How to Address a Letter (With Template, Tips and Examples)
Updated December 1, 2022
Letters are formal, semi-formal or informal documents for conveying important information to contacts. When preparing one, you typically need to write an address at the top that indicates who your intended recipient is. Learning to address a letter correctly can help show your written communication skills and set the tone for your message. In this article, we explain how to address a letter, provide examples, a template and tips to make an address informative and discuss addressing an envelope.
Why is knowing how to address a letter important?
Learning how to address a letter is important because it introduces you and indicates who the letter's recipient is. As your contacts may receive many letters daily, you want to address yours correctly to get their attention. Addressing a letter correctly can also help you make a good impression on the recipient because it's typically the first aspect they read. For example, including a hiring manager's name in the address shows you researched them before writing the letter.
If you send a letter through an individual or company, you also want to learn how to address the envelope correctly for them to know where to deliver it. For example, if you're sending a physical copy of your letter to someone in another city, addressing the envelope can help the courier know where to deliver the letter.
How to address a letter in four steps
Follow these steps to address a letter to an individual or a business:
1. Start with your contact information
Before you write your letter, keep in mind that you want the recipient to know or remember you. This way, they can better understand the message you want to convey. Writing your contact information is also important if your recipient wants to connect with you after reading your letter. For example, suppose you're applying for a job. Including your contact information helps the hiring manager understand how to contact you if you qualify for the next hiring stage. Write the following details as your contact information in the address:
Your full name
Your company or employer
Your city or province
Your phone number
Your email address
Follow your contact details with a line of space before you continue with the next section to improve readability.
2. Write the date
Next, write the date you sent the letter. Include this information in full by writing the month in words and noting the day and year in numbers. Writing the date is important for record-keeping. For example, if you're writing a letter to apply for a grant, you want to include the date to reference the letter in the future. Leave a full line of space after dating the letter to make the address easier to read.
3. Include the recipient's contact details
Write the recipient's contact information below the date. You can research this person online or connect with a contact individual if you need more information on who the recipient is. For example, if you're writing a letter advocating for an environmental policy, you may contact a local authority or visit the government's website for the information you need. Include the following information in this section:
The recipient's full name
The recipient's title
The company name (if applicable)
The recipient's address
The recipient's phone number or email address
Follow the recipient's contact details with another line of space.
4. Write a salutation
Including a greeting helps to convey your intended tone. For example, if you're writing to a company requesting financial support for a program or event, you want to show professionalism with the salutation you use. Similarly, you can use a personal greeting if you're writing to a contact you met at a social event. Evaluate who your recipient is to determine the appropriate greeting to use. Common examples of professional salutations to consider include "Dear," "Hello," or "Hi."
Follow this information with the recipient's title and name. For example, if you're writing to a physician, you may start with "Dr." More common titles include "Mr." and "Ms." "Mx." is also becoming widely accepted. Confirm the recipient's preferred title if writing it in your letter is important. Otherwise, you may include only their full name. While you may use the phrase "To Whom It May Concern," depending on your letter's purpose, researching the recipient can help establish a connection with them.
Template for a letter's address
Here's a template you can use when addressing a letter:
[Sender's full name]
[Sender's company or employer's company]
[Sender's city, province and postal code]
[Sender's phone number and email address]
[Recipient's full name]
[Recipient's company name or employer]
[Recipient's city, province and postal code]
[Recipient's phone number and email address]
[Greeting] [Sender's name],
Examples of a letter's address
Review these address examples that you can use for individuals and businesses:
Address to a company representative
This example outlines how you can address a letter to a company representative:
Brown Gibson Hills LLC
321 Memory Lane
Moncton NB E1A 0A3
September 24, 2021
Gutyutio Greens LLC
123 Memento Crescent
Miramichi NB E1A 3S3
Dear Mr. Hantiler,
Read more: How To Write Salutations (With Examples)
Address to an individual
This example describes how you can address a letter to an individual:
333 Stampede Road
Calgary AB T1Y 1P9
October 30, 2021
221 Mountainview Street
Reed Deer AB T4N 0X1
Hello John Debray,
Tips for writing an address
Here are the best practices for addressing a formal, semi-formal or informal letter:
Proofread the address and check the order of elements
Check your address and correct all grammar and spelling errors. For example, review company and recipient names to make sure they are correct. You also want to confirm the order of what you included in the address. For example, check whether you wrote your contact number below your name and address. Following the same order when writing your address and that of the recipient is important for maintaining consistency.
Use commas where appropriate
Commas indicate a break in writing. You want to use them to separate related information. For example, you can use commas to separate cities from province abbreviations, although this is not necessary. You do need a comma to separate the day and year when writing the letter's date. Conclude your greeting with a comma before you start writing the letter's content.
Consider using an attention line
An attention line is a description that directs a letter to a specific individual. Attention lines are common in business letters. If using one is important, you can write an attention line below the recipient's contact information. Here is an example of an attention line you can use as a guide:
Example: Attn: Jeremy Yousef
Align your letter and use a suitable margin
Write your address in the letter's top-left section. As the recipient would typically read it from left to right, align the address to the left. Have the margins at one inch on all sides. If you need to adjust the margin, it may be best to keep them under 1.5 inches to allow enough space for your letter's content.
Use an appropriate font for the address
As your letter's font can encourage the recipient to read your message, choose one that aligns with the type of letter you're sending. For example, consider professional fonts, such as Arial, Calibri, and Times New Roman if you're sending a formal letter. Alternatively, if you're writing an informal letter, you can use Serif fonts, such as Georgia and Courier New. Serif fonts have a decorative line at the start and end of each letter's stem. Consider a readable font size, such as 10- to 12-font size regardless of the letter type. You also want to use this font size and font type for the letter's content to ensure consistency.
Confirm the address for accuracy
Before you continue writing your letter, check the address to make sure the content is accurate. For example, you want to confirm the recipient's name, review the contact number you included and check the province abbreviation you used. Also, check that the date you included is accurate and format it properly.
Addressing an envelope
Use an appropriate envelope size for your letter. For example, you can consider a 10-size envelope for a business letter. Next, include the return address, including your name, address, city, province, and zip code, on the envelope's top-left section. Then, write the recipient's name and address. Check that you have enough postage in the envelope's top-right section and follow the best practices for a letter's address when preparing that of the envelope.
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