I know a woman in Spain which is much older than me, I respect her, however our relationship is very informal. Yes, sí la trato de usted, but otherwise our relationship is very informal and friendly - like my grandmother I could say. How should I start letter to her? I don't want to start (say her name is Carmen Jose - false name):

¡Estimada Carmen!

because it sounds very formal and reserved for our relationship (yes she is 80, but she is Spanish! Very friendly). I also don't want to start

¡Querida Carmen!

because if I look in the dictionary, this is what lovers use, too sweet, and I don't want anything close to that...

So please, how should I start (and also end) the letter? I only found these two phrases which seem to be the opposite extremes!! I need something in between.

How would you write with your grandma?

1 Answer 1


"Querida Carmen" is perfectly acceptable for non-love-related relations like the one you are describing. It's more like "Dear Carmen" than "My beloved Carmen".

I would not use exclamation marks (EDITED from wrong "admiration marks") to emphasize the salutation. If you still use them, please use both the opening and the closing ones. (¡Querida Carmen!)

Letter ending depends strongly on the relation you have with Carmen. "Muchos abrazos" would be adequate for a real grandma, and "Muchos abrazos y besos" too. Do you kiss her like you would kiss your grandma? Do you hug her? If not, just "Abrazos" would do it.

You can complete the ending with personalizations like:

  • (Muchos) Abrazos (y besos) de tu querido Tomas
  • (Muchos) Abrazos (y besos) de tu Tomas
  • (Muchos) Abrazos (y besos) de Tomas

Since you treat her like Usted, maybe:

  • Abrazos de Tomas, siempre su amigo
  • Thank you. What do you mean by "admiration marks"? Didn't you mean "exclamation marks"?
    – Tomas
    Jan 14, 2014 at 14:38
  • Yes, exclamation marks is correct. I messed it up while trying to think in spanish and english at the same time!
    – Envite
    Jan 14, 2014 at 14:41
  • Thanks Envite! :-) What about letter ending, what would you choose in this case?
    – Tomas
    Jan 14, 2014 at 14:44
  • Edited. Really up to you to decide, since it depends on how exactly your relation is.
    – Envite
    Jan 14, 2014 at 14:49
  • 1
    I hug her but not kiss. Then just "abrazos" possibly?
    – Tomas
    Jan 14, 2014 at 14:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.