Crafting a Character Letter: How Do You Write One for a Family Member?

Writing a character letter for a family member is often a thoughtful task meant to showcase their qualities and traits from a personal point of view. It should highlight their positive attributes and examples of good character. This guide will provide detailed tips on how to construct this important document.

Who Should Write the Letter

Character letters should come from people who have a close relationship with the person in question. This can include friends, family members, colleagues or someone who has professionally interacted with the person for a long period. The writer of the letter should be able to speak directly about the individual’s qualities.

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What to Include in the Letter

Introduction: Start the letter by describing who you are, your relationship with the person and how long you’ve known them.

Description of the Individual: Elaborate on the person’s positive traits. Include specific examples of these traits in action, not just broad adjectives.

Reference to the Situation: If the letter is intended for a specific scenario (like a job application), make sure to mention it. However, it’s best to concentrate on the person’s abilities and characteristics rather than the context.

Polite Request: End the letter with a respectful gesture, such as ‘requesting leniency’ if it’s a court case, or ‘recommending the person highly’ if it’s for job purposes.

Letter Tone and Length

The tone of the letter should be formal yet heartfelt. Focus on writing a concise, yet detailed account of the person’s character traits. In most cases, the letter should not exceed one page, ensuring descriptiveness while being brief.

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Avoiding Personal Details

When writing the letter, avoid sharing personal details regarding the individual that they may not want to be shared publicly, especially if it’s related to personal struggles or intimate matters.

Proper Formatting

The letter should be typed on standard paper for easy readability and should include your contact details. It should start with a respectful salutation, for example, ‘Dear Judge’ if it’s addressed to a courtroom, or a generic ‘To Whom It May Concern’ if the recipient is unknown.

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Respecting the Rule of Law

If the letter is for legal purposes, it’s crucial to show respect for the process and the verdict. Avoid commenting on the defendant’s guilt or innocence, and steer clear of making any controversial statements that may negatively impact their case.


In conclusion, writing a character reference letter involves thoughtful consideration of the person’s traits and examples that highlight these traits. This serves as a personal insight into the person’s character which can enhance their reputation in the eyes of the reader. Keep it sincere, supportive, and respectful to make the most impact.

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