Letter to who it concerns

Writing an official letter - content and tips

The letter is one written communication to a specific recipient whom we address personally in our letters.

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We name the author of the letter sender. The receiver or addressee is the one to whom the letter is addressed.

The Occasions for a letter are very different: an application, a letter to a company or authority, communication with a friend and much more. It is therefore important to think about who the recipient of the letter is before writing a letter, because this depends on the type of letter, its structure, content and language.

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We differentiate between the personal letter and the official letter or business letter.

Write letters well and correctly

What are the essential things that make a good and correct letter? Find out more below! First of all, we will explain the most important building blocks that an official letter should contain.

The letterhead

The first thing a reader will look at is the letterhead, because it is at the top of a letter. A letterhead includes: sender, recipient address, place and date.

Your own address - sender

The sender's name and address, i.e. your own address, are usually in the top left. It is often also useful to include a telephone number and email address.

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Traditionally, your own address is on the top left. In the meantime, however, it is also allowed for it to be on the right or in the middle.

The recipient address

The recipient address includes the recipient's name, street and house number, as well as the postcode and town. It can happen that the letter is addressed to an authority. Then instead of the recipient's name, there is the name of the authority and below that the specific department.

place and date

In a separate line on the right and with a space below the address field, you will find the date and place of the writing of the letter.

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Cologne, September 5, 2011

In our example you can see how the place and date appear mostly. Place and date are separated by a comma.

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In the past, the letterhead was often written like this: Cologne, September 5, 2011. You can see that before the date there is still the article the stands. This article is no longer being written today.

The subject

The subject is kind heading for the letter, which explains in a few keywords what the letter is about. The word Subject or Re. is no longer written in letters today, but one begins immediately with the key words.

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The correct salutation

If you know who is going to process and read the letter, we will talk to the addressee with his or her Names at. If we write to a company, an association or the like, we may not know exactly who will ultimately read the letter. In this case, we use a neutral form of address.

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Dear Ms. Mustermann, ...

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, ...

In the punctuation After the salutation you have to pay attention to the following:

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After being addressed in letters, a Exclamation mark or a comma stand. After the exclamation mark we write capitalized and after the comma we continue to write lowercase. The salutation is separated by a blank line.

We'll give you another example to make things clearer. Especially in formal letters, it is common to put a comma after the salutation.

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Dear Ms. Mustermann,

Thank you for your quick reply.

We use the politeness pronoun to speak to a person whom we do not know better and who are seventeen you at. We have to do this in all forms (your, them, Your etc.) large write. So remember:

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Strangers: You (your, you, your)

The text of the letter - content

Make sure you have a clear and structured structure in your letter. If you have your letter text in Information sections that helps you and the reader a lot. Follow the usual order when composing a text: introduction, Bulk and Enough.

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Divide the letter text into information sections.

When you write, keep in mind to whom you write the letter and for what purpose, because that's what the style and language of your sentences are based on. Think about what might interest the reader and what is important to him. It often makes perfect sense to the reader to address directly and depending on him too ask to deliver. In general, however, you are given a free hand with the content, as long as you do not lose sight of the points just mentioned. Finally, you could Incentives build in that motivate the reader to write back to you. Of course, the sentences have to be free of errors. Before you send an important letter, give it to someone to read to avoid mistakes.

The end of the letter - greeting

We end a letter with a greeting that, just like the salutation, varies depending on the recipient. We need to use a more polite greeting for a recipient we don't know well. The greeting can also be used in Final sentence be included. There is no period, comma or other punctuation mark at the end of the greeting. The signature immediately follows the greeting in a new line.

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With best regards...


I look forward to your answer and remain with best regards ...


The letter should be signed by hand.


If we enclose documents or papers with the letter, we must state this in the annexes. These attachments can then be listed individually under the signature.

Now you've learned a lot about writing a letter. Remember that the letters can vary greatly depending on the occasion and recipient and then nothing can go wrong. How exactly the structure of an official letter has to look like, what the layout looks like, which margins and blank lines are generally defined, you can read again with us. In our exercises you can do yours Knowledge deepen again. We wish you a lot of fun and success!

Your team of authors for German: Hannah Poqué and Christina Albrecht

This learning site is part of an interactive online course on German. The German team will explain everything you need to know about your German lessons!

Test your knowledge!

What does the place and date look like in a letterhead?

Please select the correct statements.

(There can be more than one answer)

Please select the correct statements.

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