How do you write a mailing address on an envelope?
When writing a letter, it's easy to get lost in all of the details that make up the finished product -- like what size font to use, where to place punctuation marks and whether to indent certain sentences for effect. But while there are many things about letters that can be debated (and I'm here to argue with you), one thing we'll never disagree on is this: The way you spell out an address when putting a postcard into the mailbox matters!
If you're sending something through snail mail -- including a package -- you need to know exactly which part of the United States you want to send it to, so you don't accidentally ship it elsewhere. And if you aren't familiar with the postal system yet, our guide to sorting mail by zip code may come in handy as well. If you've got the addresses, though, let's take a look at some common mistakes people make when labeling their envelopes.
First off, let's talk about just how important it is to put an accurate return address on your envelope. Here's why: When you mail anything, especially if it weighs more than 1 ounce, the U.S. Postal Service requires that you include a postage stamp. This makes sense because they only have limited resources, and every piece of mail has to get priority treatment. They also charge extra money for each additional ounce over the first 1-ounce limit, which means that if your letter to Aunt Edna comes back undeliverable due to an inaccurate ZIP code, she won't receive her gift any faster. So pay attention to your labels, please!
Unfortunately, not paying enough attention to your labels doesn't mean that someone else will open your letter without reading it. In fact, most states require that the USPS deliver registered mail immediately upon receipt, so if you misspell an address, you might find yourself waiting around for two weeks before receiving your item. However, if you think you might have sent your envelope to the wrong location, read on to see how to fix it.
How do you write a letter or mail?
What is the difference between a letter and a letter?
Does the address go in the middle of the envelope?
Where should the address go on an envelope?
How do you write a letter or mail?
It goes without saying that you shouldn't type your entire message directly onto your envelope. First, you should decide whether you'd rather print a new address or add another line to your existing address. Printing a new address takes time and effort, but adding a second line usually works better since you'll likely remember both numbers accurately when you handwrite them. Either option allows you to specify multiple locations. For example, "123 Main Street" would work fine for either scenario.
The next step is to determine where you want to locate the actual street name. You have three options: Above the fold, below the fold or centered. Most people choose above the fold, meaning that the address appears on top of the page after you unfold the paper. Below the fold refers to the area underneath the main headline on the front page of a newspaper. Centered placement is typically reserved for long blocks of text that span several pages. It's best to try placing the address above the fold first, then moving downward depending on how comfortable you feel.
There isn't much debate about using upper case letters to represent cities, towns and other proper nouns. Lowercase is used for everything else. Finally, you must always enter the state, province or territory abbreviation as XXXX. There is no space allowed within the ZIP Code.
Now that you understand the rules, it's time to break them. On the next page we'll discuss the differences between addressing envelopes for personal correspondence versus business purposes.
What is the difference between a letter and a letter?
Letters vs. Postcards
We mentioned earlier that letters carry more weight than post cards, and that's certainly true when it comes to getting your letter delivered correctly. A letter gets handled by real humans who actually walk across the country delivering packages, whereas postcards often wind up sitting in automated machines until they eventually expire. Also, in terms of cost, postcards tend to be cheaper per unit than letters. As far as spelling goes, however, it's pretty cut and dry: Letters require correct capitalization throughout, whereas postcards simply allow you to capitalize the word "post." That said, you wouldn't necessarily want to send a letter via e-mail anyway -- the formatting capabilities of e-mails can sometimes cause problems.
Does the address go in the middle of the envelope?
You're probably wondering whether or not you should add a person's address to the very top of the envelope, right beside the flap. Technically, yes, but most people prefer starting somewhere further toward the center of the envelope. Why? Because there's less room for error. If you start at the edge of the envelope, you leave too much leeway for errors made during printing.
Also, keep in mind that the majority of people will rip the envelope along the dotted lines, leaving the remainder of the envelope intact. Once you start ripping, you run the risk of losing track of where your address starts and ends. Starting closer to the center keeps the edges clear so anyone opening the envelope knows exactly where to begin tearing. Plus, it looks nicer.
Where should the address go on an envelope?
While it's tempting to squeeze all available information into the address itself, doing so results in messy handwriting and potentially illegible addresses. Instead, stick to the basics and add any necessary additional information later. Make sure your city matches your mailing address exactly, unless you plan to pick up your letter personally. Next, list the rest of the household members' names, followed by their corresponding relationship to you (e.g., mom). Then, move onto listing their home phone number(s) and mobile phone number(s). Now, you can fill in whatever house numbers you wish. After that, finish the section with their email addresses, fax numbers and finally their physical addresses. Keep tabs on those last few houses until you arrive at yours.
Finally, it's worth mentioning that the USPS is working hard to improve its delivery services. Every year, they conduct tests called Delivery Confirmation Services to figure out ways to speed up service times for customers. Some suggestions range anywhere from making changes to packaging materials to altering the sequencing of routes. Check out http://www.usps.com/deliveryfor updates regarding upcoming trials.
If you've ever tried to hand-write your own postage, then you know that it can be pretty challenging. The USPS has made things easier with self-adhesive stamps, but if you're looking for something more elegant than a piece of paper, we have good news! You don't need to worry about drawing lines when writing out addresses -- there's already one drawn for you in the United States Postal Service (USPS) logo stamp used by most postal workers across America. All you'll have to do is fill in the blanks.
Letters are divided into two types of envelopes: Mailers and postcards. A mailer envelope contains enough space inside so that a person can insert their return receipt sticker as well as other documents like money orders and checks. Postcard envelopes only contain room for the return receipt sticker, while postcard letters fit entirely within them. Some people also use "mailers" to refer to any type of larger envelope because they usually hold four sheets instead of just one sheet of smaller envelopes.
The first step involved in addressing an envelope correctly is to figure out what kind of envelope you want to send your mail in. If you find yourself struggling with this question, consult our article How Do I Address an Envelope?, which offers detailed instructions on labeling different sizes of standard envelopes as well as ones specifically designed for business purposes. Once you decide what size of envelope you'd like to use, follow these directions to create a proper mailing address:
Step 1: Write the name of the recipient at the top left corner using large capital letters. This should include both his or her given and family names. For example, Jane Smith would receive mail addressed to jsmith.
Step 2: Next, write the street number and street name under the recipient's name. In some cases, you may not need to add a house number since it's assumed that everyone lives where he or she resides. However, it never hurts to make sure.
In the case of someone who shares a home with multiple residents, separate each individual's full name with a comma followed by a dash. So, if John Doe shared a home with his mother and sister, he might end up receiving mail addressed to john smith -,,john. Note that depending upon the ZIP code, the hyphen between the last name and the zip code may vary. For instance, in New York City, NY 10019, the hyphens go before the zip code whereas in San Diego, CA 92001, the hyphens go after the zip code.
When dealing with multiple recipients living together, such as roommates, you must still list all of their names. But rather than separating each individual's name with commas, you simply put a plus sign (+). So, if Sally Long + Mary Brown lived together, Sally would get mail sent to her alone. Again, note that the hyphens go after the city/state abbreviation and ZIP code. Also keep in mind that when using state abbreviations, the first character following the state abbreviation goes above the line and the remaining characters appear below the line.
After listing the street number and street name, continue onto Step 3.
Step 3: Before adding apartment numbers and suite designators, list the building number. To determine whether a building needs a floor designation, look at the numbering system used around town. If the neighborhood uses odd numbered streets starting at one, then the second digit indicates floors. On those streets that start at zero, the third digit represents the floor. Otherwise, you simply place 0 next to the street number.
For multiunit buildings with no specific order, skip straight over to Step 4.
Step 4: After listing the street number, write the unit number directly underneath it. When placing the unit number, remember to always count downward. In the previous example, 123 Maple Street would become 1230 Maple St., with 123 being the street number and 10 being the unit number. If you were to draw a horizontal line right through the middle of the street number, that would indicate the location of the unit number. It doesn't matter if the unit number ends up being higher or lower than the street number. As long as it fits on the line without going outside the box, it counts.
Now let's move on to Step 5.
Step 5: Continue writing the street name again, except replace the word street with avenue or boulevard. If the area isn't named alphabetically, you'll have to choose either avenue or boulevard based on whichever one makes sense. For the sake of simplicity, however, we'll stick with Avenue.
Step 6: Now write the city name beneath the street name. Keep in mind that cities come in many shapes and sizes, so make sure to check local ordinances regarding naming conventions for whatever city you live in. Once you've figured out which city name applies, take the time to read through our article on how to spell various states' names properly. And if you're having trouble deciding on a particular spelling, try consulting a dictionary.
Next up is Step 7.
Step 7: Finally, complete the street name once more, but this time substitute the words street and avenue with parkway or highway. Depending on the location, you may or may not need to add road signs indicating whether the street is a parkway or highway. Parkways typically consist of three parallel lanes separated by grassy medians. Highways tend to connect major roads, often called arterials. These highways normally aren't limited to two lanes and may extend far beyond the urban core. Although parkways are considered main thoroughfares, highways are usually designated as part of a network connecting several nearby locations.
Once you finish filling in the street name portion of the address, move onto Step 8.
Step 8: At the very bottom of the finished product, write the final item: STREET NAME, UNIT NUMBER AND SUITE DESIGNATOR. Take care here -- the street number, unit number and suite designator cannot exceed 11 digits. Make sure you leave plenty of room for these additional items.
Finally, cross your fingers and hope that your package gets delivered quickly. With luck, now you'll understand everything needed to successfully ship off your correspondence via U.S. Mail.
What Is Letter Mail?
Letter Mail refers to pieces of mail that weigh less than 26 ounces and are printed on recycled material. They generally contain eight pages and come in flat rectangular boxes. Flat rate letter mail costs $1.20 per pound regardless of weight or volume. Bulk rates apply to packages weighing more than 26 pounds.
Mail bags aren't included in letter mail prices, although they cost pennies compared to regular delivery charges. Most bulk rates charge extra for special delivery service.
To qualify as letter mail, a document must be mailed in a single envelope of sufficient dimensions. Any document sealed in another envelope or folded within itself won't cut it. Documents like invoices, receipts, credit cards and insurance policies that require signatures also fall into the category of letter mail.
What Is Mailer Envelope?
Mailers are heavier than letter mail and resemble small cardboard boxes. Their interior spaces measure approximately 13 x 20 inches. Each side folds inward, forming a pouch that holds up to four sheets of 8 ½ inch by 11 inch standard letter paper. That means that mailers have a total capacity of 400 square inches, making them ideal for packing bulky items like magazines.
A typical mailbox looks much different from mailboxes found on homes. Instead of hanging vertically from the ground, mailboxes situated near businesses stand upright and attach to steel posts embedded into concrete pads.
Is Letter and Mail the Same Thing?
No, they're definitely not. While letter mail consists of single-piece documents that fit snugly into envelopes, mail consists of loose stacks of stamped papers held together with rubber bands.
Mail comes in lots containing hundreds of pieces, each individually wrapped in plastic. Postage stamps are sold singly, too.
You can buy stamps in bulk if you plan to purchase a lot of mailings at one time. First class mail typically takes about five days to arrive, though it varies slightly depending on distance and weather conditions. Parcels are faster and travel within three days, sometimes sooner. Priority mail moves quicker still, taking only two to three days. Express mail arrives in one day, and certified mail takes longer but guarantees arrival within five days.
But perhaps the biggest difference between letter mail and mail lies in price. Whereas letter mail is cheap, mail tends to run upwards of 75 cents per ounce, especially during peak periods. Add to cart to see exact pricing.
Envelopes are not only used for sending letters and cards, but also packages, invitations and other items that need to be mailed. While envelopes have been around for thousands of years, there are still some people who aren't sure what goes into writing their own personal addresses. In this article we'll explain how to write a mailing address on an envelope correctly so it can actually get delivered where you want it to go!
First off, let's talk about what makes up a good mailing address. Some basic things you should always include when putting together any kind of mailing list are name (first) and last -- along with street number and house/unit designation if available. The city and state should also usually be included as well. If you're going to send something out nationally, then zip code may come in handy. But don't worry too much about including information like telephone numbers, e-mail addresses or website links just yet. You won't need them until later in the article. Now that we've got those basics covered, let's move onto more specific details.
Mailing formats differ by country, region and postal service, which means they require slightly different approaches. However, most countries follow similar rules for addressing envelopes. Here are examples of U.S., Canadian, UK, Australian and New Zealand mailing addresses:
U.S.: Name - Street Address Line 1 City State Zip Code Country
Canada: First Last Middle Initial Surname Prefix Suffix Postalcode E.g. John Smith Rte 123 Toronto ON M1T 2N5 Canada
UK: Full Name Post Office Box Number Area Code Town District ZIP County Council Telephone Fax Email Address
Australia: Name P.O.Box No. House No. Floor St.City Suburb Local Government Unit Phone Extension Mobile Phones Home Page
New Zealand: Firstname(s), Middleinitial(s), Postoffice box no.House No.Floor St.City Suburbs Neighbourhood Local Board Ward Electoral Division Electoral Roll Email
Now that we know how each section works, let's take a look at how all of the parts work together.
What is the mailing format?
The first thing you'll notice right away is that there isn't one standard way to write a mailing address across the world. There are many variations depending on location. For example, while some locations use "Street" as part of the full street address, others might call it "Road", or simply leave it blank altogether. Not every place uses post office boxes either. Australia doesn't have them. They'd rather stick to using PO Box numbers instead. And some areas use the term "Neighborhood". Other places prefer to use the terms "Area", "District" or "Ward." It gets confusing pretty quickly, especially since names change over time.
If you're ever confused by local custom, try looking online for instructions or contact the United States Postal Service directly through their Mail Formats page [http://www.usps.com/forms_and_services/m...]. This site has tons of helpful info about various forms of mailing addresses and how to best utilize them in your area. It also includes lots of sample addresses for reference purposes.
Another important aspect to consider is whether your mailing address needs to identify both sides of the road. Generally speaking, North American cities tend to use side identification, whereas many Asian cities opt for center identification. Side identification is easier to read because it follows consistent patterns, making it less likely for someone else to accidentally put two houses on top of each other. Center identification is preferred in larger cities where streets often cross paths, or in cases where large buildings occupy both sides of the road. Again, check out USPS' Mail Format Guide [http://www.usps.com/forms_and_services/m...] for further clarification.
Next up, we're going to break down exactly what goes into a proper mailing address. Let's start with the actual physical pieces themselves.
What is a complete mailing address?
A mailing address consists of five elements: street name, street direction indicator, unit designator, floor and building designation. These components must be present in order for an address to be considered valid. A mailing address without any of these elements is said to be incomplete.
To ensure that your mail reaches its intended target, make sure to include everything needed to properly mark your home. Most importantly, keep track of the correct spelling of your property's name and addresses. Use spellchecker tools to help double check your grammar. Don't forget to include spaces between words, hyphens at the end of lines and dashes before punctuation marks like commas or periods. Also remember that the street name itself should be spelled out in full whenever possible. Many languages have abbreviations reserved specifically for street names. So, if yours does, use them sparingly.
In addition, pay attention to capitalization. Although some people insist that titles such as Mr., Ms., Mrs., Dr. and Rev. should never appear alone on a mailing address, it really depends on the situation. If you live in a small town, the title would generally stand alone. On the other hand, if you live in a big city, the title would normally fall under the domain of the person's middle initial. Either way, however, it's a good idea to avoid mixing upper case and lower case characters wherever possible. When necessary, capitalize certain special symbols such as parentheses or quotation marks.
Lastly, watch out for inconsistent spacing. Make sure the distance between each line is uniform throughout the entire address. Otherwise, the reader will become disoriented trying to figure out where one building ends and another begins.
As mentioned earlier, some regions use unique ways to designate side roads versus main thoroughfares. Take care to incorporate this difference accordingly. If you're unsure, ask a postal worker for assistance.
Let's take a closer look at each individual component below.
How address is written on a letter?
It seems simple enough, but sometimes our handwriting takes us astray. We all struggle with varying degrees of clarity when it comes to penmanship, so be careful not to confuse yourself. As long as you stay true to the general formatting guidelines provided above, the chances of your mailing being misdirected are slim to none.
Most importantly, keep your writing legible. Avoid overly fancy fonts or decorative flourishes. Stick to plain old black ink unless otherwise specified.
When it comes to directional indicators, you can choose to show left or right based on convention. Left side refers to traffic travelling southbound, whereas the right side indicates northbound travelers. However, for consistency sake, it's recommended that you always indicate the same side regardless of geographic orientation. That way everyone involved can rest assured knowing that your address was accurately interpreted.
Unit Designators are optional identifiers that allow readers to distinguish multiple units within the same complex. For instance, say you live in an apartment block with numerous floors numbered consecutively. Instead of listing each individually, the unit designation allows the mail carrier to easily locate your floor by remembering the sequence of consecutive numbers associated with your residence. To determine which numbering system to adopt, consult your local postmaster.
Building Designation identifies structures located adjacent to or near the given address. For instance, if you live in an apartment building, you can specify which particular structure belongs to you. This helps direct mailers pinpoint exactly where to deliver your package. Building designations vary according to location, but typically consist of a three digit number corresponding to the floor level, followed by a period and then a suffix specifying type of construction. Depending on your locale, you can use different suffixes to denote whether your building is detached, semi-attached or attached. Keep in mind that building designators are only applicable to single story buildings.
Finally, floor designates the exact room number within a building. Unlike unit designators, floor designators are mandatory. Without them, a mail delivery cannot proceed beyond the sorting facility.
So now that we understand the parts of a proper mailing address, let's apply our newfound knowledge to real life scenarios. Say you receive a lot of junk mail advertising products you already purchased elsewhere. Wouldn't it suck to see ads addressed to you personally, only to realize they were meant for someone else entirely? Well, here's where the magic happens. Before placing your return postage stamp on a piece of junk mail, carefully review the sender's address to find the closest match to your current home. Once you confirm that a legitimate company sent you unwanted correspondence, fill out the Returned Material Authorization form enclosed with the item. Then, submit it back to the sender via certified mail. Within 30 days, the sender must provide proof of receipt of your returned goods, after which point you can file a complaint with your local post office.
This method provides added peace of mind that your money wasn't wasted on useless marketing campaigns destined for the trash heap. Plus, if you think it unlikely that you ordered anything from the advertisement, you can request a copy of your credit report to verify your suspicions.