October 1, 2021 by Luis F. Dominguez Spanish Grammar 0 comments
Learning how to write a formal letter in Spanish is one of the most useful skills you can add to your professional toolbox.
“Wait, are you saying that people still write letters?”
Yes, and their importance is still as paramount now as ever before.
For that reason, today I will review what a formal letter is, the differences between formal and informal letters, and the situations when you may need to write one. At the end of the post, I will guide you through the process of writing a formal letter in Spanish step by step, and provide you with a few examples.
What Is a Formal Letter in Spanish?
A formal letter is a written document that refers to an institutional, financial, academic, or business topic, using formal, professional language.
Formal letters are usually reserved for situations where you want to formally ask for something, recommend someone, introduce a person, product, or service, make a claim, or officially provide and communicate important information.
Many times, formal letters occur between people who don’t know each other, hence the need of using clear and respectful language.
Formal Letter vs Informal Letter
Formal and informal letters have many differences between them. They differ in their objective, format, the situations we approach through them, the length of the sentences we include in the letter, and also in what type of voice we use.
The objective of formal letters is a professional communication and it uses a prescribed format. You write a formal letter to businesses, institutions, universities, organizations, and any other formal addressee. You can use the passive voice and long and complex sentences are accepted too.
On the other hand, informal letters have personal communication as their objective, so they don’t follow a prescribed format. You write them to friends and family members using an active voice and short, simple, and direct sentences.
When Might You Need to Write a Formal Letter?
Besides the aforementioned situations for formal letters, you may also need to write this type of document to:
- Insurance companies
- Government officials
How To Write a Formal Letter in Spanish
Now that you know what a formal letter is and its differences from an informal one, let’s find out how to write a formal letter in Spanish.
Begin a Letter in Spanish
In formal letters, it’s important to use formal greetings and introduce yourself in a brief but clear way.
This list includes Spanish greetings used in formal letters and their respective translation.
For an exhaustive list of greetings in Spanish, read The Ultimate List of Spanish Greetings and Farewells.
Greetings in Spanish
|to whom it may concern||a quien corresponda|
|to the department of||al departamento de|
|I give you a warm greeting||reciba usted un cordial saludo|
|I hope this letter finds you well||espero que esta carta le encuentre bien|
|I hope you’re in good health||espero que se encuentre gozando de buena salud|
How To Introduce Yourself
A formal letter in Spanish requires that you introduce yourself in a direct way, using your full name, title, and position if it’s a business letter.
Mi nombre es Luis Fernando Domínguez Mora; soy Licenciado en Ciencias de la Comunicación y escritor freelance.
My name is Luis Fernando Domínguez Mora, I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Sciences and I’m a freelance writer.
In a brief sentence, I communicated everything the person who will receive my letter needs to know about me professionally.
What To Include in the Body of the Letter
Usually, when writing a formal letter in Spanish (or any other language for that matter) it’s because you need to deal with a specific issue. There’s a reason you’re writing this letter to that organization, employer, or business person, so the best piece of advice I can give you is to go straight to the point.
Identify the reason for your letter and, once you have introduced yourself, express it as directly and clearly as you can. You can start using one of the following phrases:
- Por medio de la presente, me permito informarle que…
Through this medium, I’d like to inform you that…
- El motivo de esta carta es…
The purpose of this letter is…
- Le escribo para consultarle acerca de…
I am writing to inquire about…
- Lamento informarle…
I regret to inform you…
For example, if you’re applying for a job say exactly that:
Estoy interesado en la vacante de diseñador publicada en su sitio web.
I’m interested in the designer position published on your website.
If you want to file a complaint:
Quiero presentar una queja por el trato recibido el día…
I want to file a complaint about the services provided on [date]…
Then, proceed to explain your arguments to sustain your application, complaint, or petition in the best possible way.
How to Close a Letter in Spanish
Once you have communicated the reason for your letter and explained your arguments about it, there’s no point in extending the letter any longer. Close your letter out and say goodbye using a formal Spanish farewell.
Letter Closings in Spanish
Once you have finished explaining the reason for the letter and your arguments, you can’t simply say goodbye. First, you need to add a closing to your letter. This is where you write how thankful you’re, how you’ll be waiting for an answer, and your expectations for what should follow next.
You can use one of the following closing lines:
- Sin más por el momento, quedo a la espera de su respuesta…
Without further ado, I await your response…
- Le agradezco de antemano…
Thank you in advance…
- Gracias por su atención y espero su respuesta…
Thank you for your attention and I await your response…
Farewells in Spanish
Finally, it’s time to say goodbye but in a formal fashion.
The following are widely used in formal letters in Spanish.
|cordial greetings||un cordial saludo|
|I take my leave, sincerely||me despido atentamente|
Letter Samples in Spanish
Writing letters in Spanish is accessible enough, but it’s always easier when you get to see an actual example of formal letters in Spanish. This is why I’m adding two different formal letters in Spanish here—including their English translation.
Formal Letter 1
Ciudad de México, 24 de septiembre de 2021
Estimado José R. Fernández:
Director de Noticias Periódico Récord
Mi nombre es Luis Fernando Domínguez Mora; soy Licenciado en Ciencias de la Comunicación y escritor autónomo. El motivo de esta carta es informarle que estoy interesado en la vacante de periodista deportivo publicada en su periódico el día 22 de septiembre.
Tengo amplia experiencia en el medio deportivo, he trabajado en medios deportivos nacionales y soy un apasionado de los deportes en general.
Envío mi currículum vitae adjunto a esta carta. Le solicito atentamente que lo revise y, si lo considera oportuno, me conceda una entrevista de trabajo.
Sin más por el momento quedo a la espera de su respuesta.
Mexico City, September 22, 2021
Dear José R. Fernández
News Director Récord Newspaper
My name is Luis Fernando Domínguez Mora; I have a Bachelor Degree in Communication Sciences, and I’m a freelance writer. The purpose of this letter is to inform you that I’m interested in the sports journalist position published in your newspaper on September 22nd.
I have a long experience in the sports world, I’ve previously worked on national sports media, and I’m passionate about sports in general.
Please find my resumé attached to this letter. I kindly ask you to take a look at it and, if you consider it plausible, give me the opportunity to interview for the job.
Without any further ado, I await your answer.
Formal Letter 2
Buenos Aires, 12 de agosto de 2021
A quien corresponda:
Mi nombre es María González; soy estudiante de bachillerato en el Colegio Cervantes de Buenos Aires.
Le escribo para consultarle acerca de la posibilidad de obtener una beca para ingresar a su universidad. Mi sueño es estudiar Biología Marina en la Universidad de Buenos Aires y me he preparado arduamente para conseguirlo.
Actualmente cuento con un promedio de 9.5 en todo mi bachillerato, soy la capitana del equipo de básquetbol del colegio y soy miembro activa del club de debate.
La situación económica de mi familia no nos permite pagar el costo completo de la colegiatura en su universidad, razón por la cual estoy solicitando una beca.
Le agradezco de antemano sus atenciones y quedo a la espera de su respuesta.
Estudiante de Bachillerato
Buenos Aires, August 12, 2021
To whom it may concern:
My name is María González; I am a high school student at Colegio Cervantes de Buenos Aires.
I’m writing to inquire about the possibility of receiving a scholarship to study in your university. My dream is to major in Marine Biology at Buenos Aires University, and I have worked extremely hard to achieve it.
Currently, I have a 9.5 high school average, I’m the captain of the basketball team, and I’m an active member of the debate club.
My family’s economic situation doesn’t allow for us to pay the full tuition fees at your university, which is why I’m asking for a scholarship.
I thank you in advance and look forward to hearing from you.
High school student
Write Your Next Formal Letter in Spanish!
Now that you have learned the details and intricacies of a formal letter in Spanish, you can write one to apply for a job in a Spanish-speaking country or to show your interest in studying at a Latin American university.
According to The Economist, just knowing a foreign language alone can make you earn up to $125,000 more. Also, the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that interpreters and translators are among the fastest-growing occupations.
Sign up for a free class and practice your writing skills. HSA has been providing reliable services for Spanish learners for more than 10 years. We offer flexible scheduling and tailored Spanish packages.
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Luis F. Dominguez
Freelance Writer at Homeschool Spanish Academy
Luis F. Domínguez is a freelance writer and independent journalist interested in travel, languages, art, books, history, philosophy, politics and sports. He has written for Fodor’s, Yahoo!, Sports Illustrated, Telemundo, and Villa Experience, among other brands of print and digital media in Europe and North America.
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grammar spanish grammar
How do you start a letter or email in Spanish? ›
- Apreciado señor – Dear sir.
- Estimado señor – Dear sir.
- Apreciada señora – Dear madam.
- Estimada señora – Dear madam.
- Apreciados señores – Dear sirs, dear sirs/madams.
- Estimados señores – Dear sirs, dear sirs/madams.
- A quien corresponda – To whom it may concern.
Most formal letters will start with 'Dear' before the name of the person that you are writing to. You can choose to use first name and surname, or title and surname. However, if you don't know the name of the person you are writing to, you must use 'Dear Sir or Madam,'.How do I write a formal letter? ›
- Write your name and contact information. ...
- Include the date. ...
- Include the recipient's name and contact information. ...
- Write a subject line for AMS style. ...
- Write a salutation for block style. ...
- Write the body of the letter. ...
- Include a sign-off. ...
- Proofread your letter.
The common verbal greeting is “Buenos dias” (Good day), “Buenas tardes” (Good afternoon) or “Buenas noches” (Good evening/night) depending on the time of day. People may also say “¿Como está?” (How are you). A more casual greeting is “Hola” (Hello).How do you address a letter to Mr and Mrs in Spanish? ›
señor (Sr.) → mister (Mr.) señora (Sra.) → missus (Mrs.)
"¿Por qué no hablamos en la tarde?"How do you end a Spanish love letter? ›
You could end your letter with “Con amor” (“With love”) or “Con cariño” (“With affection”). “Besos y abrazos” (“hugs and kisses”) is another cute and affectionate way to end a letter to someone you love. What is “Saludos”?Is estimado formal? ›
"Estimado" is more used as the heading of a formal letter: Estimado Sr.What is a letter in Spanish? ›
[ˈletəʳ ] 1. [ of alphabet] letra f. the letter G la letra G.How do you start a professional email in Spanish? ›
(1) Start your email with a formal greeting. Use either estimado/a (esteemed), or querido/a (dear.) (2) Use the formal usted instead of tú. (3) Finish your email with a formal farewell sentence.
What are formal greetings in Spanish? ›
|English||Spanish – Informal||Spanish – Formal|
|Good morning||Buenos días|
|Good afternoon/ Good evening||Buenas tardes|
|Good evening/ good night||Buenas noches|
|How are you?||¿Cómo estás?||¿Cómo está usted?|
4 Answers. If this is a formal letter, use "Estimada Susana" (Esteemed Susana). If this is just a normal letter to a normal friend, use "Querida Susana" (Dear Susana). If she is a close friend who is very dear to you, use "Queridísima Susana" (Extremely Dear Susana).What is the best opening sentence for a letter? ›
- With reference to your letter of 8 June, I … .
- I am writing to enquire about … .
- After having seen your advertisement in … , I would like … .
- After having received your address from … , I … .
- I received your address from … and would like … .
- We/I recently wrote to you about … .
Your full typewritten name and designation (on separate lines) should appear beneath your handwritten signature. If you do not know the name of the person you are writing to, begin with Dear Sir or Dear Sir or Madam or Dear Madam and end your letter with Yours faithfully, followed by your full name and designation.What are the 5 types of formal letter? ›
- Letter of Enquiry.
- Order Letter.
- Letter of Complaint.
- Reply to a Letter of Complaint.
- Promotion Letter.
- Sales Letter.
- Recovery Letter.
"Estimado" is more used as the heading of a formal letter: Estimado Sr.How do you start a letter to a friend in Spanish? ›
4 Answers. If this is a formal letter, use "Estimada Susana" (Esteemed Susana). If this is just a normal letter to a normal friend, use "Querida Susana" (Dear Susana). If she is a close friend who is very dear to you, use "Queridísima Susana" (Extremely Dear Susana).What is the most common greeting in Spanish? ›
The common verbal greeting is “Buenos dias” (Good day), “Buenas tardes” (Good afternoon) or “Buenas noches” (Good evening/night) depending on the time of day. People may also say “¿Como está?” (How are you). A more casual greeting is “Hola” (Hello).How do you greet someone in a formal email? ›
- "Dear Sir or Madam"
- "To [insert title]"
- "To Whom It May Concern"
- "Dear Mr./Ms."
- "Dear [first name]"
- "Hi, [first name]"
- "Hello or Hello, [name]"
The translators and dictionaries say that Estimado Señor = Dear Sir, but it's really more like Esteemed Sir, whereas Querido really is Dear. Like Kiwi Girl said, one is more professional, used in business letters, the other is more for familiar and informal letters.
How do you end a Spanish love letter? ›
You could end your letter with “Con amor” (“With love”) or “Con cariño” (“With affection”). “Besos y abrazos” (“hugs and kisses”) is another cute and affectionate way to end a letter to someone you love. What is “Saludos”?How do you address a Spanish woman? ›
When she is not married nor old, we use Señorita which adds the formality without the age or the event of marriage. When you wanna imply that the woman is old or married, you can say Señora and here, in Mexico, it may sound like you are addressing a married woman.