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How can i start a letter
September 04, 2019 1st Anniversary Wishes 1 comment

Letter of intent for a job is a very important document that you need to know how to write it lest you get disqualified easily on job offers.

How to Begin a Letter

Writing a HeaderWriting a SalutationSample LetterArticle SummaryQuestions & AnswersRelated ArticlesReferences

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With the modern ubiquity of email and social, writing actual letters has become something of a dying art. However, for formal correspondences, official requests, and a variety of other purposes, there's no substitute for a genuine, well-composed letter. Whether you're using a word processor or pen and paper, navigating the etiquette and rules that dictate how to properly begin a serious letter is sometimes harder than writing the letter itself! Luckily, once you know the rules, this process becomes a cinch. See Step 1 below to start learning how to begin a letter.


Part 1

  1. 1

    Write your return address (and, optionally, your name) in the top left corner. Formal letters have somewhat long, detailed headers which contain both your own personal information and the information of the person you are contacting. Provide as much of this information as you are able to. The first thing you should do is to write your address (and/or your name) in the top left corner. Write the address in standard two-line form - in other words, put your street address in the very top left corner and your city, state, and postal code on the line below it.[1]
    • If you choose to include your name, which is not required, put it in the very top left, rather than your address, which will then occupy the second and third lines.
    • Here is a sample of how we might write our name and address:
      John Smith
      21 Jump Street
      Milwaukee, WI, 12345
  2. 2

    Write the date below your contact information. Next, write the current date. Skip a line below your address, then write the date so that it's similarly aligned with the left edge of the page.[2]
    • Dates are written in the form: month, day, year. Always spell out the month of the date, but not the day or year. Here is a sample date of this form:
  3. 3

    Write the "inside address" below the date. Finally, you must specify the name and address of the person you're attempting to contact. This is called the "inside address" because it's the same information as on the outside of the envelope, only inside it instead. Skip a line below the date and write this aligned with the left edge of the page as well. If you know the name of the person you're contacting, lead with this. If not, try to at least include his or her title (like, for instance, "Professor of English Literature" or "Senior Technician"). If you know both, write the name first, then the title on the next line. If you're writing to this person at his or her place of employment, next, write the name of this place. Finally, write your recipient's address on the following lines.[3]
    • Here is an example of an inside address:
      Mrs. Jane Doe
      Director of Stadium Operations
      Wrigley Field
      1060 West Addison Street
      Chicago, IL, 98765
  4. 4

    Consider using an alternate header arrangement. The instructions above aren't the sole way to compose a header in a formal letter. Other options are acceptable as well. The most common alternative to the method above is to position your return address in the top right corner, rather than the top left corner, and to position the date under the inside address, rather than above it. In other words, in this alternative configuration, the return address is in the top right corner, followed by a skipped line, followed by the inside address aligned with the left side of the page, followed by another skipped line, followed by the date.

  5. 5

    For casual letters, simply write the date alone. The above instructions assume you're writing a letter in a formal or business context. If you're simply writing a letter to a friend or casual acquaintance, you may want to skip the pretense of a formal header. If so, simply writing the date in the top left corner is sufficient. After this, you may proceed to the salutation and the body of the letter itself.[4]

Part 2

Writing a Salutation

  1. 1

    Skip a line after the header to position the salutation properly. The salutation is the greeting that begins a letter - "Dear distinguished colleague,", "My true love,", and so on. You have a variety of choices when it comes to salutations, each of which may be appropriate for certain occasions and not for others. Whichever salutation you choose, make sure you align it with the left edge of the paper and leave a blank line on either side of it (in other words, have blank lines between it, the header, and the body of the letter). Note that salutations almost always end with a comma.
    • In the US, in certain business contexts, a colon sometimes substitutes for the comma in a salutation. However, this is rare.
  2. 2

    When in doubt, use "Dear". If you ever have any doubts about which salutation to use, the standard "Dear [Name and/or title]," works wonders. This salutation is suitable for letters ranging from formal to casual and from grave to content. If you include a title, use only your recipient's last name. For instance, "Dear Mr. Smith," is correct, while "Dear Mr. John Smith," is somewhat unusual.[5]
    • For example, we might begin our letter to Jane Doe with the simple "Dear Mrs. Doe,". If we want, we can include her title: "Dear Director Doe,".
  3. 3

    Account for uncertainties about your recipient. Sometimes, it's impossible to know exactly who will be receiving your letter, such as when you're writing to a department of a large institution. In these cases, it's important to make sure that your salutation takes your uncertainties into account so as not to make an unfair assumption about the recipient. Below are some common situations in which you'll need to account for unknowns:
    • If you're unsure of the gender of your recipient, use "Dear Sir or Madam", or simply use their full name (i.e., "Dear Lee Anderson,")
    • If you don't know whether you're writing to a man or a woman, but you know your recipient's title, you may use it instead (like "Dear Professor,", "Dear Senator,", etc.).
    • If you don't know a female recipient's marital status, use "Ms.", rather than "Mrs.", as in "Dear Ms. Norton,".
    • Finally, if you are sending a letter to a business or institution rather than to a specific person within the business or institution, you may want to use "To whom it may concern," rather than a traditional salutation. Some find this salutation undesirable[6] - it is also acceptable to use "Dear [Name of Institution]," though this is somewhat informal.
  4. 4

    Use informal salutations only in casual or intimate contexts. While you'll generally want to stick to "Dear" salutations in most formal and semi-formal contexts, if you're writing to a close friend, significant other, or family member, you can usually get away with informal salutations. Because you're no longer bound by rules of etiquette in these situations, you have a wide variety of options at your disposal. Below are just a few:
    • If you're writing to a good friend or a close family member, you may want to use a nickname or pet name in your salutation ("Dear Gator,", "Dear Fonz,", etc.)
    • If you're writing to a lover or significant other, you can be flowery and affectionate in your salutation, though you don't have to be. "My true love," "Dear Smooshums," and "To my one and only angel," are just as valid as simpler romantic salutations, like simply writing your recipient's name, followed by a comma (i.e. "John," or "Jane,")

Community Q&A

Add New Question
  • Question

    How do I begin a letter to a principal or social worker?

    Begin with Dear Mr. or Mrs. or Ms [name]. If you don't know their name, begin with Dear Sir or Madam. Then state your problem/reason for writing.

  • Question

    What if I have to write a letter to a character in a book?

    If you know the character's fictional address, even just the city, you can include that in the header. Then, start with "Dear (the character's name)" and go from there.

Ask a Question


  • Use a pencil so you can erase any mistakes you have. If you have to use pen, make sure you have white-out handy.
  • If you get frustrated, walk away for a minute to clear your head.
  • Once you have finished writing the letter, you can over the pencil in pen if you wish.


  • Be careful of paper cuts!

Article SummaryX

When beginning a letter, leave a blank line under your header, align your salutation with the left edge of the paper, and leave a blank line between it and the body of the letter. Also, make sure to end your salutation with a comma. When writing your salutation, “Dear” is suitable for a formal or casual letter. If you include a title, use the recipient’s last name, for example, “Dear Mr. Smith.” If you’re unsure of the gender of your recipient, use “Sir or Madam.” To learn how to write a salutation to an unknown recipient, keep reading!

How to Write a Friendly Letter. When getting in touch with a friend, most people will opt for a text or a social media message. Nothing beats a.

How to Write a Formal Letter in French

how can i start a letter

Business English

Top 5 Business Letter Greetings Mostly Used in 2018

Does “Hey” sound too informal? Is “Dear” overly official? It can be a real challenge to start an email, especially when you’re writing a business letter to someone you don’t know well.

If you think that business letter greetings aren’t so significant and there is no need to focus on them, put these thoughts aside. In fact, the beginning of your email sets the tone of your further correspondence. Besides, a proper opening line can help you make a killer first impression on your recipient. It may also motivate them to keep reading.

Barbara Pachter, a business-etiquette expert, considers that a lot of people pay special attention to how they are addressed. In case your greeting offends someone’s feelings, it will undoubtedly affect a person’s opinion of you.

The best way to write an email is to keep your business letter greetings and closings as simple as possible. Of course, it will depend on who you are writing to, but generally, it’s someone you barely know. To help you find a perfect salutation, we’ve gathered the best examples of business letter greetings in 2018. Besides, we added some opening lines that are better to avoid.

The best business letter greetings

“Hi [Name], …”

When it comes to business correspondence, “Hi [Name]” is a clear winner and one of the most used salutations in 2018. Experts say it’s a simple, direct and effective way to address someone, whether you know them or not.

Although it sounds quite informal, “Hi” is one of the best official business letter greetings. By adding the person’s last name, you will keep the appropriate formal tone.

“Hi Mr. Houston, …”

It can also be successfully used in a cold communication when you don’t know a recipient’s name. Feel free to ask a person whether they prefer to be called by their first name or last name.

“Hello [Name], …”

For those who want to add a more formal tone to an email, here is an alternative — “Hello [Name]”. Among formal email greetings, this one bridges a gap between “Hi” and “Dear” providing the right balance between professionalism and a touch of familiarity.

“Dear [Name], …”

Business letter greetings and salutations that start with “Dear” have been used for centuries to address a person. However, nowadays it sounds rather old-fashioned. It’s not wrong to use “Dear” in your email, but it can come off as a too formal greeting.

Use this salutation when you’re addressing someone or sending business documents such as a cover letter to show your respect, professionalism, and politeness. In this case, you can use “Dear” followed by a person’s title (Mr., Ms.) and their last name:

“Dear Mr. Houston, …”

If you don’t know the gender of your recipient, use a full name without a title:

“Dear Alex Houston, …”

Avoid titles that specify marital status — instead of “Mrs.”, use “Ms.”

“Greetings, …”

This is an excellent alternative to “Hi [Name], …” in case you send a business letter to a general email box or don’t know who your recipient is. On the other hand, we recommend doing your best to find out that information.

“Hi, everyone …”

If you’re writing to a group, use this kind of salutation. By the way, it’s one of the most popular official business letter greetings used to address more than one person.

Keep away from salutations like “All”, which sounds rude, or too gender-specific “Ladies” and “Gentlemen”.

Improve your business writing skills — read our latest article “How to Start a Letter and Write a Great Hook”.

The worst business letter greetings examples


Starting the email with “Hey!” or “Hey [Name], …” is a great way to begin a conversation with friends. But when it comes to the workplace, using these casual salutations as the business letter greetings in English is rude and even disrespectful. It’s not professional, especially if you’re writing to a stranger.

“To whom it may concern, …”

It’s the worst sample of business letter greetings you could ever imagine. Upon receiving an email with this kind of salutation, your recipient may think: “This letter doesn’t concern me.” Besides, most people can take it for a cold email and close immediately.  

Even if you have no idea what your recipient’s name is, conduct research to figure it out. For example, you’re applying for the job but don’t know who it’s better to address. In this case, you should find out a name of the company’s hiring manager. Can’t find anything online? Just call the company’s representative and ask.

“[Misspelled Name], …”

The golden rule of business communication is never to misspell your recipient’s name. Many people are instantly getting annoyed if their name is miswritten.

To be on the safe side, always double-check the spelling of the person’s name. You can find their name in the signature block or check the ‘To’ line. People often use their first or last names in the address.

“Hi [Nickname], …”

If you’ve conducted your research and found out that the person’s name is Benjamin, for example, don’t be too familiar to shorten his name to Ben. Addressing a person with his nickname can become one of good business letter greetings only if you’ve already met a recipient or you’ve got a reply with a nickname written after Best regards, Ben.

“Dear Sir/Madam, …”

Why should your recipients be interested in your email if you have no idea who they are? In fact, such formal salutations as “Dear Sir/Madam” show that you’re not interested in recipients and thus, what they need or look for.

Final words

The language of business is constantly changing trying to stay in tune with the modern trends. While a little old-fashioned “Dear” is fading into insignificance, “Hi” and “Hello” are at the top of the list of formal business letter greetings. Keep your business communication on a professional level by choosing the win-win salutations.

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How to Write a Formal Letter to Your Boss

how can i start a letter

Tips How to Write a Letter of Intent for Graduate School or Job

How to write a letter of intent properly

A letter of intent is usually needed when seeking a job, gaining admission to an academic institution or seeking for partnership in business. It is very important that when you write a letter of intent, you should write it well and clearly state out what you are after or seeking. Usually, letters of intent are used as a way of introducing oneself and bringing out that personal interest in one’s application.

A letter of intent when well written gives merit to your application and also provides details on why you are the best person to be considered for the post. It should be sent alongside one’s resume when asked to present one. Letters of intent are about simple to write if one follows a few steps.

They include:

  1. Before embarking on writing the letter of intent, it is advisable to read through all the instructions given, and look carefully at all the requirements for writing a letter of intent and if necessary note down the information required for the said letter. You can visit the company or the academic institution’s official website to check out on the requirements.
  2. Find out about the name and exact address of the person receiving your application. You can inquire about the information you require. When addressing the letter of intent, you need to be as specific as possible.
  3. Note down what information you will need to write in your letter of intent. This information can be your personal details, your past achievements and accomplishments. Include what you are planning to do for the given institution and what your experience can do to improve the latter. Your letter of intent should be as detailed as possible outlining your objectives, the skills you possess and what makes you outstanding from the rest of the applicants.
  4. When you are writing the letter of intent start by introducing yourself. When applying for a job name the profession you are in, the post you are interested in and to whom it may concern. Make sure your letter of intent addresses the specifics. Name the institution or company to which the letter is being submitted to.
  5. State out your qualification. Show your mastery of knowledge in the said field.

Here you should write about:  

  • State your reasons for writing the letter of intent. Give information on how you got to know about the vacancy and why you are interested in the said position.
  • Highlight your accomplishments. Be confident to state your achievements. Tell whoever is reading it, why you are the best fit for the position be it in agraduate school or company. You can use the skills or experience relating to that program. Be authentic and honest too.
  • Praise the institution to which you are writing to. Give reasons to why you chose them over their competitors.
  1. Request for a reply. Show that you are interest for an interview. You need to include your address in the letter so that it can be easy for you to be contacted.
  2. After you done writing your letter, you need to proofread and edit it. Check out for any spelling and grammatical errors. You do this while also preparing the final draft. Make any change where necessary and checking out for repetition. Ensure everything are in a chronological order and is sensible. Make sure you have written down all the requirements.
  3. After all is done its time to submit, your letter. This you have to attach with other documents that are required.

What is a letter of intent?

A letter of intent for a job is sent with accompaniment your curriculum vitae. This is the chance to create a positive impression with your potential employer. For your letter to capture the attention of the reader, it has to be well written. State all your qualifications, experiences and accomplishments.

State your reasons why you are interested in the job and why you are the best option and not the rest of the people applying for the same job. A well-written and presented letter of intent can help you land for an interview.

Proper use of letter of intent format

When writing a letter of intent, there is a template to be followed to achieve the best.

It includes:

Start with a professional greeting. You may need to know the name of the person you are writing to if it is an individual. If they are many people to which the letter is being addressed to you can use a general term for example “to whom it may concern.” If you are unaware of who to address you can call the institution to inquire.

Begin writing your letter of intent by telling the reader who you are and what your reasons are for writing. If you are applying for a job post, say so. Explain your liking in working with the organization and which is your area of interest.

  • State your achievements and qualification.

Mention your skills, accomplishments, awards that you have attained. Highlight your knowledge in the said field. Mention why you are the best choice for them. This is your chance to sell yourself do it confidently but surely. Be honest, it matters.

Show that you are interested in the position they are offering. You can follow up your application if the organization allows it. If not just mention that you are looking forward to their response. Don’t forget to give your contact address.

  • End your letter of intent.

When ending your letter give it a professional touch. You can close by stating “sincerely”. Don’t forget to write your signature.

Example of letter of intent

It is advisable for one to go through different letters of intent samples. This is because you get to see and learn how different people write letters of intent. Look out for several examples be it a letter of intent for a job or letter of intent to gain admission to an academic institution. Reading through different letters of intent has some benefits to those planning to write one in the future. We will mention but a few.

They include:

  • It advances your skills in writing- different people have different qualifications and experiences in different career fields. Reading through the examples helps one to know how to go about writing one. We all want to be the best, so this is the chance to get the idea of writing strong letters of intent.
  • Reading through different examples gives one an overview of what letters of intent is all about. You get hints and tips on what letters of intent contain.
  • It will also help one clearly articulate your past achievements, your goals, and interests. Reading through examples helps one communicate with the reader about what they have achieved and what makes them outstanding.
  • Reading through sample letter of intent helps one know the language to use in writing letters. It will help one improve in their grammar skills and hence prevent future embarrassments.

Below is a letter of intent sample

Elsy Brian

P.O.BOX, 456987,


The principal Texas Academy,

P.O.BOX, 5648987,


June 15, 2018.

Dear sir/madam

I am Elsy Brian and am writing to express my interest in the position of a teacher in your school as listed on your school website. Following my ten years of experience, I have unbeatable skills in both oral and written communication and leadership too. I believe I am the best fit for the position at your school.

With ten years of experience in teaching different students I know, I can nurture well trained and disciplined students who are ready to enter any career field. I have built my teaching career in teaching students to be better leaders and better at problem-solving. I am very passionate about teaching, and I use up to date materials in teaching and also ways of problem-solving. I have won best teacher of the year award three times. I believe my leadership skills; good communication skills place me in a better position to take up the position.

I look forward to hearing from you.



Elsy Brian.

Written samples are very important when it comes to writing of a letter of intent simply because as we have seen, when you go through the work of another writer you get to understand how to arrange your points.

Presentation is very key when it comes to this letter because you are trying to impress your potential employer and make them believe that you are the right person for the job. So, for you to improve, you need to get exposed to different examples and abide by the tips given above.

Have you ever tried to write a motivating letter and sat there, staring at the blinking cursor, wondering how to get started? You're not the only.

Everything You Need to Know about How to Write a Letter

how can i start a letter

A informal letter can be written in nearly any way you choose, but there are a few organizational guidelines you can follow if you are unsure of what to write or how to format your letter. The perfect informal letter consists of three sections:

  1. Opening
  2. Body text
  3. Closing

There is one final part of an informal letter that doesn't need listed here: the signature, which consists of no more than a farewell remark and your name. Learn about each of the three main parts of an informal letter below.


The first step is addressing your reader. But how do you address someone in English?

This is fairly straightforward and is usually not as important as it would be with a business or formal letter. There are still a few things that you should know in terms of addressing someone properly in an informal latter.

First, British English does not employ the use of a period after abbreviated titles, but American English does.

  • Mr Johnson (British English)
  • Mr. Johnson (American English)

Secondly, if you are sending a letter to a married woman, the correct abbreviation is "Mrs," and if you are sending an letter to a non-married woman, the correct abbreviation is "Ms."

  • Mrs. Johnson is the wife of Mr. Johnson
  • Ms. Johnson and her fiancé will be married this summer

Choosing whether or not to use a title depends on how well you know the person to which the letter is addressed. If you are on very friendly terms, simply use their first name. The way in which you greet your reader is up to you. The examples below showcase some common greetings.

  • Dear Richard,
  • Richard,
  • Hi Richard,

Be sure to never forget the comma after the name.

Examples of Opening Sentences

Finally, you've reached the part of the letter where you begin to write. Here, let your imagination run free. If you need some ideas to get started, some sample opening sentences are included below. Your opening should be casual and not as stiff as it would be if you were writing a professional or formal letter.

  • How are you?
  • How have you been?
  • How is life treating you?
  • How are the kids?
  • I hope you are doing well.
  • I hope you, Mike, and the kids are having a great time in (location).


The contents of your letter should be written in a personal and friendly tone. However, it's important to adjust your use of language to the person you are writing to. A good way of assessing how you should write is to think about how you would interact with the person you are writing to in real life. Also, keep in mind that the people of England and America are fond of exchanging social niceties.

For example, they like asking a few polite questions "How are you?" or "How was your holiday?" In general, they are not as direct as most Europeans.

Subjects to Include in the Body

  • State your reason for writing
  • Expand on what you mentioned in the first paragraph
  • Ask about the person you are writing to
  • Make some concluding remarks
  • Invite the person to write back


The closing is where you summarize your letter and say goodbye to the reader. The examples below offer some ideas of what to write in the closing section of your informal letter.

Examples of Closing Sentences

  • I am looking forward to seeing you.
  • I can't wait to see you soon.
  • I can't wait to hear from you.
  • I am looking forward to hearing from you soon.
  • I hope to hear from you soon.
  • See you soon.
  • Send my love to...
  • I hope you are doing well.
  • Give my regards to...


In terms of signing off, the choice is yours and you have a lot of freedom here. Below are some commonly used sign-offs that maintain a friendly, informal tone. After you've chosen one that fits the overall tone of your letter, simply sign your name.

Examples of Signatures

  • Best wishes,
  • Best,
  • Kindly,
  • Kind regards,
  • Best regards,
  • Lots of love,
  • Love,
WATCH THE VIDEO ON THEME: Writing Letters: formal & informal English

It can be a real challenge to start an email, especially when you're writing a business letter to someone you don't know well. If you think that.

how can i start a letter
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