In English, it is common to begin both personal letters and business correspondence with "Dear ___" and to end them with "Sincerely." In Spanish, however, there is more variation depending on how formal you wish to be.
Greetings: In personal correspondence, the equivalent of "dear" is querido or querida, depending on the sex of the person. The plural form can also be used. In Spanish, it is more common to follow the greeting with a colon rather than the comma usually used in English.
- Querido Roberto (Dear Roberto)
- Querida Ana (Dear Ana)
- Queridos Juan y Lisa (Dear John and Lisa)
- Estimado Sr. Rodríguez (Dear Mr. Rodriguez)
- Estimada Sra. Cruz (Dear Mrs./Ms. Cruz)
- Estimada Srta. González (Dear Miss Gonzalez)
If you don't know the name of the person you're writing to, you can use the following formats:
- Muy señor mío (Dear sir)
- Estimado señor (Dear sir)
- Muy señora mía (Dear madam)
- Estimada señora (Dear madam)
- Muy señores míos (Dear sirs, dear sirs/madams)
- Estimados señores (Dear sirs, dear sirs/madams)
Greetings in Spanish should be followed by a colon, not a comma as is common in English. Such use of the comma is considered an anglicism.
Salutations: Although the following closings for personal letters may sound overly affectionate to English speakers, they are quite commonly used:
- Un abrazo (literally, a hug)
- Un fuerte abrazo (literally, a strong hug)
- Cariñosos saludos (roughly, kind regards)
- Afectuosamente (affectionately)
- Besos y abrazos (literally, kisses and hugs)
- Besos (literally, kisses)
- Con todo mi cariño (with all my caring)
- Con todo mi afecto (with all my affection)
There are many other greetings and salutations that can be used other than those listed, but these will be suitable in nearly all situations.