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Writing letters can be stressful to a lot of people…. and even more so when you have to do it in French! Today we will make writing letters in French a lot easier with this simple guide on how to write a letter in French.
In this lesson, you'll learn the words, phrases, and expressions for starting and ending your letter plus tips and examples.
You get an extra lesson on how to write emails in French, too!
To start writing a letter in French, you need the proper salutation and the correct title of the person you are writing to.
For personal correspondence, you can choose between the following scenarios and salutations.
If you know the person, you can use the following:
Cher Monsieur ______
Dear Mr. ______
Chère Madame ______
Dear Mrs. _______
Mon cher Pierre
My dear Pierre
Ma très chère Louise
My dearest Louise
For personal correspondence where you do not know the person you are writing to, you can choose from the following:
For business letters, salutations are very formal and include the recipient’s title as needed. You may use the following salutations:
Monsieur le Directeur
Monsieur le Ministre
Just like the salutations, you will also need to use the correct closing at the end of your letter.
For personal letters to acquaintances or friends that still require a level of formality, you may close it using the following expressions:
Je vous envoie mes amicales pensées.
Works like "Best wishes" but literally means "sending my friendly thoughts to you"
Recevez, je vous prie, mes meilleures amitiés.
Je vous adresse mon très amical souvenir.
Cordialement (à vous)
Votre ami dévoué(e)
Your devoted friend
With warm regards; Warmly
Sincerely; In friendship
Best wishes, All the best
Bien à vous, Bien à toi
À bientôt !
See you soon!
With fond thoughts
Please note that the translations are not exactly the same, but they more or less express the same thought.
For informal letters to close friends and family, you may be very liberal in showing your fondness to the person by using the following informal closing:
Je t’ embrasse (bien fort)
Take note that the above closing expressions are similar to saying "hugs and kisses" or "XOXO" in English. You simply cannot use it to close a letter to, let's say, your boss or the hiring manager in the job you're eyeing.
See also: French text slang and instant messaging shortcuts
Bien à vous*
Je vous prie d’agréer, <insert the same title you used in your greetings> l’expression de mes sentiments distingués.
Please accept,______, the expression of my highest consideration.
Je vous prie d’agréer, <insert the same title you used in your greetings> l’expression de mes meilleures salutations.
Please accept,______ , the expression of my best regards.
*These two are not too formal, and could be used for less formal situations.
Again, please take note that the above translations are more or less the equivalent expressions in English.
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Let’s take a look at two sample letters below. The first one is a personal letter and the second is a business letter.
C’est avec plaisir que je vous écris. L’envie me prend soudainement de vous conter l’une de mes nombreuses aventures...
Je vous envoie mes bien amicales pensées. À bientôt !
It is with pleasure that I’m writing to you. The urge suddenly takes me to tell you of one of my many adventures …
Best wishes. See you soon!
Je me permets de vous écrire concernant l’offre de poste...
Je vous prie d’agréer, Monsieur, l’expression de mes sentiments distingués.
Allow me to write you about the job offer...
Please accept, sir, the expression of my highest consideration.
Of course, starting and ending a letter written in French is just the tip of the iceberg. Here are more tips in writing letters in French.
See also: The ultimate guide to using tu vs. vous in French
Let's face it, writing an email in French is another hurdle you must surpass. Whether you're writing an email to your boss, a colleague, or someone you barely know, you gotta make sure everything's in place before you hit the send button.
No worries to you because we're going to discuss here how to write emails, too!
Like in English, there are also a set of email phrases and expressions commonly used when signing off in formal emails. Aside from the usual "merci" or "merci beaucoup", here are some ways to end an email in French:
Cordially, used like "best regards"
Bien à vous
Yours truly, yours sincerely
Merci par avance
Thanks in advance
Merci par avance pour votre compréhension
Thanks in advance for your understanding
Je reste à votre disposition pour tout renseignement complémentaire
Feel free to contact me for any further information
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Letter-writing is still a necessary skill despite the many new forms of communication available today. I hope this short guide will help solve your woes on how to write letters in French. Hopefully, you learned something about writing emails in French, too!
For the complete lesson on French letters including audio guides and exercises, grab your copy of My French Routine, a complete learning series that you could use to learn French independently from beginner level to advanced.
This particular lesson is part of My French Routine Volume 6: For Advanced Level. Check it out below.
Take note of proper spacing when writing punctuations in French. When writing a sentence with a question mark or an exclamation point, there should be a space before and after it. For example: Bonjour ! Ça va ?
The same applies to writing colons and semi-colons, as well as quotation marks.
Did you know?
La nétiquette refers to the French practice of writing good online correspondence especially emails.
The physical heft of a letter gives the communication a psychological weight that email and texts just don't have. Take out your pad and paper.
Whether you are departing a company on good terms or can’t run fast enough out the door, it may be wise to write a letter of resignation. This type of document formalizes your intention to leave the company and the reasons for your departure. Following these writing tips will smooth out the process of leaving.
A resignation letter is an efficient way to send the same document to numerous departments keeping all relevant parties well-informed of your departure.
If the document is polite and straightforward, your manager will be impressed with the gesture and thankful for this information. So long as it is constructive, it may even bring intangible benefits to your career down the road, such as potential letters of recommendation, positive appraisals via word of mouth, and may even help you return to the company.
If you are certain you will be leaving your company, let them know at most two months in advance and at least two weeks. Remember to write out “two weeks’ notice,” not “2 weeks’ notice.”
You can have a private meeting with your manager where you share your plans, followed by a formal letter to make it official. In the end, do what you feel comfortable with.
Make sure that your exit is known by all key stakeholders, including your manager and HR. You need to take the initiative to communicate to each department, so don’t assume everyone will be on the same page.
We recommend that you write a civil, succinct letter that contains the following:
Include the date when you submit the letter on the top left line above the address.
The address should follow a formal business letter template. Use the company name on the first line, followed by the street address, city, and ZIP code.
The addressee is usually your manager — you can use their first name. If the situation calls for it, you can address a larger audience such as unit, team, department, or the whole company.
You must make it clear that you are resigning from the first sentence.
A clear departure date is necessary as it lets your manager strategize the path forward.
In this section, employ your diplomatic chops and provide a reason for your departure. Acceptable reasons can range from general health concerns, spending more time with family, relocation, career change, and much more.
Keep in mind that this document is usually not the best method to express dissatisfaction with your company. You can metaphorically nail 95 grievances to your boss’s desk by detailing areas of urgent reform but think hard about the pros and cons of delivering such a letter.
Make sure to end the letter by thanking your manager and if you feel grateful, acknowledge the opportunity they gave you.
If you submit a hard copy of the letter, sign above your typed name. A typed name suffices as an online resignation letter.
If you are resigning and a seeking a job, check out our popular resume builder.
A letter of resignation is a functional document that can be used in many exit situations. Usually, the document signifies that your time in the position will come to a close in the coming days. Be prepared for all situations and tailor your letter to match the situation.
Writing a cover letter is a key part of the job application process.
A great cover letter will impress potential employers, set you apart from other applicants, and get you more interviews. A poorly written cover letter will hurt your chances of landing any work at all.
Don’t write a bad one. Learn how to write a cover letter for a job, so you can create a complete application that resonates with hiring managers everywhere. Follow these simple instructions, and you’ll be able to assemble the best cover letter possible.
Table of Contents
In short, a cover letter (sometimes called a covering letter) is a one-page document written to express why you’re the best candidate for a particular job. It is always paired with a resume, and should:
A strong cover letter is also an essential part of a job application. A well-written cover letter can get you interviews even if your resume is lacking. A bad one, however, can make you look unprofessional and hurt your job prospects.
If you’re applying to a company that isn’t advertising any job openings, send them a letter of interest instead of a cover letter to ask about potential employment opportunities.
Although a cover letter is brief, a good one packs a punch. If you write yours well, it can:
Check off these five boxes, and your covering letter will be a compelling, powerful companion to your resume.
Our business letter format guide covers letter writing of various types in great detail, in the event you need more than just a cover letter for your job hunt.
If you’re curious what to include in a cover letter, this handy chart breaks things down nicely:
Contact Information: Basic cover letter for a job info includes your details + those of the target company.
The “Intro” Paragraph: Your cover letter introduction should grab the reader’s attention (in a good way).
The “Body” Paragraphs: A good cover letter has body paragraphs that showcase your abilities & how you fit into the company’s future.
Call-to-Action: The best cover letter CTA lets the hiring manager know when you’re available to interview, and that you will follow up if necessary.
The Sign-off: A cover letter closing should consist of “Sincerely,” “Regards,” or “Best Regards,” + your name.
If you want to see what a cover letter for a resume should look like, browse through our cover letter examples. We have over 100+ from a wide range of industries.
Not sure what to write in a cover letter? This simply written cover letter guide will help you land more interviews.
First, you must know how to address a cover letter.
Start by including the employer’s contact information as well as your own. Be careful here – a small slip-up could send your application to the wrong place. Needless to say, this diminishes your chances of getting called in for an interview.
While this example demonstrates the information you need to include in the section, there are various ways to format it. Just make sure the information is complete and correct.
Next, find out towhom you’re writing.
Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. Would you rather be addressed as “To whom it may concern” or by your actual name?
Even worse, writing “Dear Sir or Madam” makes it sound like you’ve just popped out of a time machine from Victorian England.
Writing a good cover letter greeting sometimes takes a bit of research. So do it. Look through the company’s website, scour LinkedIn, and make a call to ask for the hiring manager’s name if it’s not readily apparent. Even if you end up addressing your cover letter to the wrong manager, it still looks like you’ve made an effort.
Looking for more cover letter tips? You’d be surprised at how much work can go into a one page document.
You want your cover letter introduction to stick out for the right reasons, and to reflect your application in the best possible light. It all starts with your first sentence.
There’s no need to get fancy here. The first sentence of even the best cover letter should simply include,
Your opening line is like a firm handshake — a formality, but an important one nonetheless. You’ll have time to elaborate on what you bring to the table later.
The rest of your first paragraph should concisely present your background. Information like your degree, area of study/expertise, career goals, and relevant experience can be touched upon, particularly in terms of how they align with the goals of the company.
Don’t be afraid to let a little personality shine in this paragraph, either. Just remember that serious companies might not share your sense of humor, and that a good cover letter should always keep things appropriate.
The second paragraph should directly respond to the job description posted by the company. Use this space to explain how your previous work experience, skills, and abilities will allow you to meet their various needs.
To make sure this section resonates with the hiring manager, you can (and should) literally include words and phrases from the job description.
The second paragraph is the “what you bring to the table” portion of your cover letter, so be sure to take your time and make it great.
You’re allowed to talk yourself up in your covering letter, so long as you have the evidence to back it up.
In your third paragraph, explain how you personally fit into the company’s future. Paint a clear picture of the ways you can help push the company forward and achieve any goals you suspect they have.
You’ve already proven that you’re a capable candidate in the second paragraph. Use the third one to illustrate ways you’ll take those capabilities and help the company grow and reach new heights.
Your cover letter closing paragraph should set things in motion, and push the hiring manager toward contacting you. This is best achieved by including a “call to action” (CTA).
In your CTA, inform the employer that you’d love to come in for an interview. Tell them that you’ll touch bases within a week if you don’t hear back. Thank them for taking the time to read your cover letter, and for the potential interview opportunity.
It’s important to not come off as too pushy, but you want to have conviction as well. A good cover letter sign-off will stick in the mind of the reader, so make sure yours has the tone you’re trying to convey.
If you’re worried about your background when writing your cover letter, understand that you aren’t the only one. Many job seekers have particular situations that may seemingly hurt their chances of landing work.
Thankfully, there are ways to downplay these situations with a good cover letter (although you might still need to address such issues during an interview). For example, if you want to transition to another industry, you’ll need a career change cover letter.
Here are several examples of scenarios that might cause a hiring manager to second guess your cover letter. If one applies to you, click on the corresponding link to learn more about ways you can handle it. Don’t let your particular situation become a roadblock in your efforts to secure a great job.
Tying the content (and look) of your resume into your cover letter is a great way to put a cherry on top of your application.
First, you can cover resume content in the body of your letter (a strategy that may have led to the misnomer ‘cover resume letter’).
To do this, elaborate on one of your more impressive work feats, or touch upon a relevant achievement that you had no space to explore on your resume. Just be sure to keep things consistent between your resume and cover letter, or it might get confusing for the hiring manager.
You can also make your resume match your cover letter in terms of aesthetics. Here’s an example of how it’s done:
Although the content of your application holds the most weight, it doesn’t hurt to catch the eye of whoever is vetting your resume cover letter combo. Visual elements can make your application more memorable, and end up being just the pushyou need to surpass an equally qualified candidate.
Other than the on-page content, your cover letter format plays the most important role in the success of your letter. Elements such as margins, font size and style, and alignment all factor into the hiring manager’s overall impression of you.
Here are a few quick tips when styling your own:
Many people aren’t sure how long a cover letter should be, and get caught up in minor details like word count and paragraph length. While these points are important, remember to prioritize the content and tone.
With that said, the purpose of your cover letter is to market yourself to a busy hiring manager. Too much text will most likely hurt your chances, and too little text will make you appear as if you don’t care much for the position.
So an effective cover letter length to go with (if you’re using a word counter) is 200-300 words. It should also be threeto four paragraphs, and NOT exceed one page. This gives you time to introduce yourself, hit upon your main selling points, and inform a hiring manager of your interest in the position.
Writing the best cover letter will be a much easier task if you look at some examples and templates first. Check out your industry-specific cover letter sample on our hub page, download it for free, and read up on writing tips to make your own cover letter stronger.
Then, download one (or several) of our free professional cover letter templates. They come in a variety of styles and colors, so be sure to find one that you feel most suits you as a job seeker.
In the gallery below are a few examples of our popular templates being used by actual applicants.
You’ve made it this far, which shows you’re dedicated to creating the most professional cover letter possible. More interviews and better jobs await you.
Resumes, cover letters, interviews — they’re all a small part of the bigger picture. The big part is getting paid. So get paid.
Did we miss anything? Leave a comment (or several) below, and our team of career experts will get back to you soon. In the meantime, you should check out our new and improved cover letter builder and see how it compares to other examples out there. We’re pretty sure you’ll be impressed!
Geoff Scott is a hiring manager at Resume Genius, where he enjoys sharing the freshest job hunting tips of the day with RG’s international audience. Equipped with a Master of Arts degree from the University of Nevada, he... more
Nowadays much of our correspondence is done electronically, but that doesn't mean letters don't still get written. Today's lesson will teach you how to write both .
● Writer’s address should be in the top right-hand corner
● Date should be written below writer’s address
● Recipient’s name and address below that on the left-hand side
● Use the correct opening (Dear Sir / Madam, Dear Mrs Ferguson, etc)
● Use Standard English
● Opening sentence should explain the purpose of the letter
● Each paragraph should make single specific point
● Use an appropriate formal tone and register in the wording of the letter
● Avoid contractions, slang, and abbreviations
● Concluding ‘action point’ paragraph states what you want the recipient to do
● Formal ending, such as Yours Sincerely or Yours Faithfully
A Note on Salutations
If the student knows the intended recipient’s name, start with Dear Mr. / Mrs Surname and end with Yours Sincerely. If they don’t know the recipient’s name, start with Dear Sir / Madam and end with Yours Faithfully.
Use of Rhetorical Devices
As mentioned, formal letter writing focuses on attempting to convince someone to take some course of action or other. To do this it is helpful to employ some rhetorical devices to make the writing more persuasive. Some useful techniques to encourage your students to employ include:
Direct Address: Using the pronoun ‘you’ in a formal letter makes the reader feel that you are speaking directly to them. This helps to engage the reader and encourage them to continue reading the letter.
Emotive Language: Where students are trying to convince the reader to take a course of action, the use of emotive language can often be a powerful tool. Students can use either positive or negative colored words to create the desired response in the reader.
Facts and Figures: Another way to persuade and convince is to employ facts and figures to support the points made in the letter.
Learn how to write a formal letter. Planning tools, video tutorials, writing prompts and teaching ideas for English teachers, students and parents.