Communicating in a language that is not your native language can present several challenges, especially when it comes to written expressions. Knowing how to start and end a letter in a foreign language is important because it indicates your familiarity with the language and culture. As in Spanish, German also has conventional phrases to end a letter. Read on to learn more about how to end a letter in German.
Part 1 of 3: Choosing an Appropriate Closure
Step 1. Write a friendly and polite line before the actual closing sentence
You may want to thank the reader for their time, say you look forward to their response (in a formal letter), or simply say that you miss them (in an informal letter). Keep in mind, the next three suggestions are formal while the last three are informal. Here are some ways to end your letter before the closing phrase:
- Ich bedanke mich bei Ihnen im Voraus: I thank you in advance.
- Ich würde mich freuen, bald von Ihnen zu hören: I hope to hear from you soon.
- Für weitere Auskünfte stehe ich Ihnen gerne zur Verfügung: I am available in case you need additional information.
- Ich freue mich auf Deine Antwort: I await your answer.
- Bitte antworte mir bald: please reply soon.
- Melde dich bald: get in touch with me soon.
Step 2. Choose a formal closing phrase if you determined that your letter is formal in nature
Here we give you the ones that are most commonly used. Keep in mind, the first closing sentence should only be used for very formal occasions:
- Hochachtungsvoll - From my highest consideration (or respect)
- Mit besten Grüßen: best wishes
- Mit freundlichen Empfehlungen: friendly greetings
- Freundliche Grüße: Kind regards
Step 3. Choose an informal ending phrase for the more casual matches
The first three closing sentences are reasonably informal while the last four are very informal:
- Freundliche Grüße: greetings
- Mit herzlichen Grüßen: with greetings from my heart
- Herzliche Grüße: greetings from my heart
- Ich drück Dich: hugs
- Alles Liebe: whatever is charming to you
- Bis bald: see you (or write or talk to you) soon
- Ich vermisse Dich: I miss you
Step 4. Sign your name after the final line
The last step is to sign your name and send the letter.
Part 2 of 3: Meeting the audience
Step 1. Take into account the age of the audience
The language is constantly changing and this is reflected in verbal and written communication. With older generations, it is always safer to use a closing closing and a more formal letter structure. With younger generations, you may be able to be more conversational.
A good rule of thumb is to be more formal (yes, even in informal letters) with people 60 years of age and older
Step 2. Establish the number of people you write to
Sometimes your audience will be one person, however, other times you may have to address a group of people. While this point may interest you more when dealing with the body and treatment of the letter, it can also help you further define an appropriate closure.
Step 3. Find out how familiar the recipient of the letter is with German
You can choose a more complex closure if the recipient is a native speaker or has advanced familiarity with the language. However, use a clear and concise closing if your reader only has a working knowledge of the language.
Part 3 of 3: Setting the Tone of the Letter
Step 1. Determine if your letter is formal
If you wrote to someone you don't know well or don't know, your letter is more likely to be formal. It is very important that you take this into account, not only for the body of the letter, but especially for the closing.
Examples of formal situations: When writing to your boss, a co-worker, an organization, and anyone with whom you have had little or no interaction
Step 2. Determine if your letter is informal
Do you write to your best friend or to your mom? Your letter is more likely to be informal.
Examples of informal situations: when you write to your family, friends and anyone with whom you feel very comfortable
Step 3. Understand the spectrum of formality
Once you decide that your letter is formal or informal, it is time to determine the degree of formality. In other words, writing a letter to your boss could have a different closing than a letter to the president. And writing a letter to a person who is important to you could have a different closing than a letter addressed to your mother or father.