How to write a personal letter in German

If you have read my last two posts about writing a business letter or email, you may wonder, if there are important things to know when writing a personal letter or email. As much as it is important to stick to formal etiquette when writing for business, it is different when writing to friends.

So, what is different? The salutation!

Lieber …. (Dear first name, male),
Liebe … (Dear first name, female),
Hallo …,
Hi …,
Ciao …,
Moin …, or whatever may be in fashion at the time – these are all very casual greetings. Stick to liebe/r or hallo if not sure.

If writing to a couple, address them both, e.g. ‘Lieber …, liebe …,’  or use ‘Hallo, ihr Lieben,’ 

Remember, if you finish the greeting with a comma, you continue your letter or email with a lower case.

In older text books you may have read that all forms of Du, Dir, Dein, etc … should be spelled with a capital letter. That isn’t the case any more.  Only Sie/ Ihr etc … in formal letters are spelled with a capital letter.

When you’ve finished the letter, you can conclude it with –

‘Liebe Grüße’ or  ‘Viele Grüße’  (kind regards, but a lot more casual than ‘Mit freundlichen Grüßen’)
‘Alles Liebe’ (equivalent to ‘all my love’)
‘Tschüs’  (Bye)

Then sign it with your name or add Dein (yours, but casual, if you’re male) or Deine (if you’re female) in front of your name.

Example:

Alles Liebe
Deine Angelika

PS As it’s nearly February, you may want to write a Valentine’s card in German. If you need  some cheesy phrases …  😛

 

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