Saturday, December 13, 2008

Etiquette in Addressing Envelopes

Here are some do’s and don’ts on addressing envelopes:
  • Type or write by hand all social envelopes. It’s okay to address an envelope by hand when the letter is typed. Neatness counts, however. ➤ Keep the lines aligned on the left or indent each line slightly more than the previous one. City, state, and ZIP code are on a single line.
  • It is no longer necessary to write out the names of states in full. And the practice of writing out numbers in full in the most formal situations has virtually disappeared. People use numerals rather than risk trying the patience of the Postal Service.
  • Middle names are not always written out on formal envelopes. For example, if Michael Jack Schmidt uses Michael J. Schmidt, follow his lead.
  • The return addresses may appear on the envelope flap, but it is more convenient all around, particularly for the Postal Service, if the return address is on the front of the envelope.
Here’s how to address an envelope to a married couple when the wife uses her maiden name:
Ms. Margaret Ferguson
and Mr. Horace Fitzhugh

Yes, the woman’s name goes first. Writing out the and indicates that the recipients are married. However, if the husband has a professional title, his name goes first:
The Reverend Horace Fitzhugh
and Ms. Margaret Ferguson

If Margaret uses her maiden name professionally but not socially, the correct address is Mr. and Mrs. Horace Fitzhugh or The Reverend and Mrs. Horace Fitzhugh. If Horace is deceased, do not address the envelope to Mrs. Margaret Fitzhugh because that would indicate she is divorced. Widows keep their husband’s first and last names. If Margaret’s son is a Jr., she may add Sr. to her name to avoid confusion. If Margaret is divorced, address it to Mrs. Margaret Fitzhugh unless she has resumed her maiden name. Then it’s Ms. (not Miss) Margaret Ferguson. A separated woman may continue to use her husband’s name until she is divorced. Don’t address letters to a single mother with Miss. It is inaccurate and may cause embarrassment.

No comments: