7 Ways to Address a Letter in Spanish | Examples + Closings


If you’re learning Spanish and you have friends or relatives that also speak this language, it’s very likely that at some point you may want to send them a letter or an email. So, if you want to do this, you may be wondering how to address a letter in Spanish. 

Depending on its degree of formality, the most common words to start and address a letter in Spanish are: 

  • Querido / Querida 
  • Estimado / Estimada 
  • A quien corresponda 
  • Apreciado / Apreciada 
  • Honorable 
  • Distinguido / Distinguida
  • Hola 

Since sending or receiving letters can be something that you may have to deal with, in this article, I’ve compiled a list of 7 ways to address a letter in Spanish. Of course, you can also use these salutations over email 😉

In addition to explaining to you the best contexts to use these words, I’ll also show you some examples of how to apply them. And as a bonus, I’ll include some expressions that you can use to close your letter. 

By the end of this, you’ll have a better understanding of how to start your letter in Spanish. 

1. Querido – Dear

One of the most common ways to address a letter is by using the term querido or its feminine form querida. Both of these terms mean ‘dear’ but they’re also suitable for more informal letters or emails. So, since these words show affection and familiarity, they’re perfect to use in an informal letter to a friend or relative

In this context, querido is an adjective. This means that you need to make sure that this word agrees in gender and number with the person that you’re addressing the letter to. Here are some examples: 

Querido + [noun/name]

Querida Ana, espero que tú y los niños estén bien… 
Dear Ana, I hope you and the kids are doing well…

Queridos amigos, les escribo desde Buenos Aires… 
Dear friends, I’m writing to you from Buenos Aires… 

Querido Ben, espero que la hayas pasado bien en tu cumpleaños
Dear Ben, I hope that you had a great time on your birthday…

Notice that ‘querido’ and ‘querida’ are always followed by either the recipient’s name or a noun that you’re using to refer to such a person (abuelos, amigos, primos, etc). 

Take Note: Querido and querida are also popular terms that can be used as a term of endearment for couples. In this case, these words don’t need to be followed by a name or a noun. 

¿Cómo estuvo tu día, querida?
How was your day, dear?

2. Estimado – Dear

Estimado and estimada are a more formal way to say ‘dear’ in Spanish. As a result, these are common terms that we use to send an email or a letter where we need to keep our distance for professional reasons. So, in simple words, ‘estimado’ is the formal version of ‘querido’. 

Due to its formality, ‘estimado’ is commonly used in commercial or more professional emails and letters. So, unless you want to sound very fancy, you don’t want to use these terms when addressing your friends and family. Also, make sure that the word agrees in number and gender with the recipient.  

Here are some examples of how to use this term: 

Estimado + [name / noun]

Estimada Daniela, nos complace informarle…
Dear Daniela, We are pleased to inform you…

Estimado Samuel, recibimos su carta y deseamos notificarle…
Dear Samuel, we received your letter and we would like to notify you…

If you want this salutation to be more formal, you can add one of the following titles to the structure:

  • Sr. / Sra. – Mr. / Mrs. 
  • Srta. – Miss

Estimado + [title] + [last name]

Estimado Sr. López, quería informarle sobre…
Dear Mr. López, I wanted to inform you about…

Estimada Sra. Smith, le escribo con motivo de…
Dear Mrs. Smith, I’m writing to you in regards to…

Take Note: In informal Spanish, it’s common for speakers to use the expression mi estimado or mi estimada as an affectionate (but not romantic) and casual way to call your friends. As you may imagine, ‘mi estimado’ is the direct translation of ‘my dear’. 

¿Cómo estás, mi estimado?
How are you, my dear?

3. A quien corresponda – To whom it may concern

In Spanish, we use the expression a quien corresponda when we don’t know to whom we’re supposed to address a letter or an email. So, as you can imagine this phrase is the direct translation of ‘to whom it may concern’ and it’s usually applied in formal and professional settings. 

Unlike other expressions from this list, when using ‘a quien corresponda’ you don’t need to worry about adjusting the expression to match the gender of the recipient. So, this expression is neutral.

A quien corresponda + [body of the letter]

SpanishEnglish
A quien corresponda:
Por medio de esta carta recomiendo ampliamente a la señorita Amelia Perculi como una joven responsable y honesta. Como ex compañera de trabajo, puedo garantizar que la Srta. Perculi es capaz de realizar las actividades que se esperan de ella. 
Quedo a sus órdenes para resolver cualquier duda. 
To whom it may concern:
By means of this letter, I highly recommend Miss Amelia Perculi as a responsible and honest young woman. As a former co-worker, I can reassure that Miss Perculi is capable of performing the activities expected from her. 
I am at your disposal to resolve any doubts.  

4. Apreciado – Dear 

When it comes to addressing letters in Spanish, apreciado is the most formal way to say ‘dear’. Given the formality of this salutation, ‘apreciado’ and its feminine form ‘apreciada’ are only used on very professional emails or letters. 

As a customer, I have received a lot of letters using ‘apreciada’ (I guess it’s a way for companies to treat their customers well), but when it comes to writing something formal, I feel more comfortable using ‘estimado’. Of course this is only my personal preference, but I wanted to share it with you so you can see the difference between these terms. 

Apreciado / Apreciada + (title) + (noun / last name]

Apreciados alumnos, les informamos que el departamento de…
Dear students, we inform you that the department of…

Apreciado Sr. Jones, el motivo de esta carta es notificarle…
Dear Mr. Jones, the purpose of this letter is to notify you…

Apreciados doctores, tenemos el placer de invitarlos…
Dear doctors, we are pleased to invite you… 

5. Honorable – Honorable 

As you may imagine, honorable is the direct translation of ‘honorable’. Do we actually use this word to address a letter in Spanish? Yes, we do but on very special and rare occasions. Since this word expresses a lot of respect and formality, we use it when our letter is being addressed to a judge, ambassador or minister.

So if you’re traveling to another country and you need to contact your ambassador, now you know how to do it. Now, since I’m very cheeky I may use this term if I email my parents and because they know I’m joking it wouldn’t be that formal 😉  

Honorable + [title] 

Honorable Sr. Embajador, me dirijo a usted para solicitarle…
Honorable Ambassador, I’m writing to you to request…

 Honorable juez José Villa, por este medio…
Honorable judge José Villa, by means of this letter…

Honorable Sr. Jones, el motivo de esta carta es para informarle…
Honorable Mr. Jones, the purpose of this letter is to inform you…

6. Distinguido – Distinguished / Dear

In Spanish, distinguido or distinguida are terms that we can use to address a formal letter. Both of these terms are the direct translation of ‘distinguished’, but in this context, they are also a formal synonym of ‘dear’. 

As you can imagine, you can use ‘distinguido’ and all of its forms when your letter or email requires you to write with a lot of formality. Here are some examples:

Distinguido +  [noun/name]

Distinguidos señores, la gerencia tiene el placer de invitarlos…
Dear gentleman, the management has the pleasure of inviting you to…

Distinguida señorita Sánchez, lamentamos informarle que su aplicación…
Dear Miss Sánchez, we regret to inform you that your application…

Distinguidos miembros, a través de este medio, queremos…
Distinguished members, by this means, we would like to…

7. Hola – Hi / Hey

As you may imagine, one of the most informal ways to address a letter in Spanish is by simply using hola. Since this is a very casual term, you should only use it with emails or letters where you’re addressing family members and friends. 

Just like any other Spanish greeting, hola can be simply followed by the name of the person that you’re writing to or, if you’re talking to a bigger group of people, by a noun. Here are some examples:

Hola + [name / noun]

Hola, Esmeralda, te escribo para felicitarte por…
Hi Esmeralda, I write to you to congratulate you on…

Hola, Beto, hace mucho que no nos vemos y quería…
Hi Beto, we haven’t seen each other for a while and I wanted… 

Hola a todos, les mando esta carta desde España. Quería contarles…
Hi everybody, I’m sending you this letter from Spain. I wanted to tell you…  

Bonus: Closing Phrases & Farewells for your Letter

Okay, now that you have some expressions to address your letter, you may be wondering what the best expressions to end your letter in Spanish are. Fear not! In the table below, you’ll find the answer to your prayers 😉 

Expressions to close a letter in Spanish

SpanishSituationEnglish
Un fuerte abrazoCasual A big hug
Con todo mi cariñoCasualWith all my love
SinceramenteFormalSincerely
Le agradezco de antemanoFormalThank you in advance
Sin más por el momentoFormalSincerely yours
Quedo a sus órdenesFormalI’m at your disposal
Espero saber de ti prontoCasualLooking forward to hear from you
Un saludo / SaludosCasualCheers
AtentamenteFormalYours sincerely
CordialmenteFormalSincerely / Kind regards
Quedo atento a su respuestaFormalI’m looking forward to your response
Te mando un beso y un abrazoCasualI send you a kiss and a hug

Wrapping Up

Learning Spanish is all about being able to apply your knowledge in different contexts. For that reason, in this article, we learned common ways to address a letter in Spanish. Remember that, due to their formality, these expressions may be less or more suitable for certain situations. 

We also learned some phrases that you can use to close your letter. Hopefully, now you’re ready to start applying this vocabulary to your emails and letters. ¡Saludos!

Daniela Sanchez

¡Hola! Soy Daniela Sanchez, I’ve taught Spanish in Mexico to a wide array of foreigners. From students and tourists to doctors and soldiers who’ve moved and visited here over the years. During the day I’m a freelancer and marketer, while at night I’m here writing for students of the world wide web looking to learn Spanish. I hope you find what you’re looking here during your journey into Español 🙂 Read More About Me

Recent Posts

Tell Me In Spanish