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How to address an envelope?

The header of an envelope is simple. The details of the sender (who sends the letter) and the recipient (who will receive the letter) must written on the envelope to allow the postal service to deliver it. In this article, we read about How to address an envelope?

The sender’s data must be written on the backside of the envelope (which must close and glued), while the recipient’s data must be entered on the front side.

The completed envelope ready to be posted and sent.

But let’s take a closer look, with practical examples, where and how these data should enter.

Fill in an envelope: the backside.

To fill out an envelope from the letter, you need to write the data on both sides of the envelope.

The backside of the envelope is the one that must be closed and sealed, with the typical flap to be glued. Just on the fin surface, it is written the sender’s address, that is, those who want to send the letter.

To fill in the envelope, the sender’s address must include :

  • Name and surname of the person sending the letter
  • Living address
  • ZIP code
  • Country and province code

The sender address can written in one horizontal line, as you see in the image below.

Or you can write the sender’s address in three different lines, starting from top to bottom, as shown in the image below.

It is essential to write the sender data without errors for two reasons.

The first reason is that whoever receives the letter will read them and immediately know who sent them the letter and where it came from.

The second reason is that if the postal service fails to deliver the letter to the recipient, it will return it to the sender’s address.

Fill in an envelope: the front side.

Once the backside of the envelope has filled in with the sender’s details, the recipient’s details must enter.

The recipient’s address must written on the front side, where the stamp must also be applied. To fill in an envelope correctly, the front side must necessarily contain the following elements:

  • Postage stamp (used top right)
  • Possible priority mail stamp (top left)
  • Full address of the recipient (written at the bottom right)

In the image below, you can see exactly where to put the stamp and where to write the recipient’s address on the envelope.

The recipient’s address must as complete as possible and contain as accurate information as possible to facilitate the delivery of the letter.

For this reason, the recipient’s address can more detailed and contain:

  • Name and surname of the recipient
  • Full address (street name, house number, postcode, place name, province code)
  • Country in which the recipient is located (if abroad)
  • Headings and titles
  • Additional information (building name or number, interior, staircase)
  • Telephone number

Classic heading, titles and positions, confidentiality: to whom the letter address

To fill in an envelope, it is advisable to use the correct heading, courtesy formulas, and titles to written on the envelope.

These serve to make the letter clear to whom the letter is addressed, do so appropriately, and show the degree of officiality and confidentiality of the correspondence.

Classic header to address an envelope

For letters sent to people other than family and friends, it is good practice to precede the recipient’s name with the header. This is because we turn to these people for reasons that can be commercial, work, legal, bureaucratic etc.

Let’s see some practical examples of header.

When a company sends a letter and addresses a customer, it usually precedes the recipient’s name:

  • Dear / Dear / Dear (if directed to man or woman)
  • Dear (if directed to a company)

This is the classic header, which alone can sufficient to “head” (i.e., attribute ownership of the letter) to the recipient we are indicating in the envelope.

This standard header is sufficient to indicate to who we are sending the letter.

However, suppose we are sending the letter to a person who is titled. In that case, it is worth adding the respective title or professional position that the recipient holds, especially if we formally approach him as a professional.

Titles and office of the recipient to address an envelope

In addition to the header, it is customary to specify the title held by the recipient to better qualify it.

If the person has more titles, it is a good idea to choose the most important.

So we will have, in ascending order:

  • Mr. or Mrs.
  • Doctor (for Doctor and Doctor)
  • Notary, Lawyer, Engineer, Architect, Professor etc. (depending on the profession)
  • Honourable (if the letter address to a politician)
  • Eminence or Excellence (if the letter address to a religious authority)

A concrete example of a header and title indication is:

Specify the degree of confidentiality of the letter

If the letter contains sensitive data or information reserved exclusively for the recipient, it is good practice to indicate this in the letter.

This is because, often, the correspondence arrives in the hands of the recipient via other people.

This is why the formulas are used :

  • To the attention of
  • C / O (which stands for “care of” and means “delivery by”)

These two formulas indicate a different degree of confidentiality of the correspondence.

“Attn”: when other people can read the letter beside the recipient

It is used when sending a letter to a person who works for a company or organization.

The correspondence will be delivered to the company headquarters and returned to the recipient internally by other people.

This formula is used when the content of the letter is not personal and can therefore also be read by other people before the recipient or in addition to him.

In this case, the following will appear before the recipient’s name:

“C/O”: when the recipient can only read the letter

This formula is used when sending a letter to a company or organization in which the recipient works or to a private residence where they reside, but without a specific address or private address in their name. If the nature of the letter is strictly personal and we want it to be read-only by the recipient, we use “C / O” to formally specify it.

Even if the letter will be received and handled by other people, the “C / O” formula indicates that only the recipient is authorized to open and read the envelope. The delivery of the complete envelope will the person’s responsibility stated immediately after the “C / O”. 

In this case, among the recipient data, we would write as follows:

Strictly reserved to address an envelope

If the envelope contains very personal or sensitive information, you can write the abbreviation unique” at the bottom right under the recipient’s address.

In this way, it will be apparent to anyone who handles the letter that it is confidential. And that it must not open or tamper with until it has delivered.

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