Informal letters are personal letters and in this type of letter writing, you write to a family member, friend or a personal audience.
Informal letters are written in an informal tone because you are writing to someone with whom you share a friendly relation, not to someone with whom you share a professional (business-related) relation.
This question (informal letter) is a part of the directed writing and it comprises of 30 marks, 15 for task fulfilment and 15 for the language used.
You have to remember that the word limit Cambridge gives you for this question is 200 to 300 words. So, you have to take care of the word limit as well.
Now you might be thinking, how can you achieve marks for task fulfilment and language? Let me tell you everything in this informal letter sample without further introductions and let’s dive straight into the topic.
Task fulfilment (15 marks):
In the question, you are given some instructions that you have to follow in order to achieve high marks in your informal letter.
When you follow the instructions prescribed by your examiner, you are actually completing the “task fulfilment”. In a good informal letter, you have to ensure that the points mentioned below are covered.
- The letter should indicate a proper understanding of the purpose (goal or aim of a piece of writing).
This means that you have to provide relevant information, express oneself and in short, you have to create a literary work. This is because when you are writing an informal letter, you indicate your ideas by communicating with someone.
Therefore, if your letter is relevant to the topic and it explains all the required (and appropriate) details, you complete the purpose of the writing.
- You should have a clear awareness of the situation and the audience.
This means that when you are writing a letter, you have to know what is the goal of the writing and to whom (audience) you are writing. This is very important because when you know your audience, you write accordingly.
For example, the tone of your writing to a friend or a cousin will be different as compared to the one written to your administrator or client.
Well, how does the examiner judges how clear the situation is to you? When you are composing a letter (informal), the more relevant and accurate you are, the higher is your understanding of the circumstance because you avoid all unnecessary details.
- Make sure that the format is entirely appropriate.
This simply means that you have to take care about the format of your informal letter because if you include things such as “subject” and “byline” in your letter, you are not fulfilling the required format.
The way of greeting and addressing the letter is different in an informal letter as compared to a formal letter.
Therefore, your draft should indicate that you are writing for an informal purpose and the format is the best way to do so.
- You have to develop all the required points in detail (fully amplified) in a well organized manner.
What does this mean? This means that in the question, you are given certain bullet points which you have to develop.
The questions provide you with certain aspects about which you have to provide specific and relevant details. As mentioned above, these points should be explained in detail so that you satisfy the requirement of “task fulfilment”.
These points should be well organized which means that you should follow the orders of the bullet points given by the examiner to you.
When you organize the points in the correct sequence, you are likely to achieve good grades but I have a specific tip for you over here.
Tip: You have to remember that the word limit is of 200 to 300 words but, always explain more than it is required by the examiner.
This means that try to include relevant details about the topic that is apart from the content points given by the examiner to you.
- The tone and register should be completely appropriate.
This means that the language you use should be according to an informal letter. Well, what is your tone when you are writing to your friend or a family member?
Your tone and register are informal, right? But, let me tell you what does being informal means in a letter.
You have to be spontaneous and casual because you are communicating with your friends or family members. This means that the language is more personal than formal language.
Therefore, you have to select the right words because this will allow you to secure the maximum possible marks and your tone is the most powerful tool to indicate that you are writing an informal letter.
I hope that this makes sense.
- Use the given information to elaborate on your interpretations and personal opinions.
The question is your best friend, right? This is because the question will provide you with all the required details which you are looking for.
The examiner wants you to think beyond the scope and justify your thinking with the information given in the question. When you do this, you will have plenty of information to write.
Why is it important to elaborate your personal interpretations, attitude, opinions or expressions? This is because you are required to only write relevant details and if you do not link them with the question, they will be considered irrelevant.
In short, it is very important to provide appropriate explanations so that the examiner knows that you have a clear understanding of the purpose (and having a clear understanding of the purpose in the requirement for the task fulfilment).
These are some of the requirements which you have to fulfil if you want to secure 13 to 15 marks in the “task fulfilment” section. If these conditions are not met, you are likely to lose marks.
It is time to explain how are you going to attain the maximum possible marks in the “language section” of your informal letter.
Language (15 marks):
In this section, you will be given marks according to your expressions (language).
The examiner will judge how you communicate your ideas through your language and therefore, you have to complete the requirements in order to secure good marks.
Some of the requirements are discussed below for your reference and guidance.
- The language used should be highly accurate (some occasional slips are ignored).
This means that the language you will use to provide the required information should be precise and error-free.
Note that the tone and register will be informal (casual) but you do not have to compromise on the content. This means that the language which you will use should be very sufficient to represent the situation.
- Similarly, you should use particular sentence structure in your letter.
There are four types of sentence structures such as:
- Simple sentences
- Compound sentences
- Complex sentences
- Compound-complex sentences
A simple sentence is an independent clause with no dependent clause or conjunction. For example, the sentence “Joe waited for the train” is a simple sentence because there is one independent clause.
Likewise, a compound sentence is two independent clauses that are connected (joined) by a conjunction (such as for, and, nor, but, or, yet and so).
For example, the sentence “I really need to go to work, but I am too sick to drive” has two independent clauses joined by a conjunction (but in this case).
A complex sentence contains at least one dependent clause and an independent clause which are connected (joined) by conjunctions and subordinators (to indicate subject or time).
For example, the sentence “She returned the computer after she noticed it was damaged” contains an independent and dependent clause and a subordinator (“after” in this case).
Moreover, a compound-complex sentence contains multiple independent clauses and at least one dependent clause and it also contains both subordinators and conjunctions.
For example, “Though Adam prefers to watch dramatic movies, he rented the latest romantic movie, and he enjoyed it very much” is a compound-complex sentence.
- You have to use appropriate tenses and verb forms that are largely correct.
In grammar, tenses refer to the classification that expresses time reference. The tenses are usually explained with some specific form of verbs (such as present tense form and past tense form).
You have to take care that you do not use the wrong tense and form of the verb (for example you cannot use first-person while writing a report because you use the third person),
If this is done, you are guaranteed decent marks in this section (writing as a first-person in case of the informal letter is correct).
- There should be variety in your vocabulary making it helpful for the reader to understand.
This means that the language you use should be mature and try to avoid words such as “bad” and instead use words such as “unpleasant” or “substandard”.
But, sometimes the students include very fancy words in their informal letters which is not correct because remember that you are not writing to your manager.
At the same time, you should know that the use of decent vocabulary means that your tone should be friendly and casual but try to avoid substandard language such as slangs.
- The spellings should be accurate apart from few occasional slips.
If you are giving an English paper then, the spellings matter because you have separate marks for the “language” sections. Therefore, you have to be very careful with your spellings.
At the same time, you should include accurate punctuations such as:
- Question mark
- Exclamation point
- Brackets (try to avoid during speech writing)
- Lastly, you have to connect your paragraphs through transition words to indicate unity and planning in your letter.
Transition metals show coherence in your informal letter and therefore, you have to use them in order to link your ideas. Some of the transition words which you can use in your letter are:
- In the same way
These were some of the things which you should while reading the informal letter sample below.
So, let me show you a sample (example) of an informal letter to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the response.
Informal letter sample:
Section 1: Directed writing (30 marks)
Question: You need to borrow something from a friend for a special purpose. Write a letter to your friend asking that if you can borrow this item. You should include the following:
- What you need to borrow and for how long will you need if for.
- Why you need it and how will you use it.
- Offer to do something for them in return.
Cover all three points in detail. You should make your letter friendly and polite and start with “Dear Friend” You should remember to give a suitable ending as well.
I hope you find this letter in the best of your health. The purpose of this letter is to inform you about my approaching school trip to Naran Kaghan in northern Pakistan. Therefore, I would be joyful if you would help me with your contribution.
I request you to entrust your Nikon Z5 camera to me which your uncle gifted to you this birthday. This advanced camera is a mere luxury, quite out of my league.
If you can lend it to me, give it to your neighbour Ahmad because he is coming to meet me next week. I will return it to you as soon as I return from my trip which is ending on 20th November, Friday.
Although I have a camera phone, it is no substitute for a real camera. It is my dream to visit northern areas of Pakistan and capture the beautiful moments and sceneries through a camera.
As no one in my group is bringing a camera, I would use your camera to take group pictures with my friends and teacher and record all the amazing landscape scenes we go through.
Similarly, I would share all my wonderful moments and experiences with you of the trip. Moreover, I will guide you on how you can spend this time when your school offers this opportunity as well.
I will also share my photography experience with you and I am sure that it will allow you to improve your photography skills as well.
To conclude, I assure you of the complete safety of your Nikon camera as I know that it is a valuable asset. I am eagerly waiting for your response and I will meet you as soon as I return back
You loving friend
The strengths and weakness of this sample:
This informal letter sample is a perfect example to discuss the strengths and weakness of a response. Some of the strengths of this sample are:
- The three content points have been addressed
- The format of this sample is correct
- The use of tenses and form of the verb is accurate
- The ideas have been linked to indicate unity and coherence
- Some understanding of the situation and the audience is shown
- The spellings are mostly correct and accurate
- Simple and compound sentences are present
These are some of the strengths of this response in terms of task fulfilment and language. However, these are multiple weaknesses in this example as well. Some of them are listed below.
- Complex and compound-complex sentences are rarely used
- There is no variety in terms of punctuation
- The points have been addressed but they lack some detail
- The given information is not used to explain personal opinions
- The tone and register was appropriate but there is a level of improvement
These are some of the weaknesses in the response. The purpose to highlight these points is to ensure that you avoid all the mistakes that can be seen in this response.
What else? Now, it is time for you to practise an informal letter keeping in mind the above-mentioned points.
The question for you to practise is listed below.
You have heard that a relative of yours is in the hospital for an operation. Write your letter to express your concern and include the following:
- Ask the well-being of the patient and say how you came across the news of their operation
- Give some news from the home
- Inform about your whereabouts and promise a visit
You are advised to write between 200 to 300 words. Cover all three points in detail and remember to provide a suitable ending.
Features in an informal letter:
There are some things which you need to remember while writing an informal letter. You have to explain the given content points and also provide extra relevant details.
Remember that the tone and register is the most important thing because this is a major difference between a formal and informal letter.
Moreover, follow the instructions of the examiner and if the examiner says to start with “Dear Friend” then, you have to follow the instruction to attain decent marks.
Lastly, try to remember what you are writing for because you have to demonstrate a proper understanding of the situation and audience. I hope this makes sense.
With this, the article about informal letter sample and format has come to an end. I hope that all your queries have been answered and all your concerns have been cleared.
Make sure to complete the practise question given above and some of the points covered in this article are mentioned below for your reference.
- Informal letter format
- Informal letter sample (example)
- Task fulfilment
- Features of an informal letter
- Strengths and weakness in an informal letter
Thank You very much for reading and staying with me till the end and stay tuned for more.