Thank you letters are written to express appreciation for kind, generous deeds. These can be written to a close friend, a mere acquaintance, or a business partner.
I believe that letters of thanks can be placed in two categories. They can either be informal or formal.
In this article, we will discuss the former.
An informal letter is a letter written to a close friend or acquaintance. The tone of such a letter is warm and conversational. In other words, you aim to sound just as you do when you are having a face to face conversation with your friend.
Now why would you want to write a thank you letter to your friend?
Perhaps your friend was there during an especially difficult time or perhaps she came to your aid when you were nearly at the end of your rope; so you want to write a letter to show your appreciation.
But why write a letter?
Like I have said before, there is a certain magic that letters seem to posses. Seriously, receiving a letter (and I mean a real letter enclosed in an envelope) is one of the most exciting things that can happen to you.
Letters tend to gave credibility and tangibility to your words, and furthermore, they provide a long lasting record that your friend can refer to time after time. Each time she picks up the letter, the memories come flooding back. Can anything be better than that?
Here are a few simple steps that will help you write an informal thank you letter:
Step one: Lay the Foundation
Ask yourself: what exactly do I want to thank my friend about?
Once you have figured out what you want to thank your friend about, write it down if you have to.
Remember, you have to thank your friend about something very specific. If you just write a few general expressions of thanks, your friend will be wondering what exactly you are thanking them for. So go right ahead and tell them!
Always remember this first step: to get clear in your mind what exactly you are thanking your friend for. It always helps to write it down.
Step two: Plan and make a Draft
Your letter will have basically two parts: the opening paragraph, where you will include a statement or two that directly mentions what you are thanking your friend for; and the body where you give reasons why you are so thankful or details of how your friend really helped you. In the conclusion, you restate or reaffirm your expressions of thanks.
The purpose of a draft is simply to get your ideas clear in mind and see exactly where you are going to slot them in your letter.
Of course, writing one is not mandatory, but it always helps to plan the layout of your ideas. It usually results in a more organized presentation of ideas.
Here is an example of what I mean:
Step three: write
If you have your draft well planned out, writing is fairy easy. All you have to do expand the draft.
Let us start, shall we?
How are you doing? I hope you are being blessed with radiant health. I am quite fine myself. I would like to take this time to express my earnest appreciation for having helped me pay my school tuition fees.
Note the following about the introduction above:
The affectionate salutation:
An informal letter should always have an affectionate salutation, for the obvious reason that you are writing to a close friend or acquaintance.
Note too that it is always polite to express greetings or inquiries of the person’s welfare, especially if you have not seen them for a long time.
Next, get directly to the point by stating the reason why you writing, i.e. to express thanks for the kind deed performed.
Now let us get to the body. Remember, in your body, you have to go into details on how they really helped and why you are especially so thankful. Even though this is an informal letter, and there are no hard and fast rules, you still need to pay attention to your language here.
You should endeavour to be sincere in your expression of thanks. It hardly does any good to be a smooth talker, or a sweet talker. If you are not really sincere, your letter will only annoy your reader. So be real!
How can you be real?
Mention details, specifics. Explain how their help came at the right time. Explain how bad things were before they reached out to help you, and how they actually improved afterwards.
By all means, do not exaggerate. Remember, you are expressing thanks for what was actually done, and not what was not done! So, closely sticking to the draft, here is how you can go about it:
The help you offered me really came at the right time. My father having been laid off from work, and my mother, not in formal employment, I had seriously no way of sourcing the K 2,000, 000.00 needed to pay for my tuition fees. In fact, things were so bad that the only rational thing seemed to drop out of school and continue next year. So, as you can see, I was in really dire straits.
It was at this time when I was just on the verge of giving up that you stepped in to help me. You were definitely an answer to my prayers, the angel sent by God to rescue me from my woes. I am truly grateful for having a wonderful friend like you. Few people on Earth will step out of their way to help someone like you did, and for that, I feel I owe you a lot.
I will certainly ensure that the help you’ve rendered to me goes all the way. I will put in my all and won’t disappoint you. Thanks for believing in me.
My dearest Charles, words don’t seem to be enough to express how thankful I really am, but I am really, really grateful and I will forever be. May the Lord continue blessing you and being with you.
Having finished our thank you letter, let us put it together. Check it out below:
Informal Thank you letter Sample
Now note the length. It is generally ideal that a thank you letter should not be too long. One page is fine. The danger of making it too long is that it might just cease being a thank you later anymore. You might be tempted to add other things. But of course, there are no hard and fast rules, but in practice, keep it short.
Note too the complimentary close:
For a thank you letter, I would recommend a complimentary close that is a bit less than formal, even though of course you are writing an informal letter. You need to be friendly, but serious to a certain level.
Here is a summary of what constitutes an informal thank you letter.
Always remember this, and you are on you way to writing cool thank you letters.
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