What does “care of” mean in a letter address? Let’s have a closer look.
“Care of” means by the way of someone or through someone. It is often abbreviated “c/o.” This is used when something is being delivered to an address where they don’t normally receive mail. It is a way of letting the post office know the recipient is not the normal recipient at that address.
You begin addressing the letter as usual. The recipient’s name goes on the first line. Then, you start the second line with care of (or “c/o,”) followed by the person or company name that is normally associated with that address. Here is an article on general punctuation help when writing letter addresses.
Example #1: Use of c/o for Businesses
Imagine that you are trying to get in touch with someone, but you don’t know their home address. You could use “care of” to send a letter to them where they work. Or, this can be helpful if you are sending a thank you card to someone that helped you at a place of business. Using c/o draws attention to a specific person.
c/o Happy Handbags
953 Main St.
City, ST 12345
Example #2: Use of c/o for Hotels
Sometimes this abbreviation is used to reach someone at a hotel when you don’t know their room number.
c/o Hampton Hotel
833 First St.
City, ST 11223
Example #3: Use of c/o for Event Invitations
What if you want to invite Michelle to your party, but you don’t know her address? Then you remember that she is friends with Terry, another person you are inviting to the party. You can send an invitation intended for Michelle to Terry’s address.
c/o Terry Rodriguez
999 Second St.
City, ST 44556
Related: Check out our article on proper address format for letters.
Modern technology has made it less common to send something in care of another person. However, the practice still exists, and now you know how to do it properly!