What is important:
Both your and the recipient’s addresses should be at the top of the letter. Normally, both are located at the top left, yours on top, and the recipient’s right below yours.
Use Frau for Ms or Mrs and Herr for Mr.
Place and date
After the addresses, write the place and date where the letter is being written. This is located on the right side of the letter. Two formats are possible:
Modern format: (city), dd.mm.yyyy (dd = day, mm = month, yyyy = year)
Classic format: (city), den dd.mm.yyyy
For some types of letter, such as when applying for a job, a subject line is appropriate. This goes below the date, to the left, and in bold type.
Salutations for letters
These standard formal greetings can be used for business correspondence or with anyone with whom you would normally address as Sie
Sehr geehrter Herr Braun,
Sehr geehrte Frau Braun,
Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,
Dear Mr Braun
Dear Ms/Mrs Braun
Dear Sir or Madam
Ladies and Gentlemen
To whom it may concern
If you are writing to someone with a professional title such as a doctor or a lawyer, then include it in the opening greeting.
To be kept in mind:
- Women are mentioned before men
- Salutations end with a comma, so the next line starts with a lowercase letter
- After the salutation, one line is left blank
- The next paragraph starts with a lowercase letter
Body of the letter
This paragraph starts with a lowercase letter.
It is extremely important to choose the appropriate personal pronoun. Not doing so, may make you sound impolite. For a formal letter, you will address the person as Sie, with the obligatory capital S at all times (other forms are Ihr and Ihnen).
Contrary to English, there is no comma after a concluding expression in German.
The most traditional closings are:
Mit freundlichen Grüßen
With cordial regards,