How to Write a Letter in Spanish

by Jakob Straub
April 14, 2020

Modern correspondence is quite casual, but when you compose a letter in Spanish, your tone and phrasing should match the recipient and occasion. This applies to formal and informal communication in the form of a letter (carta) as well as an email (correo electronico). In the following, we’ll show you how to write a letter in Spanish both formally and informally and introduce you to useful phrases for written communication.

How to address and format a letter in Spanish

Begin your letter with a proper header and place your own address at the top, either in a single line or as a block in the top left corner. Follow with the recipient’s address. Don’t forget to include a person’s title, degree, or position before their name:

  • Prof. Noelia Namaste – Professor Noelia Namaste
  • Ing. Jorge Pérez – Jorge Pérez, Engineer
  • Dr. Manuel Miranda – Doctor Manuel Miranda
  • Abg. Juan Tomasi – Juan Tomasi, Attorney

Next is the date, which is a single line aligned to the right:

  • Jueves, 2 de abril del 2020 (Thursday, April 2, 2020)

Take note of the European date format where the day precedes the month. The first letter of the day is capitalized because it’s the beginning of the line, but the month is written in all lower case. You can follow the date with a subject line, or you can summarise your business in the opening of your letter after the greetings.

How to write a formal letter in Spanish

There are a couple of ways in which you can open a letter in Spanish with a formal greeting:

  • Distinguido Señor Rosario: / Distinguida Señora Rosario: – Distinguished Mr./Mrs. Rosario
  • Estimado Sr. Roberto: – Dear Mr. Roberto
  • Estimada Sra. Rosita: – Dear Mrs./Ms. Rosita
  • Estimada Srta. Garrido: – Dear Miss Garrido
  • Estimado señor / Estimada señora: – Dear sir / Dear madam
  • Muy señor mío: / Muy señora mía: – Dear sir / Dear madam
  • Estimados señores: – Dear sirs/ madams
  • A quien pueda interesar: / A quien corresponda: – To whom it may concern
  • Don Hector: – Dear Hector

Take note to use the personal pronouns usted / ustedes, the formal version of you, to show your respect. Formal Spanish communication can sound over the top or “flowery” to the ears of an English speaker, but it’s normal for natives. When in doubt how to address a lady, use Señora over Señorita to not be disrespectful. The formal greeting is followed by a colon, not a comma as is common in English. 

An official closing to a letter in Spanish is equally formal:

  • Le(s) saluda atentamente,  – Yours sincerely,
  • Cordialmente, / Atentamente, – Sincerely, / Sincerely yours, / Yours sincerely,
  • Saludos cordiales, – Best regards,
  • Se despide cordialmente, – Saying goodbye cordially,
  • Esperando su respuesta, – Waiting for your reply,
  • Quedo a la espera de sus noticias, – Looking forward to hearing from you,
  • Muchísimas gracias, – Thank you very much,
  • Sin otro particular, lo saludo. – Having nothing further to add, I send my regards.
  • Cordialmente, y a la espera de una respuesta, me despido. – Cordially, and awaiting an answer, I send my regards.
  • Desde ya, agradezco el recibimiento de mi solicitud y aguardo su respuesta. – I thank you for receiving my request and await your reply.

How to write an informal letter in Spanish

You can take more liberties when opening a Spanish letter with an informal greeting and express the various degrees of how close you are to the recipient:

  • Hola, – Hi, / Hi there, / Hey,
  • Querido Pablo, – Dear Pablo,
  • Querida Pilar, – Dear Pilar,
  • Queridos, – Dears,
  • Cariño Tomas, / Cariña Ana, – Sweet Thomas / Sweet Ana
  • Amado / Amada – Beloved

Likewise, there are many different ways to say goodbye and include the best wishes for the recipient:

  • Un saludo, / Saludos,Cheers, / Greetings,
  • Seguimos en contacto, – Let’s keep in touch,
  • Espero saber de ti pronto, – Hope to hear from you soon,
  • Besos, / Abrazos, – Kisses, / Hugs,
  • Con todo mi cariño / afecto / amor, – With all my caring / affection / love,
  • Cuídate, – Take care,
  • Hasta pronto, / Hablamos pronto, – Until soon, / Talk soon,
  • Muchas gracias,Many thanks
  • Afectuosamente, – affectionately
  • ¡Nos vemos! – See you!

Useful phrases for writing a letter in Spanish

For the content of your letter, these are words and phrases you can use to state your business in a formal context or address issues in informal context when writing a letter in Spanish:

SPANISH

ENGLISH

USE

Le / les estoy contactando sobre…

I am reaching out to you regarding…

formal

Ante todo reciba un cordial saludo.

First of all, receive a warm greeting.

formal

Le / les informo mediante esta carta…

I inform you through this letter..

formal

Por medio de la presente quisiera formalizar…

Through this, I would like to formalise…

formal

La presente carta tiene por motivo…

The purpose of this letter…

formal

Adjunto encontrará(n)…

Attached please find…

formal

Gracias por su asistencia con este asunto.

Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

formal

Por favor no dude(n) en contactarme si necesita(n) más información.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further information.

formal

Quedo a la espera de recibir noticias suyas tan pronto le sea posible.

I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

formal

Te escribo porque…

I’m writing to you because…

informal

Me quería comunicar contigo sobre…

I wanted to touch base regarding…

informal

Tanto tiempo sin habla.

Long time no talk.

informal

¡Tanto tiempo!

It’s been a while!

informal

¿Cómo te va?

How are you doing?

informal

Espero que estés bien.

Hope you’re doing well.

informal

Quiero invitarte a…

I want to invite you to…

informal

Te escribo para contarte…

I am writing to tell you…

informal

If you want to include anything after you’ve already said your goodbyes, a postscript (PS) in Spanish is postdata (PD).

How to post a letter in Spain

Other useful vocabulary for posting a letter in Spain:

  • dirección – address
  • remitente – sender
  • destinatario – recipient
  • código postal – ZIP code
  • sobre – envelope
  • estampillas – stamps
  • firma – signature

In Spain, the tobacconists (tabaqueriás) usually sell stamps as well and you can even ask them for the correct postage for a national or international destination. You can post your stamped and addressed letter in one of the official mailboxes or go to a post office, oficina postal or oficina de correos – private postal companies exist, but in many parts of the county, the royal mail will be what’s available.

If you’d like to improve your Spanish writing skills then look no further than Lingoda! Visit our website and sign up for your free 7-day trial with our native speaking teachers today! 

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