Writing a letter in German: Formal Letters Posted by Sandra Rösner on Apr 5, 2011 in Language
Someone of you asked to explain how to write a letter in German. So, I provide a step-by-step instruction for formal letters and an example letter in this post. I guess you will find a lot of varying explanations and examples when you surf the web or look it up in books but I do assure you that will be always safe with the explanation in the following.
1.) Your Address
You put your address at the top left. In the first line you can put the salutation Herr (Mr.) or Frau (Mrs.) to make obvious if you are a man or a woman. In the second line you put your full name. In the third line you put your street name followed by your house number. In the fourth line you put your zip code and town. Zip codes are always five-digit in Germany.Frau Gabi Müller Musterstraße 1 12345 Berlin
2) Address of Recipient
You put the address of the recipient at the left underneath your address in the same order as your address. If the recipient holds a title, you put the title before the name.Herr Prof. Max Schmidt Sonnenweg 7 56789 Hamburg
You put the date at the right underneath the addresses. Dates are always written in the same way in German: day/month/year. You can either write it fully as digits or alternatively you can also spell the month in full. The word den (the) is optional.
Berlin, 05.04.2011 / Berlin, den 05.04.2011
Berlin, 5. April 2011 / Berlin, den 5. April 2011
When you know the name of the recipient:
Sehr geehrte Frau … – Dear Mrs. …
Sehr geehrter Herr … – Dear Mr. …
When you do not know the name of the recipient:
Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren – Dear Sir or Madame
Mit freundlichen Grüßen – This is the most common form of greeting for formal letters and I always use it.
die Adresse – address
die Postleitzahl – zip code
der Absender – addresser
der Empfänger – addressee; recipient
der Straßenname – street name
das Datum – date
der Tag – day
der Monat – month
das Jahr – year
die Anrede – salutation
Grußformel – (form of) greeting
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