Since both of us wanted to know how to write emails/requests in the other language, we decided to do our next meeting about that. And how could you do that better than via Email?!
We decided on some phrases and things we would both like to know – like how to book a room, ask if there’s a luggage room and so on – but we decided also that we’ll try to explain some rules within the letters – special grammar or common things in letters.
I send a proper booking request in French to Hanna with the subject and everything in French but of course with the English translation below. She translated it for me into Swedish then and explained some rules and important things when you write a letter.
So you obviously don’t use any ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ things but just start with a ‘Hej’ or if you’re writing a super formal letter just start with your letter without any title and address. That’s really cool because you don’t have to think about the right title and stuff like that.
In French it’s also a bit different because you usually don’t use ‘Dear’ (cher/chère) which is considered informal.
The other thing that is a bit different in French is that you mostly use an introduction sentence before your request for example where you’ve found the information about the hotel.
My favourite phrase in school while writing a letter in French was this one:
‘En vous remerciant de votre aide, Monsieur, Madame, je vous prie de croire à mes sentiments distingués.’
Which basically means ‘Thanks for your help and best regards‘ in a very polite way. But if you don’t ask anything you can also just write ‘Cordialement‘ which means ‘Regards‘. All in all French letters and emails are really polite and I remember my teacher saying that you only get answers if you wrote it formal and correctly enough – but it’s probably different if they know you’re a foreigner.
I also asked Hanna to translate a request for me in Swedish because I’m travelling to Stockholm soon and I need to check at the hostel if we can leave our luggage there during the day until we can enter our room. So I translated it to her in French too, so if she get’s an request like this at the hotel she knows what the sender of the mail wants. I also explained some important things about French letters again.
So our next physical meeting will be on Tuesday (French Grammar).
Med vänliga hälsningar – Best regards – Cordialement – Mit freundlichen Grüßen