• Features for Creative Writers
  • Features for Work
  • Features for Higher Education
  • Features for Teachers
  • Features for Non-Native Speakers
  • Learn Blog Grammar Guide Community Events FAQ
  • Grammar Guide

How to Write an Address: A Complete Guide

Hannah Yang headshot

Hannah Yang

how to write an address

Whenever you mail a letter, you need to write the address correctly. If you format the address incorrectly, your mail might get delivered to the wrong destination.

That’s just one situation in which you’ll need to know how to write an address. You may also need to write your address in the header of a resume, to fill out legal forms, and countless other situations.

If you’re trying to write an address, you’ve come to the right place. This article will give you a complete guide to formatting an address and provide examples of common address formats.

What Is an Address?

What are the address formats for mailing a letter, what are the address formats for specific types of addresses, should you use abbreviations in an address, address examples, conclusion on how to write an address.

An address consists of all the information that a mail carrier needs to identify a location.

Addresses contain some or all of the following pieces of information:

  • The recipient’s name
  • The organization’s name, if necessary
  • Building number
  • Street name
  • Suite number, apartment number, or P.O. box number, if necessary
  • City, town, or village
  • State or territory
  • Postal code

It’s important to include all the information that the post office needs to identify the correct location, without including any extraneous information. If you add any extraneous lines or words, it will be harder for others to figure out what the actual address is.

components of an address

When you mail a letter in the US, you’ll need to include both the recipient’s address and the sender’s address. Let’s look at how to format each one.

Mailing Address Format

Whenever you mail a letter, you need to put the recipient’s address at the center of the envelope. This is where the postal courier will look to figure out where to deliver the letter to.

If you’re writing to a recipient in the US, you should include the following pieces of information, in this order:

  • The recipient’s name on the first line. You can choose whether or not to include a title, such as Ms. or Dr.
  • The recipient’s building number and street name. Also include a suite number, apartment number, or P.O. box number on the second line, if necessary
  • The recipient's city, state, and postal code on the final line

The address should consist of three lines of text, one for each of the bullet points above.

You only need to include a suite or apartment number if you live in a building where multiple individuals or families share the same building number. That way, couriers can figure out which specific apartment to deliver the mail to.

When you write the postal code, you can write out either the five-digit ZIP code (e.g. 98052), or the five-digit ZIP code with the area-specific four-digit suffix (e.g. 98052-1134). Including your full postal code will help couriers deliver your package more quickly.

Return Address Format

The term “return address” refers to the address of the person sending a letter or package. The reason you need to include your own address on any letter or package you send is so the postal service knows where to return the mail if they’re unable to deliver it. You should place your return address on the upper left corner of the envelope.

If you live in the US, you should include the following pieces of information, in this order:

  • Your name on the first line. You can choose whether or not to include a title, such as Ms. or Dr.
  • Your building number and street name. Also include a suite number, apartment number, or P.O. box number on the second line, if necessary
  • Your city, state, and postal code on the final line

Just like with the mailing address, the return address should be three lines of text, one for each of the bullet points above.

The guidelines to follow when writing an address often depends on the specific type of letter you’re writing. For example, if you’re sending an international letter to a country outside of the US, you may need to format your address differently.

Let’s look at some of these specific guidelines.

Business Address Format

When you’re sending mail to a business address, you may need to include some additional information that you wouldn’t include for a personal letter.

That’s because the courier may need to know the company name, as well as the name of the specific person within the company you’re writing to.

Here’s the information you need to include in a business address:

  • The recipient’s name. You can precede this name with the word Attention or ATTN, followed by a colon. You can choose whether you want to include any relevant professional titles, such as Ph.D. or Esq.
  • The name of the recipient’s company or organization
  • The company’s building number and street name
  • The company’s floor or suite number, if necessary
  • The company’s city, state, and postal code

International Address Format

If you’re mailing a letter outside of the US, you’ll need to adhere to the format of the country you’re sending the letter to. That way, the postal service within that country will know where to go.

In general, these are the pieces of information you should include in an international address:

  • The name of the recipient’s house, if their home has a specific name
  • The recipient’s building number and street name, if their house does not have a specific name
  • The recipient’s city, town, or village
  • The recipient’s county
  • The recipient’s postal code
  • The recipient’s district, if necessary
  • The recipient’s country

To be safe, you should always double-check the address format of the specific country you’re mailing to.

how to write an address tip

When you write your return address on international mail, you should format it the same way you usually would. In addition, you should include your own country at the bottom of the return address.

Resume Address Format

When you write a professional resume, you should include your address at the top of your resume. You can either include it in your header or add it in the top left corner.

The good news is that you should use the same format for writing an address in a resume that you would use for writing a letter. Include all the same information you would use for a return address.

One-Line Address Format

Sometimes, you may need to write an entire address in a single line of text.

In this case, you should include all the same information that you would include in a multi-line address. The only difference is that you’ll need to replace each line break with a comma when you write an address on one line.

Make sure to include a comma after each of these elements:

  • The person’s name
  • The street address
  • The apartment number or suite

It’s perfectly acceptable to use abbreviations when writing an address—in fact, it’s often expected.

Here are some common abbreviations you should know:

  • Apartment: Apt
  • Boulevard: Blvd
  • Parkway: Pkwy

You should also abbreviate all the US states with a two-letter code. For example, you would write CA for California or DE for Delaware.

To help you understand what a correctly formatted address should look like, we’ve included some examples you can refer to.

US Address Examples

Here’s an example of a domestic residential address in the US:

John Smith 5480 7th Ave San Francisco, CA 94112

Here’s an example of a US address with an apartment number:

Ms. Mary Green 2211 Edgewood St, Apt 2 Boston, MA 02124-1331

One-Line Address Examples

Here’s how you would write each of the above addresses on a single line:

John Smith, 5480 7th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94112 Ms. Mary Green, 2211 Edgewood St, Apt 2, Boston, MA, 02124-1331

Professional Address Examples

If you’re writing a business letter, don’t forget to include the organization’s name. Here’s an example:

Attn: Rachel Long, CEO The Greatest Writers’ Organization 780 English Avenue, Floor 8 Seattle, WA 90199

International Address Examples

Here’s an example of an address in Canada:

Jacob White 423 Second Street NE Montreal, QC H3Z 2Y7 Canada

(In this case, Montreal is the city, QC is the province, and H3Z 2Y7 is the postal code.)

Here’s an example of an address in Great Britain:

Harry Brown 87 Blackstone Street London EC1Y 8SY England

(In this case, London is the city, and EC17 8SY is the postal code.)

There you have it—a complete guide to writing an address correctly! Here’s a quick recap:

  • An address should include everything a mail carrier needs to identify the recipient’s location
  • It’s expected that you’ll use standard abbreviations, such as St for Street
  • The guidelines may be different for international addresses, so always double-check each country’s guidelines

Lastly, make sure you write your address in clear and legible handwriting, so your mail can be delivered efficiently.

how to write the address in formal letter

Be confident about grammar

Check every email, essay, or story for grammar mistakes. Fix them before you press send.

Hannah Yang is a speculative fiction writer who writes about all things strange and surreal. Her work has appeared in Analog Science Fiction, Apex Magazine, The Dark, and elsewhere, and two of her stories have been finalists for the Locus Award. Her favorite hobbies include watercolor painting, playing guitar, and rock climbing. You can follow her work on hannahyang.com, or subscribe to her newsletter for publication updates.

Get started with ProWritingAid

Drop us a line or let's stay in touch via :

IMAGES

  1. FREE 7+ Sample Addressing a Formal Letter Templates in PDF

    how to write the address in formal letter

  2. How to Write a Formal Letter

    how to write the address in formal letter

  3. FREE 7+ Sample Addressing a Formal Letter Templates in PDF

    how to write the address in formal letter

  4. 35 Formal / Business Letter Format Templates & Examples ᐅ TemplateLab

    how to write the address in formal letter

  5. 4 Ways to Address a Letter

    how to write the address in formal letter

  6. FREE 7+ Sample Addressing a Formal Letter Templates in PDF

    how to write the address in formal letter

VIDEO

  1. How To Write a Formal Letter

  2. Formal letter write application to your principal for sick leave

  3. Letter writing || How to write letter- Formal letter in english

  4. learn to write formal Letter in just 36 seconds #exampreparation

  5. How to write a Formal Letter Format. #letterwriting #letterwritingformat

  6. Letter Writing (Formal and Informal)/इंग्रजी पत्रलेखन

COMMENTS

  1. How to Address a Letter: Addressing a Letter 101

    Write your address, then the date you’re writing the letter, and then add your recipient’s address all on the left. You’ll find a lot of businesses use this format in their formal letters. If you are using an indented paragraph format in your letter, align your address and the date to the right. Start your recipient’s address on the ...

  2. How to Write an Address: A Complete Guide

    The recipient’s building number and street name. Also include a suite number, apartment number, or P.O. box number on the second line, if necessary. The recipient's city, state, and postal code on the final line. The address should consist of three lines of text, one for each of the bullet points above.

  3. How To Address A Formal Letter

    Here is how you should address an envelope. — Write Return Address. First, you should write your return address in the upper left hand corner of the envelope. This should include the sender’s name and full address. If the postal service is unable to deliver the letter, they will return it to you at this address.