As a native Polish speaker and teacher, I know how challenging writing a letter or an email in Polish can be. Many of my students struggle with writing letters in this language, especially when it comes to official correspondence, which requires a higher level of language fluency and understanding of Polish cultural standards.
However, like every other language, Polish has its own phrases and expressions to use when writing letters and emails. Once you learn these expressions, writing a letter in Polish becomes easier.
If you’re looking to learn how to write a letter or email in Polish, you’re in the right place! In this guide, I’ll cover the most useful tips to write letters and emails in Polish, and I will provide you with the most common phrases to use in your Polish letters and emails.
So how do you write a letter or an email in Polish? In both cases, you can use the same expressions. However, how you address the person you’re writing to will depend on whether you know them or not and how high in the hierarchy they are.
When writing emails and letters in Polish, it is essential to distinguish between two types: official ones and informal ones.
An official letter is addressed to a person unknown to the author or someone who holds a higher position. The purpose of an official letter is usually to provide the addressee with important information or send them a request.
For example, an official letter may be addressed to the school principal, a supervisor at work, or another institution.
When writing an official letter or email in Polish, stick to the following rules:
Here are the most common phrases to open an official letter or email in Polish:
If you know who you’re writing to but it’s someone you’re not familiar with or who is higher in the hierarchy, start your letter with:
This essentially means “Dear Mr. [Last Name],” “Dear Mrs. [Last Name].” If you don’t know their last name, you can simply say “Szanowny Panie” if you know that your letter with be read by a man, or “Szanowna Pani” if a woman will read it.
If the person you’re writing to is high in the hierarchy and you know their title, use it in your opening.
You can say, for example, « Szanowny Panie Dyrektorze », which means “Dear Mr. Director.” Polish people love to be addressed by their title and take it as a sign of utter respect.
If you don’t know who you’re writing to, and you’re not sure whether your letter will be read by a man or a woman, you can open it with a more universal opening line:
Sometimes, you can also open your letter with « Dzień dobry Panu/Pani » (Good morning Sir/Madam) regardless of the time of day when you’re writing your letter.
Although some people are reluctant to use “Dzień dobry” in formal or semi-formal correspondence, it can be very versatile and replace expressions that seem too formal given the purpose of the letter, such as “Szanowni Państwo.”
An informal letter is a letter we send to friends, family members, or pen pals. As opposed to official letters, informal letters are not bound by such strict rules of creation.
Informal letters usually convey a casual message and express our private experiences and feelings. Therefore, to write an informal letter, you can use the second person singular “Ty” (You).
Here are some useful phrases to open an informal letter or email in Polish:
« Cześć [First Name] » or « Hej [First Name] », which simply means “Hi”, are a very casual way to start an informal letter, for example, to a friend.
Use « Drogi [First Name] » if you’re addressing a man or « Droga [First Name] » if you’re addressing a woman. This means “Dear.”
Use « Mój najdroższy » if you’re writing to a man or « Moja najdroższa » if you’re writing to a woman. This means “My dearest” and would be used when you’re addressing your romantic partner.
To address a group of people that we’re familiar with, such as our friends or our coworkers, the following phrases can be used:
Polish people express themselves with the utmost respect when corresponding with each other. Similar to the way you open a letter in Polish, the way you close it also depends on whether you know the person you’re writing to or how high in the hierarchy they are.
The two most used expressions to close an official letter in Polish are:
You can use them if you know who you’re writing to, but you’re not familiar with them, they are high in the hierarchy, or you’re talking to a group of people you’re unfamiliar with.
You can also finish your letter with more complex expressions, such as “Łączę wyrazy szacunku” (I would like to express my respect) or “Łączę wyrazy poważania” (I would like to express my regards). Then, sign the letter with your name.
For an informal letter, you can end it in many different ways. The most popular expression to sign off an informal or a semi-formal letter in Polish is “Pozdrawiam” (Regards). It’s universal but less formal than “Z poważaniem” or “Z wyrazami szacunku”.
Some other sign off expressions you can use to end an informal letter in Polish are:
« Z góry dziękuję » is another expression that you can use to end a letter, both formal and informal. This phrase means “Thank you in advance,” so you would only use it if you’ve made a request or asked for something in the letter.
These sign-off expressions equally apply to writing emails in Polish.
When writing letters or emails, it is always helpful to know the most common phrases to help you express your message appropriately and effectively. This section will introduce some of the most common ones in Polish.
Let’s look at the most useful expressions to write a formal letter or email in Polish.
The following expressions are used to introduce the matter of the letter:
“Piszę do Pana/Pani/Państwa w sprawie” or “Piszę do Pana/Pani/Państwa w związku z” are two common phrases to introduce the matter of the letter or email you’re writing. They both mean, “I’m writing to you regarding [issue].”
Remember that “Pana” is used if you’re writing to a man, “Pani” if you’re writing to a woman, and “Państwa” if you’re writing to a group of people or you don’t know the gender of the person.
“W nawiązaniu do” means “Concerning” and can also be used to introduce the letter's purpose or to relate to something in particular.
You can use the following expressions to make a request or ask about a particular issue:
The following Polish email phrases are used to communicate a piece of information, deliver news, or state a fact:
Use these common expressions to end the letter/email before signing it off:
The truth is that very few people still write informal letters or emails anymore. However, if you ever need to write an informal letter or email to a friend, family member, or pen pal, there are many common phrases you can use.
Here are a few of the most used informal Polish email phrases:
Culturally, Polish people are very respectful, and it comes across in the way they communicate. They value and respect status and hierarchy.
Therefore, when writing a letter or an email in Polish, be very careful and ensure that you are using appropriate expressions - being too informal in an official letter to someone higher in the hierarchy can come across as rude.
Also, using the wrong expressions to open and close the letter - or not using them at all - is considered a faux pas.
Using the phrases listed in this article and understanding the Polish culture a little more will help you avoid making these mistakes when writing your letters or emails in Polish.