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How to Write an Address


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How to Write an Address

Basics on the topic How to Write an Address

How to Write an Address – Introduction

When sending a letter, a postcard, or a parcel, we include an address. We need to make sure it is spelled and structured properly, so the post office workers can deliver the letter to the correct location.

Addresses consist of the following:

  • person's full name,
  • house number,
  • street address,
  • city name,
  • state and zip code.


On a letter or a package, the address of a recipient or a person who you are sending the mail to, is written in the middle of the envelope. Your address, known as the return address, is written of the same side of the envelope, in the upper left corner. It is important to include your own address, so if there is a problem with delivery, your mail can be sent back to you.


In this article, we will answer how to write an American address. If you are sending a letter internationally, check online how to address an envelope to the country you want to send your letter to.

How to Write an Address – Formatting

When we write an address on the front of an envelope or a package, we split it into three lines. Have a look at the example below:

Address Contents Example
full name Sarah Smile
house number
& street name
123 Giggle Ave
town / city,
state abbreviation
& zip code
Richmond, VA 22548

The first line of an address includes a full name of a person you want to send a letter to. The second line is a house number and a street name. In the third line we write a town or a city name, a state abbreviation, and a zip code.

A zip code is one of the most important components of the address. It is a unique five-digit number that tells the postal workers which post office in your town to send your mail to. So make sure to double-check it before you send a letter!

To better remember the format of an address, use this graphic organizer:


Pay attention to the punctuation for addresses. We always use a comma between the name of a city and the state.

It is also useful to know how to write an address with an apartment number. If a person you are writing to lives in an apartment, you need to include an apartment number in the second line, like this:

Gary Gamer
55 Recess Rd Apt 44
Boulder, CO 80304

Sometimes you need to write an address inside of a letter. In this case it will include the same information, but have a different format. This is how to write an address on one line inside the letter:

Marion McMusic, 321 Sonata St, Ann Arbor, MI 48106

Pay attention to commas in address examples: when we write an address in one line, we put a comma after every section of the address.

Common Address Abbreviations

You have probably noticed, that we use a lot of abbreviations in addresses. In street names, some parts of the name can be shortened, like avenue to ave. If you are wondering, “How do you abbreviate addresses?”, our list of common street address abbreviations can help you:

Word Abbreviation Word Abbreviation
Avenue Ave Lake Lk
Boulevard Blvd Lane Ln
Circle Cir Place Pl
Drive Dr Road Rd
Highway Hwy Street St

State Abbreviations in Addresses

All the U.S. states and territories have specific two-letter abbreviations, where both letters are capitalized. If you are wondering “How do you write a state abbreviation?” or “What are the 50 state abbreviations?”, check out our table with abbreviations for all the 50 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico.

State or Territory Abbreviation State or Territory Abbreviation
Alabama AL Montana MT
Alaska AK Nebraska NE
Arizona AZ Nevada NV
Arkansas AR New Hampshire NH
California CA New Jersey NJ
Colorado CO New Mexico NM
Connecticut CT New York NY
Delaware DE North Carolina NC
District of Columbia DC North Dakota ND
Florida FL Ohio OH
Georgia GA Oklahoma OK
Hawaii HI Oregon OR
Idaho ID Pennsylvania PA
Illinois IL Puerto Rico PR
Indiana IN Rhode Island RI
Iowa IA South Carolina SC
Kansas KS South Dakota SD
Kentucky KY Tennessee TN
Louisiana LA Texas TX
Maine ME Utah UT
Maryland MD Vermont VT
Massachusetts MA Virginia VA
Michigan MI Washington WA
Minnesota MN West Virginia WV
Mississippi MS Wisconsin WI
Missouri MO Wyoming WY

How to Write an Address – Summary

Let’s remember what we have learned about writing an address.

Addresses are made up of a person's full name, house number, street address, city name, state, and zip code.

When we write the address on an envelope, we write it like this:

Sarah Smile
123 Giggle Ave
Richmond, VA 22548

If we need to write an address inside the letter, we write in like this:

Sarah Smile, 123 Giggle Ave, Richmond, VA 22548

Don’t forget to capitalize every word in an address, include commas in proper places and use abbreviations.

Now you are ready to send a letter to your pen pal! You know how to write an address correctly and how to use commas and abbreviations in addresses. If you want more practice, check out our video and activities!

Frequently Asked Questions about Writing Addresses

How to properly write an address on a letter, on a package, or on a postcard?
Where to put commas in addresses?
How to write a return address on an envelope?
How do you punctuate an address in a sentence with state abbreviations?
What “pl” stands for in an address?

Transcript How to Write an Address

Pip is sending a package to his American pen pal, Josie. In order to make sure it is delivered, he needs to learn... how to write an address. Addresses are made up of a person's full name, house number, street address, city name, state, and zip code. The post office needs all of this information spelled properly and in the correct order to get mail to the proper location, so we have a standard way of writing addresses. When writing an address on the front of an envelope or package, we split up the parts into three lines, like this. The first line is the FULL name. The second line is the house number and street name. The third line is the town or city name, a COMMA, state abbreviation, and zip code. All words in an address MUST be capitalized. While we write out most words of the address, there are some parts we can abbreviate. In street names, some parts of the name can be shortened, like boulevard to , , , ... drive to ,... and avenue to ,, . All of our states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico have a specific two letter abbreviation. These abbreviations MUST be capitalized. Here, South Dakota is abbreviated to . There are websites where you can find all of the state abbreviations. In the comments, share a state abbreviation that you know. After the state, we need to put the zip code, which is a five digit number. This important number tells the postal workers which post office in your town to send your mail to, so it gets to you quicker. If the mail is coming from another country, it will also have another line with our country's abbreviation. If you are sending mail from one state to another, you do not need to include this because all of the states in our country use this format. However, other countries have their own way of writing addresses. If you are sending something internationally, or to another country, check to see their address format. On a letter or package, the person to who you are sending the mail to, address goes HERE... centered in the middle. Your address, known as the return address goes HERE in the upper lefthand corner. This is important to include, so if there is a problem delivering your mail, they can send it back to you. Sometimes, we include an address when we are writing it INSIDE of a letter. This will include all the same type of information, but here we write it like it's part of a sentence and it looks like THIS. All of the words are still capitalized... and there are commas between the address sections. We have the person’s FULL name… COMMA… house number and street address… COMMA… town or city… COMMA… state… and zip code with NO comma between the two. While Pip waits for Josie's return package, let's review. Remember... Addresses are made up of a person's full name, house number, street address, city name, state, and zip code. The post office needs all of this information spelled properly and in the correct order to get the mail to the proper location. We address our letters and packages like this... or like this if it is written inside of the letter. Every word must be capitalized and we must include commas in the proper places. Oh look, Pip has received Josie's package(...), and inside is the coin he's been wishing to collect! [Pip is pasting his pic of Josie and the card/patch/coin and her picture into his collecting album]

1 comment
1 comment
  1. good job pip

    From Abu, 7 months ago

How to Write an Address exercise

Would you like to apply the knowledge you’ve learned? You can review and practice it with the tasks for the video How to Write an Address .
  • Who sent the letter?


    The sender's information is located on the upper left side of the envelope.

    The full name is always located in the first line of the address.


    Otis sent the letter!

  • Do you know these abbreviations?


    Abbreviations are the short form of a word. They have some, but not all, of the same letters as the full word.

    Boulevard = Blvd

    This is an example of an abbreviation. You can see how the letters b, l, v, and d are also in the word Boulevard.

    Can you guess which letters would be in the short form of the word Drive?

    States also have abbreviations that are only 2 capital letters.

    Can you find the abbreviations for the states Maryland and Oregon?


    The abbreviated forms are:

    • Street = St
    • Avenue = Ave
    • Road = Rd
    • Lane = Ln
    • Maryland = MD
    • Oregon = OR
  • What's Tony's address?


    Look at the example below of a correctly written address.

    What information is written first? A name, street address, or zip code?

    Remember: the name is first, then the street address.

    Do you know what comes next?

    Remember: the city is written in front of the state.

    Can you find the city and state in the word bank?


    The correct way to write Tony's address inside a letter is:

    Tony Orchard, 1002 Blossom Road, Traverse City, MI 55692.

  • Reading an address.


    The recipient is the person who receives the letter. In the US, their information is located in the middle of the envelope.

    The Zip Code is a 5-digit number of the post office that the letter will be sent to.

    Do you see a 5-digit number in the image?

    Remember: when addressing mail, the state is written in a shortened form.

    Look for 2 capital letters to find out which state the mail will be sent to.

    1. House Number: 16
    2. Name of Recipient: Bobby Sprout
    3. Zip Code: 57791
    4. Street Name: Grassy Plains Blvd
    5. City: Wasta
    6. State: SD
  • Address Scramble!


    The image below shows a correctly written address.

    On which line do you see a person's name?

    The zip code is a 5-digit number that goes in the third line.

    Where do you see the zip code?


    The address should be written as:

    Archie Zoom

    78 Grasshopper Rd

    Boise, ID 98522


  • Spot the errors.


    The beginning of every word in an address should be capitalized.

    Do you see any words that Pip forgot to capitalize?

    Commas are a type of punctuation that look like this: ,

    Notice where the commas are in the correctly written address below.

    We abbreviate states and words, such as road and street.

    Do you see any incorrect abbreviations?

    There are 5 errors on the envelope.

    Can you spot them all?


    The errors are:

    • The comma after "Treehouse" should be removed
    • "jimboomba" should be capitalized
    • "waterfall" should be capitalized
    • The zip code "00749" is in the wrong order. It should be at the end of the third line
    • "Florida" should be abbreviated as FL