How to address a letter

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Addressing a letter is different from the way you address an envelope. To address an envelope for instance, you need to ensure that the address is centrally located at the back of the envelope and you must clearly write the names of the recipient, as well as the address or final destination, this should include the proper codes, in order to ensure that the letter is delivered to the appropriate address.

The world has changed and people prefer to write and send emails rather than send letters, however, letters will still remain relevant for a very long time to come whether we like it or not and we must address them accordingly. Your handwriting may be superb, but you need to know when to use a formal or informal address on letters. There are different addressing style needed for different purposes, the one you use when inviting people to a party should be different from writing formal business letters or a cover letter for a job CV.

Below are some of the tips that will help you streamline your address on letters and according to the situation for which the letters are intended for.

  1.  The first thing you should keep in mind is the person you are writing to as well as the occasion- these two factors should determine how the letter is addressed.
  2. when writing informal letter to a friend or family member who is close to you, you should make use of a personalized greeting when addressing the recipient. Having a closer relationship with the letter’s recipient will give you the opportunity to be less formal. This also means you salutation should establish a connection between you and the recipient. For instance you can start the address by writing “DEAR AMANDA”. In some cases you can simply skip the title and address the person by their nicknames or first names.
  3. if you are sending a business letter or a letter that requires some formal communication such as invitations to wedding, then you need a formal address format. You need to understand that a formal correspondent with someone you are not really close to will require a formal address format. Make sure you use business contact information on the address section when writing a business format. A typical business letter format should have four sections at the address. On the left corner of the letter, make sure you write your address (the sender), along with your contact information as well as the date. The address should also have a salutation. Take note, if your formal letter, is not business related, you don’t have to include all the sections of the address, but a formal salutation is still important.  In most formal settings, your address should be on the left while the recipient’s address should be located on the right corner at the top.
  4. Make use of the right titles when you are addressing recipients, especially within a formal letter. For instance; instead of writing “Amanda Lee” which is common in informal letters, you should write “Mrs. Amanda Lee”. If you are writing a formal letter to a married couple, you must address them according to their status. For instance, you must address a couple as “Mr. and Mrs.”, then followed by the man’s name (not the woman’s name). When you are addressing an entire family, make sure you use the family’s last name and that should precede the word “The”. For instance you can write “The Morgans”.
  5. when writing a formal letter to someone occupying a position (a lecturer, clergy, and politician, for instance), you need to ensure that you make use of the appropriate titles. For instance “Dr. Amanda Lee’ or “The Reverend Peterson Munroe”.
  6. when you are addressing a letter with no contact, you don’t have to be too formal. You can start an address with the salutation “Dear Hiring Resource Manager” or “To Whom It May Concern”. These salutations cannot be regarded as completely informal and at the same time they can still be formal enough when addressing people with no address given.

The most important thing to consider before addressing a letter is to consider the relationship between you and the recipient. When writing a letter to someone you are totally unfamiliar with, it is better to write a formal letter, especially when you are considering a favour from the person .It is also important that you make use of all formal components, including salutation and address, when addressing such an unfamiliar person. There are some cases where you still have to write a formal letter even if you are familiar with a person; for instance your father , uncle or aunt deserve respect from you.

Always ensure that the recipient address is located on the left side while your address is located in the right corner, if you are writing a formal letter. Aside from the main component of the letter you need to know how to address your envelope. You should consider the following tips when addressing the envelope;

  1. The return address must be written clearly on the upper left corner of your envelope, alternatively the return address can be placed on the back flap of your envelope. The return address is your address or the sender’s address, or you may want the letter return to another address, hence, you must put that return address. Make sure the final lines of the sender’s address contains the street, country, region as well as the zip code.
  2. The recipient’s address must be clearly written on the front of the envelope, especially in the center and making use of the correct title and salutation format (as written in the letter). The first line should contain he recipient’s title and name, while the second line should contain the recipient’s street address, and the last line should contain the zip code, city and state codes.
  3. Make sure the right type of stamp is used when sending the letter, this will ensure that it reaches its destination on time. The use of inappropriate stamp may mean the letter will be sent back to the sender.

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