I've recently got a lot of emails from people - non native speakers of English - asking me to explain how to compose an informal e-mail. Here goes.
Jack has received an email from his friend Alice who has moved overseas for her new job. Here's Alice's email:
Thanks for your email. It sounds like you're having a great time in London.You asked me to tell you about my new job, so here goes!
Well, for a start, the company I work for now is quite big. There are about 1,560 employees but there's only one guy I really like to hang out with. His name is Peter and he is a pretty cool guy. He's asked me out twice so far and I'm beginning to really fall for him. I'm getting on well with my boss at the moment. I have to ! I'm his executive secretary,you know. He seems to be a really nice man, yet he tends to be rather unreasonable at times! Ah well, I'll survive. Paris is an amazing city which I hope to explore in my free time.
What's up with you? Write soon and tell me everything. I miss you and hope to see you soon. Can't wait to hear from you.
PLAN - INFORMAL EMAIL
1. Greeting : Hi / Dear.....(+first name)
- thank your friend for his / her email and say why you're writing
- make sure you answer all of your friends questions
- ask what your friend is doing
- express hope to see him/her soon
4. Signing off:
- Lots of love
- Your friend
followed by your first name.
- it was great to hear from you (hear from someone = have news)
- I was very glad to catch up with you (catch up with someone = learn someone's news)
- Sorry for the delay to get back to you but I've been really busy lately. I'm jammed up with work. (=too much work)
- You asked me to tell you about _____ so here goes!
- What's up with you?
- What's happening with you?
- I miss you.
- Write soon.
- Can't wait to hear from you.
- Hope all's well with you and yours.
Use an informal, chatty language but avoid electronic language (e.g. how r u? what's 4 dinner tonight?). This is definitely not English!