by Heytutor Blog
I'm an experienced writer with 10+ years writing experience. Topics include; Educations, Politics, Technology & Other

Have you ever received a gift from grandma and you wanted to send her a wonderful thank you letter letting her know just how much it means to you that she would take the time, put in the money, and send something to you? Have you ever had to send your taxes in by mail and needed to know how to get those important documents safely to the destination without any issues? Have you ever had a pen pal across the world that you exchange letters with, learning about each other’s cultures and what it’s like to grow up on another part of the world? There are so many reasons that you might want to send a letter to someone, but there are specific rules to follow to make sure that the postal service gets your piece to the right place. There are multiple different parts to addressing an envelope, so let’s break it down step by step.

So first, you want to start with writing the letter. Addressing the letter is a process in itself. Starting out, you want to know the audience that you are sending it to. Is it to a buddy? Is it something professional? Is it a prank letter that tells someone that they contracted an STD and makes them think that they are going to have some uncomfortable issues down below? That might change how you start things off. In most professional letters, such as a cover letter that you send with a resume on a job application, you want to put your name and address at the top of the page because that is proper letter address format. Otherwise, you would want to start the letter with a salutation, usually the word “Dear” followed by the name of the individual that you are addressing. Otherwise, you might say “Hi,” “Hello,” “Is it me you’re looking for?” Once you have told that person that this is for them (because, hey, maybe the janitor at work picks this up and thinks that this letter is for him), you want to write whatever it is in the letter that you want to write.

Let’s say that you want to write a letter to your grandma thanking her for the sweater that she knitted for you. Now, you recognize fully that you hate the sweater. It is an incredibly itchy sweater and it needs to be special washed every time you wear it. It is very obvious that you will throw it in the closet and never wear it ever, save for one time where your grandma comes to town and you happen to notice it in the closet and realize that she would be so happy if you wore it. She only has so much longer, so you decide to suck up the uncomfortable itching and just deal with it for the sake of grandma. Well, in writing that letter to her, you want to make sure that you avoid telling her that you are not going to wear the sweater. I know that you probably learned not to lie, but this is one of those cases where a white lie or omitting some truths could really benefit your relationship with your family. Try to avoid saying something like, “I hate this sweater, but thanks anyway.” It might seem like a thank you, but it really sounds ungrateful and it is not a good look.

Once you finish writing the body of the letter, you want to sign off to let the person know it was you and that there is not extra letter for them to read on the back of the sheet. It is a nice gesture to tell people that the letter is finished and that you are the person it was from. So you start with a closer, usually saying, “Sincerely.” Otherwise, the person might read the letter and think, “This joker is not taking what they said sincerely and I should just disregard everything that I have just learned. This is madness and I hate this author for wasting my time with this insincere nonsense.” So just start with a “Sincerely.” You can even get away with a “Best” or a “Thanks.” Then, you write your name beneath and you sign off. You can also sign your name here, but there are some things you want to think about before you do so.

Is your signature something that someone can read? I started off writing my signature as the perfect cursive version of my name, but I always saw my dad and my brother write their signatures as the first letter of their names and a squiggle following. If you were to only see that, you might never know who wrote the letter. When I was in fourth grade, I had a classroom activity where we had to sign our names a lot on other sheets of paper and I thought it would be cool if I tried out a new way of writing my signature. People in class tried to read the name back afterwards and they couldn’t understand who the person was. They went to the teacher and he was confused as well. He asked the class who was going around writing their name like this and I copped to it. He sat me down and explained that maybe I could find another time to test out a new signature. So the point of all of this is that some people get lazy with their signatures or get too clever and you might not realize that the person you are sending something to is not going to be able to understand what you write. That is why it is good to print your name first and you can sign it also.

After all of this is done, you are ready to get to the step of how to address an envelope. It is a good idea to start with just the envelope and not stuff the letter in just yet because your pen could bleed through the envelope or leave an impression on the letter that you are better off avoiding. In taking the envelope, you want to make sure that you are writing the address on in proper envelope format. There are three areas to focus on, including the top left, top right, and middle of the envelope.

I find that it is best to start in the top left of the envelope, especially if you are right-handed. That way, the side of your hand does not have to rest on the ink when you go back to it, which can cause the ink to smudge onto your hand. The top left part of the envelope is for the return address. This is so that if there is anything that goes wrong with delivering to the address you specified, like the person moved or the building does not exist anymore, you will not lose everything that you wrote in the letter. In this space, you put your own address down (and sometimes your name if you also want to let the letter receiver know who is sending the letter before they open it up). This way, if there is an issue, the post office will send that piece of mail back to the return address that you specify.

In writing the address, which you will need to know again for the middle portion, there is a specific format to how addresses are written. Starting off, you want the first line to consist of the name of the person receiving the letter (or sending the letter if this is the return address). If the name is of a business, you can write the business name instead. If it is meant for a person at a business, you might write the business name followed by “c/o” and then the name of the person. The “c/o” denotes “care of,” which essentially means to send it to that person at that business. Another way to write it would be to write the name of the person and then go down to the next line and write the name of the business. Switching lines down to the next line, you are going to write the street address. This consists of a number for the house or building on the street and then the name of the street. Some cases, you might have a suite or apartment unit number, which you can also write on this line or go one line down to give it its own line. In some cases, you might have a PO Box instead of a street and this is where you would write that instead. Dropping down to the final line, you are writing the city, state, and zip code information. The city is written, followed by a comma, the abbreviated state, and then the zip code.

After you write the return address, you use this same format to write the address of the recipient in the exact center of the envelope. It is a good idea to visualize the address first before writing it to plan out how much space you need. If the address starts to move away from the center, it looks sloppy.

In the top right of the envelope, you put a stamp. The price of a stamp varies, but you can buy forever stamps, which are locked in at the value of whatever a stamp will be forever.

After all of this, all you have to do is fold your letter up, stick it in the envelope, seal it, and put it in the mail. It’s as simple as that.

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