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Briefeschreiben - Personal Letters

A Letter-Writing Guide for German

With English-German Personal Correspondence Phrasebook

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Below you will find helpful guidelines and an English-German phrasebook for writing personal letters, email, and greeting cards in German. Also see our Sample Personal Letters and specialized Glossaries on a variety of topics. For business correspondence see our section on German Business Vocabulary.

Also see our Pen Pals category page.

Personal Letter Writing
auf Deutsch
English Deutsch
The Envelopeder Umschlag
TITLES TITEL
Mr - Mrs/Ms - Miss
   These titles are usually not abbreviated in German. German uses Frau for both Mrs and Ms (any woman 18 or older).
Herrn - Frau - Fräulein
   Note the 'n' ending on Herrn, reflecting the understood phrase: an Herrn XYZ (to Mr. XYZ)
ADDRESS (female) DIE ANSCHRIFT (weiblich)
Mrs (Ms) Maria Schmidt
Schillerstrasse 19 (19 Schiller St.)
postal code & city
  (D=Germany, A=Austria, CH=Switz.)
Frau Maria Schmidt (Fräulein if under 18)
Schillerstraße 18
D-23451 Kleindorf
Germany (if writing from outside the country)
ADDRESS (male) DIE ANSCHRIFT (männlich)
Mr Karl Braun
Mozartstrasse 35 (35 Mozart St.)
postal code & city
  (A=Austria, D=Germany, CH=Switz.)
Herrn Karl Braun (Note the n!)
Mozartstraße 35
A-3451 Schöndorf
Austria (if writing from outside the country)
   NOTE: Straße is often abbreviated Str. Other types of streets: Allee (avenue, boulevard), Gasse (lane), Weg (way, drive).
RETURN ADDRESS DER ABSENDER
Sarah Brown
253 Fall Lane
Cactus City, NV 89101
USA (if mailed from abroad)
A German return address (preceded by the abbreviation Abs.) usually goes on the back of the envelope.
On the Envelopeauf dem Umschlag
Air Mail Luftpost (Germany) - Flugpost (Austria)
c/o - in care of
   "John Smith c/o the Meiers"
bei or c/o
   "John Smith bei Meier"
More often: "John Smith c/o Meier"
P.O. Box 12345 Postfach 12345
Registered Mail Eingeschrieben
(postage) stamp die Briefmarke
MORE > Postal Phrasebook
for envelopes and at the post office
Personal Letter Phrases
NOTE: These phrases are only appropriate for personal
correspondence, not in formal or business situations!
English Deutsch
SalutationsAnreden
Dear Maria, Liebe Maria, (female, e-ending)
Dear Hans, Lieber Hans, (male, er-ending)
Dear Maria and Hans, Liebe Maria, lieber Hans,
Dear Dad / Dear Mom, Lieber Vati, / Liebe Mutti,
Dear Friends, Liebe Freunde,
My Dearest Karl, Mein liebster Karl,
My Dearest Maria, Meine liebste Maria,

NEXT > Personal Letter Phrases 2
MORE > German Postal Vocabulary - English-German


Musterbriefe > Sample Personal Letters in German
Musterbriefe > Sample Business Letters in German


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Send a free German postcard or greeting card with your own message.

Commercial Correspondence
Writing business and formal letters in German.

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German For Travelers: The Basics
An introduction to essential travel vocabulary.

Glossaries
All of the specialized, annotated English-German glossaries on this site.

Online Dictionaries
Links for online and print dictionaries and glossaries for German.

Online Translation
Help with translating from or into German.


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