You don’t need to be Shakespeare to win the heart of your lady love, or if you’re a woman, you don’t need to be Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker’s character in hit TV series Sex And The City) to nail your man.

Just take the two main characters of Finding Mr Right 2: Book Of Love as an example. Xiao Ye (Tang Wei) and Daniel (Wu Xiubo) are conflicted souls who pour their hearts out to each other in a flurry of correspondences. With one being a gambler and the other, a real estate broker, neither is in an occupation where good writing skills would accelerate their career paths, but they find solace and love in written communication.

Tang Wei as diehard gambler Xiao Ye and Wu Xiubo as successful real estate broker Daniel. (Source: Golden Village Pictures)

Tang Wei as diehard gambler Xiao Ye and Wu Xiubo as successful real estate broker Daniel. (Source: Golden Village Pictures)

So why can’t you? We can’t teach you the art of bending your lover to your will, but we can share what pitfalls you should avoid when expressing romantic feelings in written form.

1. Do not use foolscap paper

Don't bother digging out leftover foolscap paper from your days as a schoolkid - get proper letter-writing paper! (Source: Shutterstock)

Don’t bother digging out leftover foolscap paper from your days as a schoolkid – get proper letter-writing paper! (Image credit: Shutterstock)

It’s not called a love LETTER for nothing. Best handwritten on proper letter-writing paper in good, if not, legible penmanship; sealed (with glue and not just with a kiss, please, for privacy’s sake) and mailed (hand delivery is acceptable), the most traditional love letter makes for the ultimate visual and sensorial experience.

It starts with the windowless envelope catching your lover’s eye as he or she picks through the regular mail. With your name and address handwritten on it, it can only mean that its contents are personal. As your lover eagerly tears/neatly slits it open to fish out its contents, the texture and quality of the paper and how it is folded are the next things which catch his or her attention. So you really don’t want to write it on foolscap paper, unless you and your significant other met in school as underaged teens a la You Are The Apple Of My Eye (2011); in which case love letters written on foolscap and folded into origami cranes or some other animal would be totally adorable.

If you’re adults, though, it just screams “childish” and “cheapskate”.

2. No atrocious grammar

This is an actual e-mail with the offending misused word

This is an actual e-mail with the offending misused word “revert”. Bet you have one in your mailbox too.

Yes, a recent study by sociologists tells us what we already know: Grammar Nazis can tend to be jerks. By extrapolation, you don’t want to be dating a jerk, so your bad grammar and spelling mistakes should help you weed out jerks, right? Well, okay, if you insist on such flimsy logic. But under no circumstance should you misuse the word “revert” (which means to return to a previous state).

E.g. “I will be waiting eagerly for you to write back/reply/respond.” – CORRECT!
“I will be waiting eagerly for you to revert.” – WRONG!!!

Such a line would justifiably evoke the response: “Let’s revert to being just friends.”

3. Leave the acronyms for the office

In Singapore, any word can become an acronym. (Image source: Ministry of Trade and Industry Singapore, via mothership.sg)

In Singapore, any word can become an acronym. (Image source: Ministry of Trade and Industry Singapore, via mothership.sg)

Singaporeans have a pathological affinity for acronyms. It’s not just the civil service; you know that it has permeated every level of our existence when you need to use an acronym when referring to transport, housing, the Government and school. What is wrong with that, you ask. It’s completely unsexy! It smacks of corporate culture devoid of pleasure and intimacy.

Unless the two of you are using shortforms in some sort of secret language you have devised to keep out voyeurs, SPRING should be a season for lovin’, SIN is what you’re thinking of committing with your lover, and for goodness’ sake, if you’re planning to propose marriage in writing, leave HDB out of the picture.

4. Clichéd expressions are just that – clichéd, and tired

Awww. Kudos for the pincushion heart, fake key and tinted flowers. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Awww. Kudos for the pincushion heart, fake key, tinted flowers and neat handwriting. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

“Roses are red, violets are blue…” Don’t you even dare go there.
“Without you, there’d be no sun in the sky…” Serious? Then everyone on this planet will have to live in perpetual darkness if you break up.
“Wherever you go, whatever you do, I’ll be right here waiting for you…” Believe me, only Richard Marx can carry this off.
“Your body is a wonderland…” Please. This is just plain plagiarism.

If you’re not one of those creative literary people who can say “I love you” with allegory and metaphor, leave it – just plain “I love you” never grows old.

5. Use adult terms of endearment

Think before you write. Are you referring to human or puppy? (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Think before you write. Are you referring to human or puppy? (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If I were to, say, donate a dollar to my charity of choice every time I saw or heard someone refer to his lover as “baby princess koochie-koo-koo” or some similarly stomach-churning term of endearment, I might as well sign over my life savings and future earnings to The Smile Mission. As tempting as it is to refer to your girlfriend or boyfriend as a helpless infant or adorable furry pet, kindly accord the proper respect he or she deserves. Sweetheart, honey, dear, darling – are okay.

Sugar? Yes please!

We could go on, but you should really learn from the pros by watching Finding Mr Right 2: Book Of Love. Then come back and comment on what you SHOULD do when writing a love letter!