General Question

Link's avatar

Are cover letters and business letters single spaced?

Asked by Link (327 points ) August 12th, 2009

Are cover letters and business letters single spaced? How many blank lines go after the date, the address, paragraphs, and salutation? There is so much information on letter writing online, but very little on the spacing. Please help. Thanks.

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10 Answers

PerryDolia's avatar

Some of it is personal esthetics, but here is what I use:

Paragraphs are single spaced. Space between paragraphs is double spaced. One blank line after date, recipient’s address, salutation.

After the complimentary closing (Sincerely), 5 lines to make space for your signature, then your typed name, followed by any additional info: job title, address, phone number.

andrew's avatar

Yes. The only documents I’ve ever seen that were more than single spaced were term papers or manuscripts where the editor needs space to write comments.

Block spacing (as @PerryDolla suggests) is correct.

marinelife's avatar

Let me chime in with thirds on that. Here is a citation:

“Spacing should be standard. Your letter should be single-spaced with a double-space between the inside address and salutation, the salutation and the body of the letter, the body of the letter and the signature block, and the signature block and the enclosure reference. Spacing between your return address and the inside address can vary from 2 to 6 spaces, depending upon how your letter fits on the page. If you use flush left paragraphs, double-space between them.”

Source

SecondGlance's avatar

Single spaced. Other formatting has a lot to do with what is simply clean and easy to read.

@PerryDolia‘s suggestions are good, and you should be able to find real samples of cover letters and similar things online.

For physical mail-out letters (as opposed to emailed), some writers format them so that no text is printed where the folds will be. When you have text along the fold it can be very difficult to read, like when a standard sheet of paper is folded into thirds to fit a #10 envelope. A test print of your piece will help you avoid that.

dynamicduo's avatar

I’ve never seen double spacing being used anywhere outside of where the document would be edited or commented heavily. Single spacing is the norm.

Hatsumiko's avatar

I was taught this way:

LETTERHEAD

[as much spacing in this area as wanted]

Date

[4 lines, 3 spaces]

Name, Address of Recipient

[2 lines, one space]

Salutation

[2 lines, one space]

*First Paragraph *

[2 lines, one space]

Second Paragraph

[2 lines, one space]

Third Paragraph

[2 lines, one space]

“Sincerely,”

[4 lines, 3 spaces]

Signature in between the spaces and your name typed at the end of the 4th line

[2 lines, one space]

Enclosure notation (if needed)

Link's avatar

Thanks dudes. I know it doesn’t seem like you’re answering a very important question here, but believe me it’s a big help to me. Know I have a pretty darn good understanding on how to write a letter, and that in itself is a good skill to have. Every day I work to achieve the things I want, and I’m getting pretty close to achieving a lot of my big goals up to this point in life, and it’s funny how I’ve gotten so much help in that regard from the people on this site. Thanks again guys.

-Link

garydale's avatar

I agree with all of the people who said “yes”.

Kayak8's avatar

There is this thing called a “Style Manual.” These are books in which the ‘gold standard” to handle this kind of thing is articulated. For example, the many journalists use the AP Style Manual when writing for their newspapers. The style manual is where the decision of how to spell unusual non-English names (e.g., Khaddaffi, Quadaffi) is made so things are consistent for the reader.

There is the classic, “Chicago Manual of Style” that I use all the time. It tells how to set up a variety of letters, it offers all the salutations you might ever need to write letters to every one from the Pope to the Nigerian Ministry of Pork Chops.

The suggestions above are all good, but if you think you might find yourself writing a variety of correspondence and longer documents, a style manual is a gift.

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