Expression Use in Letters

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  • Topic: Writing, Season, Japanese language
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Expressions Used in Letters
Seasonal Greetings in Japanese Letters
The difference between written language and conversational language in Japanese is much greater than in English. Japanese letters often use classical grammar patterns which are seldom used in conversation. Although there are no particular rules when writing to close friends, there are many set expressions and honorific expressions (keigo) used in formal letters. A conversational style is not usually used when writing formal letters. Opening and Closing Words

The opening and closing words in letters, which are similar to English's "Dear" and "Sincerely" etc., come in pairs. * Haikei (拝啓) - Keigu (敬具) 
The most common pair used in formal letters. Women sometimes use "Kashiko(かしこ)" as a closing word instead of "Keigu." * Zenryaku (前略) - Sousou (草々) 
This pair is less formal. It is usually used when you don't have time to write a long letter, so that the preliminary greetings are omitted. "Zenryaku" literally means, "omitting the preliminary remarks." Preliminary Greetings

Ogenki de irasshaimasu ka. (very formal) 
お元気でいらっしゃいますか。 
Have you been doing well?
Ogenki desu ka. 
お元気ですか。 
Have you been doing well?
Ikaga osugoshi de irasshaimasu ka. (very formal) 
いかがお過ごしでいらっしゃいますか。 
How have you been?
Ikaga osugoshi desu ka. 
いかがお過ごしですか。 
How have you been?
Okagesama de genki ni shite orimasu. (very formal) 
おかげさまで元気にしております。 
Fortunately I'm doing well.
Kazoku ichidou genki ni shite orimasu. 
家族一同元気にしております。 
The whole family is doing well.
Otegami arigatou gozaimashita. 
お手紙ありがとうございました。 
Thank you for your letter.
Nagai aida gobusata shite orimashite moushiwake gozaimasen. (very formal)  長い間ご無沙汰しておりまして申し訳ございません。  I apologize for neglecting to write for such a long time.
Gobusata shite orimasu. 
ご無沙汰しております。 
I'm sorry I haven't written for a long time.
These expressions or seasonal greetings can be combined in a variety of ways to form the preliminary greeting. The Japanese...
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