How To Start a Letter

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First Impressions Matter—Learn How To Start a Letter

Do you need to mail a letter to a friend, send a cover letter to a potential employee, or notify a tenant about the rent increase? If you don’t know how to start a letter the right way, you’ll find DoNotPay’s guide super useful. We will give some examples of appropriate letter openings and teach you how to format your letter to leave a good first impression on the recipient.

to mail your letters online without wasting time buying stamps and waiting in endless lines in front of the post office!

How To Open a Letter to a Friend

While you can begin your informal letters however you want, most people start by including the date of writing in the upper right corner. When it comes to informal greetings, there aren’t any rules that you should abide by. If you want, you can open your letter with one of the following greetings on the left side of the letter:

  • Dear
  • Hello
  • Hi there
  • Hey
  • Ciao

You should follow the greeting word or phrase with a comma. Once you address the recipient, skip a line and start writing the introduction of the letter.

How To Start a Formal Letter

Formal letters are more challenging to write because they require you to follow certain rules regarding the greeting, formatting, and closing. Before you choose the appropriate salutation, you should include the following info on the left-hand side of the letter:

  1. Your:
    • Name
    • Address
    • Phone number
    • Email address
  2. The date of writing
  3. The recipient’s title, name, and address
  4. The subject of your letter (optional)

Skip a line after the recipient’s address—or the subject of the letter—and start off the letter with a proper greeting. Here are some salutations you can use for your formal correspondence:

Very Formal Less Formal but Professional
  • To Whom It May Concern
  • Dear Sir or Madam
  • Dear Hiring Manager
  • Dear Recruiting Team
  • Dear (Company Name) Recruiter
  • Dear Mr./Ms./Dr. + last name
  • Dear + first and last name
  • Dear + name
  • Dear colleagues

If you choose the “To Whom It May Concern” greeting, make sure to follow it with a colon. Other formal salutations should be followed by a comma.

After the appropriate greeting, skip one line and begin the opening paragraph.

The Correct Way To Format Your Letters—Sections To Include After the Greeting

The general rule of thumb is that your letter should be divided into multiple sections and paragraphs to be easier to read. While you can organize your personal letters however you see fit, writing formal letters is a different story. If you don’t compose your business letter the right way, you risk leaving a very bad impression on the recipient.

After you include all of the above-mentioned sections, you should continue your letter by writing:

  1. Introduction—state the purpose of the letter
  2. Body of letter—provide more details to explain your issue, concern, or intention
  3. Conclusion—thank the recipient for his or her attention and politely ask for an answer
  4. Closing—sign off your letter with an appropriate formal closing, such as:
    • Sincerely
    • Cordially
    • Yours truly
    • Regards
    • Kind regards
    • Yours sincerely
  5. Signature—skip a few lines after the closing and type your signature. Once you print the letter, sign it by hand above the typed signature

Addressing Your Envelope—From A to Z

Other than knowing how to begin, structure, and finish your letter, you should also learn how to address the envelope. If you don’t address your letter correctly, the post office might refuse to mail it.

Here’s how your addressed envelope should look like:

Where To Write

What To Write

The top-left corner of the front of the envelopeReturn address:
  • Name
  • Street address
  • City and ZIP code
The center of the front of the envelopeMailing address:
  • Name
  • Title and company (if you’re sending a letter to a business)
  • Street address
  • City and ZIP code

Once you address the letter, place the right number of stamps on the top-right corner of the front of the envelope.

How Much Does Mailing a Letter Cost?

The cost of sending a letter by mail depends on the mail class as well as the weight, size, and shape of the envelope. Currently, the prices of mailing services start at:

  • $0.36 for postcards
  • $0.55 for First Class Mail letters
  • $1 for First Class Mail Flat letters
  • $7.16 for Priority Mail
  • $22.75 for Priority Mail Express

These rates can increase every once in a while, so make sure to check the newest price list before going to the post office.

The Most Convenient Way To Mail Letters Is With DoNotPay!

While snail mail is sometimes the only way to send certain documents and papers, going to the post office doesn’t have to be your only option. If you’d like to avoid crowded places because of the pandemic or you don’t want to waste time waiting in a queue, DoNotPay can help you out!

We have developed the Send Mail product to help our users mail letters from their tablets, laptops, or smartphones.

To send your mail in a few clicks, and do the following:

  1. Open the Send Mail feature
  2. Type in the required info
  3. Upload the file with your letter

DoNotPay will take care of addressing, stamps, and every other annoying detail on your behalf. Your letter will reach its destination up to seven business days after you complete the above-described steps.

Simplify Your Day-To-Day Life With DoNotPay

Why stop at sending letters super-fast?

Our app helps you draft, notarize, and even fax different documents—all from your laptop or smartphone!

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