How to Address an Envelope

Stack of Letters

It takes seconds to address an envelope.  And yet, we rarely receive a piece of mail with our name handwritten on it.

Sad, because this is the mail that makes our day!

When you check your mail, which pieces do you open first?  That's right - the cards and letters sent to you from someone who cares enough to take a moment and address an envelope.

In case you're out of practice, or were never sure of addressing correctly, here are some basic rules for this meaningful task.

Titles

Men are addressed as Mr., and women are addressed as Ms.

Miss is used for girls up to the age of eighteen.  It can be used for single women as well, but the use of Ms. is the standard for adult women today.

Mrs. is used with a husband's name for a woman who is married.  If used with her given name, it signals that she is divorced.

Mrs. Thomas Banks (married)
Mrs. Sarah Banks (divorced)
Ms. Sarah Banks (any relationship status)


The Order of Names

Unmarried couples are addressed on two separate lines.  The woman's name is listed first.  For same sex couples, names may be listed alphabetically.

    Ms. Sarah Johnson
    Mr. Thomas Banks
    123 Alpha Street
    Anywhere, USA  09876

    Mr. James Allen
    Mr. Toby Welchel
    456 Alpha Street
    Anywhere, USA  09876

Married couples are addressed on a single line.

Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Banks
    or
    Mr. Thomas Banks and Ms. Sarah Johnson

If both names do not fit on one line, place the second name on a separate line, and indent it.

                                               Mr. Thomas Banks
                                                   and Ms. Sarah Johnson

When both recipients have military rank, the person with highest rank is listed first.

Colonel Thomas M. Banks and Lieutenant Sarah J. Banks

This also applies to non-military rank.

Senator Sarah J. Banks and Mr. Thomas M. Banks

Dr. and Mrs. Thomas M. Banks

But if both are doctors, you may shorten it a bit.

The Doctors Allen

All that's left is to write the address directly below the recipient's name, and off your letter goes!

Do you still have questions about how to address an envelope?  Contact me here.  I'm happy to help you.

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