How to Address a Letter

If we talk about writing a letter in English language, then there are a number of conventions about how to address a letter. Many years back when the use of modern technology was not so common people usually communicate through letters. And pay a lot of attention to get knowledge about writing a letter in a proper way. Even today letters are considered for communication between different organizations as well as for personal communications. So for the sake of knowledge let’s discuss how to address a letter in a best way.


What is a Letter?

Letter is basically a written message on a paper that can be written by hand or can be print via printer or typewriter. Usually it is kept in an envelope and send to the recipient through online mailing system or manual posting. Letter is a written conversation between two groups or organizations.

Although electronic communication such as messaging, email, and texts are usually practice but still letter are write for formal communications such as job approval letter, letters from bank, or letters to lawyers etc. So it is important to understand the basic format of writing a letter either formal or informal.

Kinds of Letters

Generally, there are two basic types of letters one is formal letter and the other is informal letters. But on the basis of different contents, purposes, or formalities there are few more types of letters. Let’s talk about few basic types of letters:

Formal Letters: It is professional letter that follows specific pattern and rules. These letters only address the direct issues. Unnecessary and usual greetings are not written in it. Business letters and letters that are written to concerned authorities come under this category.

Informal Letters: They are used for personal communication. No specific rules or patterns are not followed in it. Personal information or meet and greet are written in this letter. These letters are basically written to family, friends, colleagues or relatives.

Business Letters: These letters needs to follow some basic set of rules and patterns. They are written for business quotations, claims, complaints, or for any order. These letters contains commercial information.

Official Letters:  These letters are written to share official information between offices, sub-ordinates, and different branches. Official information are related to dealings, events, timings, policies, rules and regulations, procedures, and conventions. They come under formal writing and follows specific set of rules and decorum.

Employment Letters: The letters that are related to employment such as appointment letter, job application letter, job promotion letter, job transfer letter, or job resign letters are related to employment letter.

Circular Letters: A letter that is circulate to a number of people for conveying an important information such as address changing information, or change in management are known as circular letters. In this process a same letter is circulate to many people.

Social Letters: They are special purpose letters that are personally written for any event or special occasion. Such as a letter for condolence, a letter to congratulate someone, or a letter to invite someone all of these are social letters.

How to Address a Letter:

Ways to Address a Letter

  • Your Address
  • Your Phone Number
  • Your Email
  • Current Date
  • Recipient Name
  • Title for Recipient
  • Company Address of Recipient
  • Phone Number of Recipient
  • Email of Recipient

Basic Tips to Write a Letter

Tips to Address a Letter

After knowing the types and importance of writing a letter, let’s now discuss few valuable tips to write a letter:

Type of letter needs to be identified:

Of course this is the first step to write a letter. You should know the type of a letter that is discovered on the basis of the person whom you are writing this letter and the information that is conveyed. For example if you are writing a letter to your old friend to spend holidays with you then this would be an informal letter but if you are writing a letter to your school principal for re-admission then this would be a formal letter.

Starting and ending of letter should appropriate:

Opening or starting of a letter is a most important part. When you write a formal letter you follow specific format and structure. And informal letter could be start according to the writer choice either by person’s name or any informal style of greeting.

At the end, ending of formal letters could be done by using the words like yours sincerely, yours faithfully, or yours obediently. While the ending of informal letters depends upon your personal choice yours friend, or yours well-wisher.

Focus on the main content:

It is most important factor when you are writing a formal letter. Make sure that you get the main point or key content as soon as possible. To clear the purpose of writing a letter should your main focus. So try to immediately get attention of the reader by explaining the reason quickly and shortly.

Appropriate language:

It is always recommended to use polite and civil language in a letter. Use careful and respectful language in all sort of letters. Even if the letter is about a complaint then the complaint should also be addressed in a courteous manner. It effects the ultimate results and replies that you are assuming from the recipient. So be nice when you are writing a letter for any cause.

Size of a letter:

The size that is related to the length of the letter is another important aspect of a letter. You should keep in mind that generally the content of the letters is precise and to the point. The length varies accordingly such as informal letter are long and informal letters are short and precise. In formal letters as soon as you succeed to convey your message to the reader or recipient, you will get positive outcomes. In this regard length of letter matters a lot so be precise and accurately describe the reason or message.

Write the addresses and date:

It is necessary to understand that how to address a letter. Basic elements that are written for formal address are:

  • Your Address
  • Date
  • Recipient’s Address

Different people use different conventions to write date and addresses on a letter. Addresses that include return address and address of a person whom you are writing a letter should be written on a letter’s envelope properly. Similarly dates are necessary to mention on a letter that are written either right or left corner of the paper.

Address a letter