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Updated by Ruth Papazian on Feb 14, 2015
Headline for The Perfect Love Letter In 10 Easy Steps
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The Perfect Love Letter In 10 Easy Steps

How do you write, "I love thee?" Let The Atlantic count the ways with its "Modern Guide to the Love Letter.”
1

The Paper

The Paper
"Do not employ personal stationery imprinted with your name and address. If your beloved actually needs your name and address on such an intimate declaration to distinguish your note from the others he or she regularly receives, perhaps your relationship hasn’t yet matured sufficiently for your emotions to be immortalized in ink."
2

The Ink

The Ink
“You can write a love letter in any color you like, so long as it is black. It is serious, elegant, and stains more deeply and permanently than anything else. So should your words.”
3

The Length

The Length
“In writing, less is more. Distill your prose until just a few sentences can intoxicate their reader.”
4

The Opening

The Opening
“The addressee's name is superfluous in such private correspondence. If you insist upon a formal salutation, unrestrained adulation may be your best course.”
5

The Body

The Body
“Recipients won’t necessarily be moved by your appeals to their physical parts. If you find yourself stuck, begin with a quotation. Shakespeare is a safe bet.”
6

Metaphors

Metaphors
“Use metaphor, not euphemism. No cute goofiness. No financial metaphors, particularly employing the conceit of what an excellent investment your lover is. Food is a good choice, but be careful. Consider carefully all the implications of the metaphors you strew.”
7

Grammar

Grammar
“Make subjects agree with verbs, and pronouns, with their antecedents. Do not say, “Everyone love their mother, and I love you.” (Actually, there are quite a few reasons not to put that in a love letter.) Proofread. Then proofread again.”
8

The Close

The Close
“Be extravagant. As much as you might mean it, don’t end with “Sincerely,” “Cordially,” “Affectionately,” “All best wishes” or “Yours truly.” Their punctilious formality smacks of someone who wears wing tips to bed. If you’ve done your job up till the last sentence of so intimate a letter, the swooning reader won’t notice the omission of this epistolary convention. Be bold. Skip it.”
9

Signature

Signature
“If you can’t bring yourself to close without a signature, limit yourself to your first initial. And try to be illegible here. There’s no reason to make the job easier for a lawyer someday.”
10

Delivery

Delivery
“Bribe whomever you must to have the letter placed directly upon the beloved's pillow.”