How to Write a Letter in German: 69-Word Key Vocabulary with Example Sentences

Do you know how to write a letter in German? No? It’s high time you learn how to craft one!

Learning how to write a letter in German is valuable for a lot of reasons: it’s good if you want to apply for a scholarship, or you’re applying for a job in Germany. Because, believe it or not, Germans still send tons of letters and emails.

They even send faxes!

First, let’s check this video brought to you by Easy German, where they share some key vocabulary for writing letters and emails:

In this blog post, you’ll find key vocabulary related to writing a letter in German, and we’ll also give you examples on how to structure a formal and an informal letter!

1. Key German words for writing a German letter

If you want to write the perfect letter in German, you first have to familiarize yourself the most important words and phrases in German for writing an email or an official letter.

You have to know how you say the sender and the recipient, you have to know what are the most popular greetings in German, and it’s also good to know how you can say goodbye when you’re concluding the letter.

But everything in its own time!

German WordEnglish Translation
die Anredesalutation/greeting
die Betreffzeilesubject line
der Briefletter
die E-Mailemail
der Absendersender
der Empfängerrecipient
die Anredesalutation
die Begrüßunggreeting
der Briefkopfletterhead
der Schlussclosing/ending
die Unterschriftsignature
die Adresseaddress
der Betreffsubject
die Anlageattachment
der Anhangattachment
die Grußformelcomplimentary close
der Postscriptum (P.S.)postscript (P.S.)
die Nachrichtmessage
die Formalitätformality
die Höflichkeitsformpolite form

2. How to write a formal letter in German

You have to keep in mind, that the German culture is different than the US, UK or even the Spanish culture. They follow strict rules, they love structure and they are straightforward, most of the time.

Formatting a formal letter in German also follows a structure.

how to write a letter in german close-up of a postbox in german

Begin with your address at the top left corner, and below it, add the recipient’s address. (Leave a space between the two addresses).

Next, include the date on the right-hand side, aligning it with the recipient’s address. Below the date, write the subject line (Betreff) to clearly state the purpose of the letter.

After this, it’s all about writing the actual body of the letter. And you can use the chunks mentioned in this article to construct it (more on this a bit later!).

To summarize, here’s how you can write a formal letter in German:

  • Your address at the top left
  • Recipient’s address below yours
  • Date on the right-hand side
  • Subject line (Betreff) – in bold, if possible
  • Formal salutation (Sehr geehrte/r or Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren)
  • Professional body paragraphs
  • Complimentary closing (Mit freundlichen Grüßen)
  • Handwritten signature (for physical letters) and typed name
  • Mention of attachments (Anlagen or Anhang)

3. Writing an informal letter in German

Writing an informal letter in German is a bit more relaxed in nature. Still, it has some degree of organization.

Start with your address at the top left corner, followed by the date on the right-hand side. Unlike formal letters, you do not need to include the recipient’s address.

how to write a letter in german with a closed envelope on a table

The biggest difference compared to a formal letter is the language you use. You can use German slangs, a casual salutation, and keep in mind, that you’re probably messaging some of your friends or acquaintances.

Here’s how you structure an informal German letter:

  • Your address at the top left
  • Date on the right-hand side
  • Casual salutation (Lieber/Liebe [Name], Hallo)
  • Conversational and personal body paragraphs
  • Friendly closing (Liebe Grüße, Viele Grüße, Bis bald)
  • Your name

3. How to start your letter in German

You want the perfect letter, right? Then you need the perfect German greetings. We grouped them by the level of formality.

Formal German greetings used in letters

German GreetingEnglish Translation
Sehr geehrter Herr [Last Name],Dear Mr. [Last Name],
Sehr geehrte Frau [Last Name],Dear Ms./Mrs. [Last Name],
Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,Dear Sir or Madam, / To whom it may concern,
Sehr geehrter Herr Doktor [Last Name],Dear Dr. [Last Name] (male),
Sehr geehrte Frau Doktor [Last Name],Dear Dr. [Last Name] (female),
Sehr geehrter Herr Professor [Last Name],Dear Professor [Last Name] (male),
Sehr geehrte Frau Professor [Last Name],Dear Professor [Last Name] (female),

Informal greetings in German used in letters

German GreetingEnglish Translation
Lieber [First Name],Dear [First Name] (male),
Liebe [First Name],Dear [First Name] (female),
Hallo [First Name],Hello [First Name],
Hi [First Name],Hi [First Name],
Hey [First Name],Hey [First Name],
Liebe [First Name 1] und [First Name 2],Dear [First Name 1] and [First Name 2],
Hallo zusammen,Hello everyone,

4. Learn how to write the body of the letter

After the salutations, it’s time to actually write the most important and longest part of the email or physical letter: the body!

Let’s break it down again by categorizing these common German phrases on the level of formality.

Common formal German phrases

German PhraseEnglish Translation
Ich hoffe, es geht Ihnen gut.I hope you are well.
Vielen Dank für Ihre Nachricht.Thank you for your message.
Mit Bezug auf…With reference to…
Ich möchte Sie darauf hinweisen, dass…I would like to point out that…
Für weitere Informationen stehe ich Ihnen gerne zur Verfügung.I am available for further information.
Ich freue mich auf Ihre Antwort.I look forward to your reply.
GermanEnglish
Ich hoffe, es geht dir gut.I hope you are well.
Vielen Dank für deinen Brief.Thank you for your letter.
Es war schön, von dir zu hören.It was nice to hear from you.
Wie geht es dir?How are you?
Ich habe mich sehr gefreut, von dir zu hören.I was very happy to hear from you.
Lass uns bald wieder treffen.Let’s meet again soon.
Bitte richte [Name] meine besten Grüße aus.Please give my best regards to [Name].
Ich vermisse dich.I miss you.

5. How to end your letter in German

We showed how you have to address an official letter, how you can greet someone, how you should format the body of it, and you also have to know the proper ways to end it.

So, we’ve captured the essence of closing remarks in German!

Formal closing remarks in German

German Closing RemarkEnglish Translation
Mit freundlichen GrüßenSincerely / With kind regards
Mit besten GrüßenBest regards
Mit herzlichen GrüßenWith kind regards
Mit freundlichem GrußSincerely
HochachtungsvollRespectfully
Freundliche GrüßeKind regards
Mit verbindlichen GrüßenWith best regards
Mit den besten WünschenWith best wishes
In Erwartung Ihrer Antwort verbleibe ichI remain in anticipation of your reply
Mit Dank im VorausThanking you in advance

Informal German closing remarks

German Closing RemarkEnglish Translation
Liebe GrüßeBest regards
Viele GrüßeMany regards
Herzliche GrüßeWarm regards
Bis baldSee you soon
Dein(e) [Name]Your [Name]
TschüssBye
Alles LiebeLots of love
Mach’s gutTake care
Bis dannUntil then
Pass auf dich aufTake care of yourself

6. Practice writing a letter in German with Practice Worksheets

You can practice writing letters in German with flashcards. One great flashcards app is Quizlet, or, alternatively, you can check out DuoCards – we made a DuoCards review article to help you decide, too!

And if you want to practice more, now’s your chance! Sign up now, and get access to our Full Practice Worksheet Library:

7. Learn how to write a letter in German with Conversation Based Chunking

That’s not all!

You can learn all of these phrases in German with the help of Conversation Based Chunking, but it’s even better to use it in real-life examples. If you sign up now, we’ll give you templates on how to write a letter in German: both formally and informally!

Plus, we have an essential German chunking list, you can check the best resources to learn German, and even get access to our Full Practice Worksheet Library. And, all of this is for FREE.

All we want in exchange is for you to sign up to our newsletter, and you’ll get more information on this.

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