Letter Writing Tips And Hints: Proper Form For Writing A Letter In Spanish

Aside from a few differences, writing a letter in Spanish should be as simple as writing a letter in English.

Spanish writing can be easy to learn because many English words have similar Spanish meanings. However, there are exceptions to the rule that can really complicate matters. False Friends are words that have similar appearances but very different meanings. For instance, molester, which means "to bother" in Spanish, most often has sexual connotation in English. Pretender, which means "one who makes believe" in English, means "to try" in Spanish. Similarly, the Spanish word admirar can be used to describe "one who admires," but is more commonly means "to surprise" or "to astonish." Therefore, one must be very aware of potential double-meanings when composing a Spanish letter, as this method leaves much room for interpretation. Spanish can also differ from English with regards to punctuation. The same English marks are used (!, :, ?, etc), but are arranged differently within a sentence. For example, question marks and exclamation points are placed at the beginning and end of a sentence, but the first is inverted, e.g. "¿Would you like to go out with me?" and "¡I can't believe he said that!"

Aside from these few differences, writing a letter in Spanish should be a simple task. As is the case in English, Spanish correspondence should contain an opening, a body and a salutation. Some examples of proper openings are:

* "Querido, Maria"=Dear John

* "Hola, Juan"=Hello, John

* "¡Buenos diás, Maria!"=Good morning, John!

* "¡Buenos tardes, John!"=Good afternoon, John!

* "¿Cómo estás?"=How are you?

(If you are addressing someone by their title"¦Señor/Mister, Señorita/Miss, Señora/Mrs.)

When composing the body, keep a few things in mind:

* Adjectives often come after the noun in Spanish, so "the blue pen" would be "los pluma azul" Refer to a Spanish to English dictionary for exceptions.

* Spanish words are often designated as masculine or feminine. The feminine form of "the" is la; masculine is el. The feminine form of "a" is una; the masculine is un. Additionally, words ending in "a" are generally feminine and those ending in "o" are masculine. A word's masculinity or femininity can also indicate its meaning. For instance, the masculine form of cometa means "comet." The feminine meaning is "kite." Coma (masculine) means "comatose." The feminine form means "comma," a common form of punctuation.

* Capitalize proper names (when abbreviated) and places but not months, days of the week, book, song or movie titles.

* Sentences with double-negatives ("Can't get no satisfaction") are considered improper in English; there is no such stigma in Spanish.

* Rule for pluralization: If a word ends with a consonant, add es to the Spanish word. If it ends with an unaccented vowel, add s. Y is treated as a consonant in pluralization.

Close the letter in the same way you would in English. Some proper closings include:

* "Con cariño"=With affection,

* "Buenos noches,"=Good night

* "Tu amigo/a,"=Your friend,

* "Muchos besos"=With love

* "¡Escribeme pronto!"=Write soon!

* "Sinceramente,"=Sincerely,

* "Gracias"=Thank you

Miscellaneous English words and their Spanish translations:

* Niña=child (female)

* Niño=child (male)

* Niños=children

* Como=how

* Y=and (conjuncture)

* Fiesta=holiday

* Familia=family

* Amigo=friend

* Trabajando=work

* Navidad=Christmas

* Escuela=school (female)

* Colegio=school (male)

* Mucho=much

© High Speed Ventures 2011