
I hope that you / they feel / feel better. I hope you are feeling better.

Main text

Possible useful phrases:

  • to describe:
Yesterday I was…Yesterday I was ...
…Had an accident... had an accident
... goes well / not well... goes well / not well
…has pain... had pain
I've been so busy lately ... I was so busy lately ...
  • to thank:
Thank you very much for your letter, I was very happy about it.Thank you very much for your letter, I was very happy to receive it.
Thank you very much for your letter, I was very happy about it.Thank you for your letter, I was very happy to receive it.
Thank you very much for your letter, I was very happy about it.Thank you very much for your letter, I was very happy to receive it.
  • to apologize:
Excuse me, but ...Sorry, but ...
I'm sorry, but unfortunately ...I'm sorry, but unfortunately ...
Unfortunately I have to apologize since I haveUnfortunately, I have to apologize because I.
I would like to ... but ...I would like to ..., but ...
I know that I haven't written for a long time ...I know that I haven't written in a long time ...
I went away on this date.On this date I am traveling.
I have to work on this date.On this date I must work.
I have an important appointment on this date.On this date I have an important appointment.
  • To make a proposal:
I propose that …I suggest that ...
We want… ?Will we ...?
It would be nice if …It would be nice if ...
Shall we …?Shal we ...?
I plan ... will you take part?I plan, ... will you be there?

Salutation (Concluding)

Contrary to English (and Portuguese) (again !!), there is no comma after a concluding expression in German.

With best regardsWith best regards,
regardsBest regards,
Best RegardsBest regards,
Best wishesGreetings,
With kind regardsSincerely,
Best regardsKind regards,
Kind regardsWith kind regards,
best regardsGreetings,
See you soonSee you soon,
CiaoBye
HelloGoodbye,
Greetings from BrazilGreetings from Brazil,
All the bestLots of love,
Take careTake care,

Here’s a few of the most common German jargons (It is helpful to know!):

  1. Kind regards - With best regards
  2. vg - Best wishes
  3. ld - Love you
  4. lg - Best regards
  5. gn8 - Good night
  6. hdl - I love you

Sender name (sender’s name)

As in English (finally! Hehe), your name can be preceded by a possesive adjective.

Your(Eva Müller)Yours(Eva Müller)
your(Martin Kühne)Yours(Martin Kühne)
Yours(Eva)Yours(Eva)
Your(Martin)Yours(Martin)

That is all! I hope it will be usefull for you! 😉

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