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To write a Spanish letter many elements should be taken into consideration:  

In general your letter should have these elements:

  • the date (at the top, write the day first, then the month, then the year)
  • the name and address of the addressee
  • a greeting
  • an introduction
  • body information
  • closing remarks
  • your signature
  • your return address (including your country).

 

Spanish Letter Layout

 

On the top of the page, either on the left or the right hand side start writing your name, without a title, when writing your own address place commas at the ends of lines, but when writing the address of your Hispanic addressee in a formal letter or on the envelope, it is worth remembering in the letter layout that the end of line commas or dots may be regarded as a mistake. The addressee’s name and address should be inserted on the left hand side of the sheet above the opening greeting. In a letter to someone with a title, in a business for instance, this is placed after the addressee’s full name.

 

The full forms are given for information only and are not normally used in ordinary correspondence:

To a man: Sr. D García or Señor Don Garcia (Mr. Garcia: formal)   or simply Sr. Garcia or Señor García (Mr. Garcia: formal)

To a woman:  Sra. Dña. Lopez or Señora Doña Lopez (Ms or Mrs. Lopez: formal) or simply Sra. Lopez or Señora Lopez (Ms or Mrs. Lopez: formal).

Addresses in Latin America and Spain look a little bit like this:

 

Sr. Roberto Carlos Melendez

c/ Francisco de Silvela, 19, 5º

48470 Algorta

Vizcaya España

 

Below is an explanation of each element in the address above:

 

Persona de contacto: Sr. Roberto Carlos Melendez

Dirección: c/ Francisco de Silvela, 19, 5º

CP: 48470  Población: Algorta

Provincia: Vizcaya País: España

 

When writing an informal letter it is enough to write the name of the place you're writing from and the date, both your address and and addressee's address is not required:

Tarifa, 25 de enero de 1999

Greetings in a Spanish letter

 

To start your greeting to a person you already know by name use: Estimado Señor José or Estimada Señora Miguel.
If you don’t know the person by name, you can simply write: Muy Señor mío, Muy Señora mía. Su Excelencia (Your excellence: to some high rank personnel) or Estimado Señor / Estimada Señora which is less formal. There is also a rare greeting form De mi consideración which is very formal.

An informal greeting would be: Querido José (dear Jose), Querida Miguel, Queridos José y Miguel. Querido amigo:

Closing the letter in Spanish:

 

Letter closing in Spanish

Formal

Less formal

Informal

Family members / close friends

A la espera de sus prontas noticias, le saluda atentamente,
Le saluda atentamente,
or simply: Atentamente.

Un cordial saludo,

Cordialmente,

Un abrazo,
Un fuerte abrazo,
Un fuerte abrazo de tu amigo.

Un beso,
Besos,

Un afectuoso (or cariñoso) saludo,
Afectuosamente,
Con todo mi cariño.

 

Addressing the envelope:

Your address (usually on the back):

Remite: Maya Gotlieb,

             58 Freedom road,

             Washington DC 20022.

Remitente: The addressee’s address (on the front):

            Sr. Roberto Carlos Melendez

            c/ Francisco de Silvela, 19, 5º

            48470 Algorta

            Vizcaya España

 

Tips on Writing a Letter in Spanish:


Break your text into paragraphs, preferably with one idea per paragraph, you should have that in mind as a start in writing a letter in Spanish.

Punctuation: questions begin with ¿ and end with ? like in ¿qué pasó? (What happened?), exclamation forms start with ¡ and end with! which is a unique thing to Spanish. Abbreviations are preceded by a dot in Spanish, like in Sr. or p.ej (meaning for example), however some names of organizations are not preceded by a dot, like the ONU (Organización de las Naciones Unidas), use colons (dos puntos : ) commas (coma , ) Capital and lower case letters, like in proper names, capitals and languages, however the residents of a country are not capitalized (American : Americano. Moroccan: marroquí) also religions and their followers (Islam: islam, Christian: cristiano), names of days of the week & months (Monday: lunes, January: enero)

ensure the spelling, punctuation, and accent marks are correct and add the necessary accent marks and tildes such as (á, é, í, ó, ú, ü, ñ).

 

A Letter Sample in Spanish: (Job application)

 

Spanish Letter Sample

Date

14 de junio de 1999

Addressee

Sr. Roberto Carlos Melendez

c/ Francisco de Silvela, 19, 5º

48470 Algorta

Vizcaya España

Greeting

Estimado Señor:

Introduction

En respuesta al anuncio publicado en el periódico “El Mundo” de fecha 12 de junio en el que solicitan secretaria trilingüe, quisiera ser considerada al realizarse la selección de candidatas.

 

Body Information

Como se desprende del currículum vitae que adjunto, estoy soltera con un ciudadano americano y acabo de regresar a España después de haber vivido durante seis años en los EE.UU., donde trabajé como secretaria de dirección en una empresa multinacional. Tengo perfecto dominio del idioma inglés, sólidos conocimientos de francés y amplia experiencia en procesamiento de textos.

 

Closing

- Agradezco a Ud. la atención que me pueda dispensar y quedo a su entera disposición para cualquier aclaración y/o ampliación de antecedentes.

Another way of closing would be:

-Quedo a su disposición para ampliar datos y ofrecer referencias.

Signature

Atentamente, (you should sign your name under it) and also print if after the signature.

Return Address

Maya Gotlieb,

58 Freedom road,

Washington DC 20022.

 

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