A: CORRESPONDENCE EXCHANGE
C: INFORMATION FLOW
G: WISHES AND CONGRATULATIONS
I: FINISHING THE LETTER
K: BUSINESS ACTIONS
L: MAKING AND ANSWERING COMPLAINTS
M: ARRANGING AN APPOINTMENT
O: PROPOSALS AND PROMISES
P: USEFUL BUSINESS WRITING EXPRESSIONS
A: CORRESPONDENCE EXCHANGE
by separate mail = отдельной почтой
by air mail = авиапочтой
to our address = на наш адрес
in block letters = печатными буквами
in handwriting = от руки
to receive a letter = получить письмо
a letter of December 26 = письмо от 26 Декабря
to enclose (a booklet) = приложить (буклет)
to receive a reply from the letter dated… = получить ответ на письмо датированное…
to refer to (a letter) = ссылаться на (письмо)
to fill in a form = заполнить бланк (форму)
certified letter (registered letter) = заказное письмо
post paid envelope = конверт
cable = телеграмма
kind letter = любезное письмо
to be in communication with… = поддерживать связь с…
There are several questions I would like to ask. = У меня есть несколько вопросов.
We received a fairly encouraging response. = Мы получили весьма обнадеживающий ответ.
I hope to hear from you in response of my letter = Надеюсь получить ответ на свое письмо.
Do not hesitate to contact me. = Не стесняйтесь обращаться ко мне.
We look forward to your (early) reply. = Ждем вашего (скорого) ответа.
You prompt reply will be appreciated. = Буду благодарен за быстрый ответ.
Please, notify that a reply is required by… without fail. = Пожалуйста, учтите, что ответ непременно требуется не позднее…
Waiting for your kind reply we remain… = В ожидании вашего ответа, остаемся…
We would gratefully appreciate the answer. = Будем очень благодарны за ответ.
I am pleased to… = Мне очень приятно…
I am pleased to send you a copy of… = Я с удовольствием высылаю вам экземпляр…
As you know from our previous correspondence…= Как вы знаете аз нашей переписки…
Our letter crossed yours. = Наше письмо разминулось с вашим.
a pleasant surprise = приятный сюрприз
Many thanks for… = Большое спасибо за…
Many thanks in advance = Заранее большое спасибо.
I was pleased to… = Мне было приятно…
I am much obliged to you for… = Премного обязан за…
We are grateful for your co-operation. = Мы благодарны за сотрудничество.
Please, accept my sincere (/deep) appreciation for your help. = Пожалуйста, примите мою искреннюю (глубокую) благодарность за Вашу помощь.
I deeply appreciate… (you kind words of sympathy). = Я высоко ценю… (ваше сочувствие).
It is very kind of you to… = С вашей стороны очень любезно…
C: INFORMATION FLOW
to let know (without delay) = поставить в известность, дать знать (без промедления)
to keep informed… = держать в курсе
to confirm that… = подтвердить, что…
to phone at …(567-98-76) = позвонить по номеру…
I am attaching some information about… = Прилагаю некоторую информацию о…
This is to inform you that… = Настоящим сообщаю вам, что…
I will be in touch as soon as… = Я свяжусь с вами как только…
We will certainly contact you if… = Мы обязательно свяжемся с вами если…
Add some data about… = Сообщите дополнительную информацию о…
Please, take a note of… (our new address). = Пожалуйста, обратите внимание на… (наш новый адрес).
Pay special attention to… (the fact that…) = Обратите особое внимание… (на тот факт, что…)
In addition to my cable I would like you to inform us… = В дополнение к моей телеграмме я бы хотел, чтобы вы сообщили нам…
We refer to our telephone conversation of… = Мы ссылаемся на наш телефонный разговор от…
In reply to your telephone requiry… = В ответ на ваш запрос по телефону…
Let me inform you… = Позвольте мне сообщить вам, что…
I will keep you informed. = Я буду держать вас в курсе.
The information will be handled in confidence. = Информация будет храниться в секрете.
We should be most happy to provide you with any further information you may require. = Мы с удовольствием обеспечим вас любой информацией, которая может вам потребоваться.
We would be very grateful if you would… = Мы были бы очень благодарны, если бы вы…
I shall (/would) be glad … = Я буду (был бы) рад…
Could you please … = Не могли бы вы…
We would be very much obliged… = Будем очень обязаны…
I wonder if you could…= Не могли бы вы…
I am writing to ask you for a favour. = Я пишу, чтобы попросить вас об одолжении.
In accordance with law I request… = В соответствии с законом требую…
Let me know if… = Дайте мне знать, если…
I am anxious to know… = Я срочно хочу знать…
We should like you to send us… = Мы хотели бы, чтобы вы выслали нам…
We ask to wire us. = Просим телеграфировать.
We request to pay… = Требуем заплатить.
I wonder if you could help me. = Не могли бы вы помочь мне.
Please, confirm the full address at which the package is to be sent. = Подтвердите, пожалуйста, подробный адрес, на который должен быть выслан пакет.
outstanding invoice = просроченный счет
overdue account = просроченный счет
charge account, credit account = кредитный счет, кредит по открытому счету
credit standing = кредитоспособность
letter of credit = аккредитив
assets and liabilities = актив и пассив
foreign exchange = иностранная валюта
course of exchange = курс обмена, валютный курс
average price = средняя цена
running expenses = текущие расходы
incidental expenses = непредвиденные расходы
travelling expenses = дорожные расходы
cheque in one’s favour = чек на чье-либо имя
to draw a check in my favour = выписать чек на мое имя
fall in exchange (price) = падение курса (цены)
free of charge, free of expense = бесплатно
past due = просроченный, после срока
at half price = за полцены
below the cost = ниже себестоимости
at my expense = за мой счет
COD, cash-on-delivery = оплата по факту (при доставке)
to ask for a price of … запрашивать цену …
to pay in advance = платить заранее (авансом)
to buy on easy terms = купить на выгодных условиях
to raise the prise = поднять цену
to reduce the price = снизить цену
to cash a cheque = обналичить чек, получить по чеку, выдать деньги по чеку
to meet a bill = оплатить счет
to convert pounds into dollars = перевести фунты в доллары
to draw money from a bank = взять деньги из банка
to have an account with a bank = иметь счет в банке
to charge to an account = записать на счет
for our account = на наш счет
at our cost plus postage = наша оплата плюс почтовые расходы
to cover expenses = покрыть расходы
to pay damages = оплатить повреждения
to cover the actual cost price of producing = покрыть стоимость производства
to bear a loss (expenses) = нести убытки (расходы)
as per account rendered… = в соответствии с представленным счетом…
to pay somebody’s travel expenses to London = оплатить чьи-то путевые расходы до Лондона
Travel expenses will be paid. = Путевые расходы будут оплачены.
We would share with you the cost of paying for … = Мы разделим с вами оплату за…
Send us a check to the value of … roubles at this address. = Пришлите нам чек на… рублей по этому адресу.
We estimate the cost of… to be.. roubles. = По нашей оценке себестоимость…-… рублей.
The payment is (/to be) in US dollars. = Оплата - (должна быть) в долларах США.
We agree to your payment of … roubles. = Мы согласны на вашу оплату в … рублей.
Your offer of … roubles is acceptable. = Ваше предложение в… рублей приемлемо.
We request to pay… = Требуем заплатить.
Unfortunately… = К сожалению…
I am afraid that… = Боюсь что…
I must apologize that… = Должен извиниться за то что…
Please, accept my apologies for:… = Пожалуйста, примите мои извинения за:…
…taking so long to answer your letter = …то, что так задержал ответ на Ваше письмо.
…not coming = …то, что не пришел.
…the delay in… = …промедление при…
I regret to inform you that… = С сожалением сообщаю вам, что…
I must inform you with regret that… = С сожалением сообщаю вам, что…
To my great regret I must inform you that… = С сожалением должен сообщить вам, что…
I sincerely regret that… = Искренне сожалею, что…
Please, forgive me for troubling you. = Пожалуйста, извините за беспокойство.
I am very sorry to have caused you so much trouble. = Извините, что причинил вам столько неудобства.
We are sorry about any inconvenience that I may have caused you. = Просим нас извинить за любое неудобство, которое, возможно, мы вам причинили.
I am sorry that I missed the opportunity of meeting you. = Мне жаль, что я упустил возможность встретиться с вами.
The reason for the present delay is… = Причина настоящего промедления в том, что…
G: WISHES AND CONGRATULATIONS
(with) best wishes = С наилучшими пожеланиями
(with) best regards = С искренним приветом
Our best wishes (best regards) to… = Наши наилучшие пожелания (искренний привет) …
to congratulate on… = поздравить с…
to wish good health = пожелать доброго здоровья
My warmest greetings on… to… = Мои горячие поздравления с… …
It gives me a great pleasure to congratulate you on… = Я с большим удовольствием поздравляю вас с…
With birthday greetings. = С поздравлениями по поводу дня рождения.
My warmest congratulations on your promotion. = Горячие поздравления с повышением.
Best wishes from all of us on your new appointment. = Наилучшие пожелания от нас всех с вашим новым назначением.
Best wishes of further success in your work and of personal happiness. = Наилучшие пожелания дальнейших успехов в работе и личного счастья.
With Christmas greetings and all good wishes for the coming New Year. = С рождественскими поздравлениями и наилучшими пожеланиями в новом году.
May we express our great sympathy on the death of… = Позвольте выразить глубочайшее соболезнование в связи со смертью…
It was with great sorrow that we learned of the death of… = С глубокой скорбью узнали мы о смерти…
Please, also convey my sympathy to his family. = Пожалуйста, передайте мои соболезнования его семье.
I: CLOSING THE LETTER
Sincerely = Искренне
Sincerely Yours = Искренне Ваш
Yours Sincerely = Искренне Ваш
Yours = Ваш
Truly Yours = Искренне Ваш
Very Truly Yours = Искренне Ваш
Respectfully = С уважением ( только от низшего к высшему, используется редко, абсолютно не соответствует русскому "с уважением")
Cordially = Сердечно
Cordially Yours = Сердечно Ваш
Yours with love = Твой, с любовью
Kisses = Целую
I remain,.. = Остаюсь,…
Looking forward to continue co-operation, I remain,.. = С надеждой на продолжение сотрудничества, остаюсь…
to accept a position at another firm = принять должность в другой фирме
to hand over responsibility for… to Mr… = передать полномочия за… …
to have extensive international experience = иметь обширный международный опыт
the total salary would be… roubles = общая зарплата составит… рублей
K: BUSINESS ACTIONS
close collaboration = близкое сотрудничество
closer collaboration = более близкое сотрудничество
copyright = авторское право, копирайт
to sign a licence contract = подписать лицензионное соглашение
the licence rights = лицензионные права
supply and demand = спрос и предложение
by mutual agreement = взаимным соглашением
for an order = на заказ
without further delay = без дальнейшего промедления
on regular basis = на регулярной основе
on the following conditions = на следующих условиях
as per contract = в соответствии с контрактом
to do business = заниматься бизнесом
to do business with… = заниматься бизнесом совместно с…
to put up to auction = выставить на аукцион
to place an order = разместить заказ
to alter an order = изменить заказ
to cancel an order = отменить заказ
to withdraw a proposal = снять предложение
to find a proposal acceptable = найти предложение приемлемым
to assume liability (obligation) = принять обязанность
to be in force = быть в силе
to remain in force = оставаться в силе
to confirm that… = подтвердить что…
to carry on negotiations with… = проводить переговоры с…
to decline propositions = отклонить предложения
to meet informally = встретиться неофициально
to exchange ideas = обменяться мыслями
to come to an agreement = прийти к соглашению
to conclude a contract = заключить контракт
to break a contract = нарушить контракт
to give permission = дать разрешение
to impose a restriction on… = наложить ограничение на…
to insert an advertisement = разместить рекламу
to provide with financial support = обеспечить финансовой поддержкой
to take further steps = предпринять дальнейшие шаги
to obey the law = подчиняться закону
to have on hand = иметь в распоряжении
to further understanding and co-operation between… = к дальнейшему пониманию и сотрудничеству между…
The Company was established in 1967. = Компания была основана в 1967 году.
Our firm will provide Mr… with financial support. = Наша фирма обеспечит м-ру… финансовую поддержку.
Our firm has already signed a similar contract with another company. = Наша фирма уже подписала подобный контракт с другой компанией.
We are pleased (willing) to accept your terms (offer). = Нам приятно (мы желаем) принять ваши условия (ваше предложение).
I feel that we should be able to come to a compromise. = Я уверен, что мы сможем прийти к соглашению.
A signed contract would be sent directly to you for co-signing. = Подписанный контракт будет прислан прямо вам для консигнации.
The conditions may be discussed after your positive decision. = Мы можем обсудить условия после того, как вы примете позитивное решение.
Our terms are the following… = Наши условия следующие…
If you find our terms acceptable… = Если вы найдете наши условия приемлемыми…
Please, confirm the booking and tell me the terms. = Пожалуйста, подтвердите бронь и сообщите мне условия.
Your order will have our best attention. = Мы отнесемся к вашему заказу с особым вниманием.
Awaiting for your further commands. = Ждем ваших дальнейших указаний.
I have made a draft of the protest. = Я подготовил проект протеста.
We thoroughly examined the project. = Мы всесторонне изучили проект.
We would welcome the opportunity to co-operate with you. = Мы приветствуем возможность сотрудничества с вами.
The reason for the present delay is… = Причина настоящего промедления заключается в том что…
L: MAKING AND ANSWERING COMPLAINTS
by mistake = по ошибке
I have the legal right… = У меня законное право…
In accordance with law I request… = В соответствии с законом я требую…
Under article… of Geneva convention (1948). = В соответствии со статьей… Женевской Конвенции (1948).
In accordance with international practice… = В соответствии с международной практикой…
The cargo is in bad condition. = Груз в плохом состоянии.
The extent of the damages is now under investigation. = Размеры повреждений в настоящий момент выясняются.
I have to ask you to accept the responsibility for these damages (this accident). = Я вынужден просить вас принять на себя ответственность за эти повреждения (этот несчастный случай).
I am very disappointed about this fact. = Я очень разочарован по поводу этого факта.
We are not happy about the terms you are suggesting. = Нам не нравятся условия, которые вы предлагаете.
I have to decline all your claims. = Я должен отклонить все ваши претензии.
The contents of your letter have surprised us. = Содержание письма удивило нас.
I duly accept liability for… = Я должным образом принимаю ответственность за…
M: ARRANGING AN APPOINTMENT
a kind invitation = любезное приглашение
to be present (at/in…) = присутствовать в…
to accept an invitation = принять приглашение
to decline an invitation = отклонить приглашение
to ask for an appointment = просить о встрече
to fix the exact dates of arrival and departure = утвердить точные даты прибытия и отъезда
to reserve a single (double) room from… to… for… = забронировать одноместный (двухместный) номер с… по… для…
I look forward to seeing you. = Надеюсь увидеть вас.
I am sorry that I missed the opportunity of meeting you. = Мне очень жаль, что я упустил возможность встретиться с вами.
May I have the pleasure of inviting you to visit our firm? Могу ли я пригласить вас посетить нашу фирму?
I should be pleased to know what dates would be convenient to you. = Я бы хотел узнать, какие даты будут для вас удобны.
The travel arrangements for this visit will be made by our office. = Дорожные приготовления для этого визита будут сделаны нашим офисом.
We would welcome the opportunity to co-operate with you. = Мы с удовольствием будем сотрудничать с вами.
I could come at any time convenient to you. = Я могу приехать в любое удобное для вас время.
I am unable to accept your invitation. = Я не могу принять ваше приглашение.
a letter of recommendation = рекомендация
I am just writing a few lines to introduce Mr… = Пишу эти несколько слов, чтобы представить м-ра…
It gives me a great pleasure to introduce… = Я с большим удовольствием представляю…
The bearer of this letter, Mr…, is a… = Податель этого письма, м-р… , является…
This will introduce Mr… who will be grateful for any help you may be able to give him. = Настоящим письмом я представляю вам м-ра…, который будет очень благодарен за любую помощь, которую вы ему можете оказать.
I can sincerely recommend Mr… as a highly responsible and reliable man. = Я со всей искренностью могу рекомендовать м-ра… как очень ответственного человека, на которого можно положиться.
He is a diligent, loyal and trust-worthy in every way. = Он старательный, надежный и достойный доверия во всех отношениях.
It is my opinion that he would be a credit to your firm. = По моему мнению он будет … для вашей фирмы.
O: PROPOSALS AND PROMISES (top)
a positive response on… = положительный ответ на…
with only two changes = только с двумя изменениями
to withdraw a proposal = снять предложение
on the following conditions = на следующих условиях
As promised… = Как было обещано…
We look forward to… = Мы надеемся…
As we requested… = Как мы уже спрашивали…
I should be very happy to… = Мне было бы очень приятно…
It is more possible for us to…= Для нас более возможно…
If you find our terms acceptable… = Если вы найдете наши условия приемлемыми…
In case out proposal would be acceptable… = В случае, если на предложение будет приемлемым…
If the above idea is attractive to you… = Если изложенная идея вас привлекает…
Does the idea appeal to you? = Вам нравится эта идея?
We would prefer to… = Мы бы предпочли…
We would like to make some changes in… = Нам бы хотелось внести несколько изменений в…
We shall do our best to… = Мы сделаем все возможное, чтобы…
I hope you will not mind… = Надеюсь, вы не будете возражать…
P: USEFUL BUSINESS WRITING EXPRESSIONS
all persons concerned = все имеющие к этому отношение лица
a pleasant surprise = приятный сюрприз
in addition to… = в дополнение к…
as far as = насколько…
in order to… = для того чтобы…
to a certain degree = до определенной степени
to a certain extent = до определенной степени
to a great extent = в значительной степени
not above = не более
as follows = следующие…
according to… = в соответствие с…
on the ground that… = на том основании что…
in view of the above said… = ввиду вышесказанного
in connection with… = в связи с…
in accordance with… = в соответствии с….
as a result of… = как результат…
despite the fact that… = несмотря на тот факт что…
except for… = за исключением…
in no case = ни в коем случае
etc. = и так далее (эт сетера)
for example = например
in general = в общем
hereinafter called… = в дальнейшем именуемый…
mentioned above = вышеупомянутый
by the law = по закону
at your convenience = как вам удобно
as soon as possible = как можно скорее
without fail = непременно
in case of necessity = в случае необходимости
at the present time = в настоящее время
pro and contra = за и против
supply and demand = предложение и спрос
matter of great importance = дело большой важности
to take into account = принимать во внимание
to take into consideration = принимать во внимание
to draw your attention to… = привлечь ваше внимание к тому что…
to take the liberty of… = взять на себя смелость…
We are taking the liberty of… = Мы берем на себя смелость…
As you may know… = Как вы, наверно, знаете…
We have no doubt of… (that…) = У нас нет сомнений в … (том что…)
It is to be noted… = Необходимо заметить… (Необходимо иметь в виду…)
I hope… = Надеюсь…
Let me… = Разрешите мне…
A. Ashley A handbook of commercial correspondence; Oxford University Press, 1992
B. J. Naterop, E. Weis, E. Naberfellner Business letters for all; Oxford University Press, 1994
A. Fowles, M. Miller, J. Stocker Executive decisions; Nelson English Language Teaching, 1995
R. Wincor Contracts in plain English; Princeton review, 1993
E. Gowers The complete plain words; Nelson ELT, 1995
L. Jones, R. Alexander New International English Teacher’s book; Cambridge University Press, 1996
M. Doherty, L. Knapp. S. Swift Write for business, Longman, 1995
А.М. Аизова Основы деловой переписки, Издательский дом "Дрофа", М., 1996
Э.М. Басс Научная и деловая корреспонденция; Издательство "Педагогика Пресс", М., 1989
V. Hollett, Business Objectives; Oxford University Press, 1991
D. Horner, P. Strutt Words at work. Vocabulary development for business English; Cambridge University Press, 1996
P. O'Connor, A. Pilbeam Negotiating, Longman Group UK, 1992
D. Davies, D. Pickett English for commerce, Longman Group UK, 1997
N. Brieger Advanced English Contacts; Oxford University Press, 1993
Р.И. Гуськов Деловая переписка на английском языке, МГП "Шарапат", Алма-Ата, 1991
В. В. Сафонова Written English X-XI Москва "Просвещение", 1995
In recent years English has become a universal business language. As such, it is potentially an instrument of order and clarity. A neatly arranged letter will certainly make a better impression on the reader, thus good letters make good business partners. But words and phrases have unexpected ways of creating binding commitments.
Letter-writing, certainly, is not the same as casual conversation, it bears only the same power of thoughts, reflections, and observations as in conversational talk, but the form may be quite different. What makes the letter so attractive and pleasing is not always the massage of the letter, it is often the manner and style in which the massage is written.
In the case of "scientific correspondence" the majority of letters bear mostly a semi-official character and are concerned with different situations associated with scientific activities concentrated around the organisation of scientific meetings (congresses, symposia, workshops, etc.), the arrangement of visit, invitation, publication, the exchange of scientific literature, information, etc. Letters of this kind have a tone of friendliness, naturalism. Modern English letters should not be exaggerated, overburdened, outmoded with time-worn expressions. The key note is simplicity. Modern letters tend towards using the language of conversational style.
Writing is not only a means of communication and contact, but also a record of affairs, information, events, etc. So it is necessary to feel the spirit and trend of the style in order to write a perfect letter.
Business-letter or contract law is a complex and vastly documented subject, only a lawyer can deal with it on a serious level. A number of basic principles, however, can be outlined sufficiently to mark of encounters that require the use of specialised English.
Your knowledge of Business English lexics is crucially important;
Include just the right amount of information in your letter. (But better to include too much than too little.)
Plan your letter before you start writing, to make sure it says everything you want to say and says it in a logical sequence.
Use a simple but polite style of language. Beware of idioms.
Your letter should be clear and unambiguous. Take care with abbreviations and figures.
Accuracy is important. Pay special attention to titles, names and addresses, references, prices, and enclosures.
Writing of business letters is highly complicated science. It is not enough for a good business letter writing to know lexics and grammar, but you should comprehend the whole range of such things as: occasions on which the particular letter is written, the style of letter, useful expressions, and accepted idioms. There are certain rules which not everybody could learn since they have to be felt by correspondents. Letter writing requires long practice and experience.
In spite of the difficulties of business correspondence, we as teachers of the English language must be able to prepare our students to be proficient in any sphere of the language.
In order to do that we must primarily know how to teach the “golden rule” which must be followed by every business correspondent that the official letter should be formal, courteous, tactful, concise, expressive, and to the point.
Introduction …………………………………………………………….…… 3
Non-verbal communication………………………………………….. 5
Verbal communication ……………………………………………… 6
Language barriers to business communication……………………… 9
Types of business communication ………………………………………….... 11
The types description………………………………………………... 11
Business writing (letters, memos and reports, other documents)…... 12
Correspondence on social situations
(appointments; travel arrangements; invitations; job applications; goodwill letters; etc) ………………………….. 15
Structural and lexical peculiarities of business letters ………………………… 30
Structure of a business letter ……………………………………….. 31
Content of a business letter ………………………………………… 36
3. Rules and manners of writing a business letter …………………….. 40
4. Style of a business letter……………………………………………. 44
(frequent phrases; cliches; abbreviations, etc.) …………….. 48
Mini-dictionary of business correspondence ……………………………………………….. 60
Íàçâàíèå - Linguistic Background of Business Correspondence (íà àíãë. ÿçûêå) Ðàçäåë - Èíîñòðàííûå ÿçûêè (Àíãëèéñêèé) èëè Ëèíãâèñòèêà (Ëåêñèêîëîãèÿ) Íàçíà÷åíèå - Äèïëîìíàÿ ðàáîòà Ôîðìàò - WinWord 97 Àâòîð - Ãàäþêîâà Åêàòåðèíà, Èñïîëüçîâàíèå - ãîä ñäà÷è - 2001, ïðåïîäàâàòåëü - Áóëàòîâà Ñ. Ì., Àëìàòèíñêèé Èíßç, êàôåäðà ëåêñèêîëîãèè, îöåíêà 5. Ïðèìå÷àíèå - 1 - äëÿ ñòóäåíòîâ ÿçûêîâûõ âóçîâ, îñîáåííî äëÿ Àíã. Ïåäàãîãè÷åñêèõ ôàêóëüòåòîâ 2- ÷àñòü ìàòåðèàëà ÷åòâåðòîé ãëàâû âçÿòà èç ðåôåðàòà Lexico-Semantic Characteristics of Business Letter Correspondence Î ïîëó÷åíèè - ïîæàëóéñòà, èçâåñòèòå ìåíÿ î ïîëó÷åíèè è ðàçìåùåíèè ìîåé äèïëîìíîé ðàáîòû
In a man’s letters you know, Madam, his soul lies naked, his letters are only the mirror of his breast, whatever passes within him is shown undisguised in its natural process. Nothing is inverted, nothing distorted, you see systems in their elements, you discover actions in their motives. ----Samuel Johnson (1709–84), English author, lexicographer
Letters are above all useful as a means of expressing the ideal self; and no other method of communication is quite so good for this purpose. … In letters we can reform without practice, beg without humiliation, snip and shape embarrassing experiences to the measure of our own desires. … -----Elizabeth Hardwick (b. 1916), U.S. author, critic.
Politeness is as much concerned in answering letters within a reasonable time, as it is in returning a bow, immediately. ----Lord Chesterfield (1694–1773), English statesman,
than kisses, letters mingle souls.
For, thus friends absent speak. -----John Donne (c. 1572–1631), English poet.
Letter writing - is an essential part of communication, an intimate part of business and life experience. Each letter-writer has a characteristic way of writing, his style of writing, his way of expressing thoughts, facts, etc. But it must be emphasised that the routine of the official or semi-official business letters requires certain accepted idioms, phrases, patterns, and grammar which are found in general use today. Therefore certain skills must be acquired by practice, and details of writing must be carefully and thoroughly learnt.
The choice of this topic for my diploma paper was mostly conditioned by the fact that the students studying English at our University are almost unable to write proper business letters and that the problem of writing business letters is still not well-studied.
I think that it is very important to know a constituent part of modern business communication. As nowadays more and more agreements are made in English, for English is the nearest thing we have to a universal business language. Joint ventures, bank loans, and trademark licenses frequently are spelled out in this language even though it is not native to at least one of the contracting parties.
The subject matter of the diploma paper is the role of lexics and semantics in the case of business letter correspondence. The question of the history of official communication, the main stages of business transactions, the role of person’s feeling for the proper use of phrases as well as his knowledge of grammar are highlighted. Moreover, those phrases which are more often used in business letters are examined from the point of view of their appropriateness in different situations. The practical part contains many examples of business letters; the occasions on which they were written and some of their characteristics are observed.
The aim of my diploma paper is to study business letters from the lexicological point of view and make the matter of business letter writing less complicated.
The objectives and purposes of the paper may be formulated as follows:
Critical study of the material on the theme;
Exposure of the aims, place, importance, role and contents of the aspect of letter-writing in the course of Lexicology and Business English classes;
Defining the specificity of lexics in different spheres of business correspondence;
Searching the peculiarities of the structure, manners and styles of business letters;
Defining and stating the rules of writing a business letter;
Arranging and classifying the business letters according to the sphere of usage;
Giving useful tips and advice to anyone interested in business letter writing.
To achieve the set aims I have collected more then 100 letters on various issues of business correspondence. Then, I made a thematic classification and description of letters concerning different spheres of business (trade, finance, industry, international inquiries and reports, etc.). Having analysed each type separately, I came to the conclusion that there are certain common rules which need through studying. While searching the letters I mostly paid attention to the specific usage of lexics, semantics, manners and styles of business letter writing.
As resource for my paper I used a list of business books, various reference books, dictionaries, language textbooks, real pieces of business correspondence and different sites of the Internet.
Nowadays, we have a great need of Business English teachers and I do hope that my diploma paper could be really useful especially for them. It also contains good material for the students of language higher institutions, and could be as well appreciated by any person interested in the course of business letter writing.
My diploma paper consists of Introduction, four chapters, Conclusion and Appendix.
and World Languages named after Abylay Khan
Chair of Lexicology
English Teaching Department
The Linguistic Background of
Bulatova S. M.
The Basic Forms Of Communication
As David Glass is well aware, effective communicators have many tools at their disposal when they want to get across a message. Whether writing or speaking, they know how to put together the words that will convey their meaning. They reinforce their words with gestures and actions. They look you in the eye, listen to what you have to say, and think about your feelings and needs. At the same time, they study your reactions, picking up the nuances of your response by watching your face and body, listening to your tone of voice, and evaluating your words. They absorb information just as efficiently as they transmit it, relying on both non-verbal and verbal cues.
The most basic form of communication is non-verbal. Anthropologists theorize that long before human beings used words to talk things over, our ancestors communicated with one another by using their bodies. They gritted their teeth to show anger; they smiled and touched one another to indicate affection. Although we have come a long way since those primitive times, we still use non-verbal cues to express superiority, dependence, dislike, respect, love, and other feelings.
Non-verbal communication differs from verbal communication in fundamental ways. For one thing, it is less structured, which makes it more difficult to study. A person cannot pick up a book on non-verbal language and master the vocabulary of gestures, expressions, and inflections that are common in our culture. We don't really know how people learn non-verbal behaviour. No one teaches a baby to cry or smile, yet these forms of self-expression are almost universal. Other types of non-verbal communication, such as the meaning of colors and certain gestures, vary from culture to culture.
Non-verbal communication also differs from verbal communication in terms of intent and spontaneity. We generally plan our words. When we say "please open the door," we have a conscious purpose. We think about the message, if only for a moment. But when we communicate non-verbally, we sometimes do so unconsciously. We don't mean to raise an eyebrow or blush. Those actions come naturally. Without our consent, our emotions are written all over our faces.
Although non-verbal communication can stand alone, it frequently works with speech. Our words carry part of the message, and non-verbal signals carry the rest. Together, the two modes of expression make a powerful team, augmenting, reinforcing, and clarifying each other.
Experts in non-verbal communication suggest that it have six specific functions:
• To provide information, either consciously or unconsciously
• To regulate the flow of conversation
• To express emotion
• To qualify, complement, contradict, or expand verbal messages
• To control or influence others
• To facilitate specific tasks, such as teaching a person to swing a golf club.
Non-verbal communication plays a role in business too. For one thing, it helps establish credibility and leadership potential. If you can learn to manage the impression you create with your body language, facial characteristics, voice, and appearance, you can do a great deal to communicate that you are competent, trustworthy, and dynamic. For example, Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton has developed a homespun style that puts people at ease, thereby helping them to be more receptive, perhaps even more open.
Furthermore, if you can learn to read other people's non-verbal messages, you will be able to interpret their underlying attitudes and intentions more accurately. When dealing with co-workers, customers, and clients, watch carefully for small signs that reveal how the conversation is going. If you aren't having the effect you want, check your words; then, if your words are all right, try to be aware of the non-verbal meanings you are transmitting. At the same time, stay tuned to the non-verbal signals that the other person is sending.
2. Verbal Communication
Although you can express many things non-verbally, there are limits to what you can communicate without the help of language. If you want to discuss past events, ideas, or abstractions, you need words—symbols that stand for thoughts — arranged in meaningful patterns. In the English language, we have a 750,000, although most of us recognize only about 20,000 of them. To create a thought with these words, we arrange them according to the rules of grammar, putting the various parts of speech in the proper sequence
We then transmit the message in spoken or written form, hoping that someone will hear or read what we have to say. Figure 1.1 shows how much time business people devote to the various types of verbal communication. They use speaking and writing to send messages; they use listening and reading to receive them.
When it comes to sending business messages, speaking is more common than writing. Giving instructions, conducting interviews, working in small groups, attending meetings, and making speeches are all important activities. Even though writing may be less common, it is important too. When you want to send a complex message of lasting significance, you will probably want to put it in writing.
It's important to remember that effective communication is a two-way street. People in business spend more time obtaining information than transmitting it, so to do their jobs effectively, they need good listening and reading skills. Unfortunately, most of us are not very good listeners. Immediately after hearing a ten-minute speech, we typically remember only half of what was said. A few days later, we've forgotten three-quarters of the message. To some extent, our listening problems stem from our education, or lack of it. We spend years learning to express our ideas, but few of us ever take a course in listening.
Similarly, our reading skills often leave a good deal to be desired. Recent studies indicate that approximately 38 percent of the adults in the United States have trouble reading the help-wanted ads in the newspaper, 14 percent cannot fill out a check properly, 26 percent can't figure out the deductions listed on their paycheques, and 20 percent are functionally illiterate. Even those who do read may not know how to read effectively. They have trouble extracting the important points from a document, so they cannot make the most of the information presented.
College student are probably better at listening and reading than are many other people, partly because they get so much practice. On the basis of our own experience, no doubt realise that our listening and reading efficiency varies tremendously, depending on how we approach the task. Obtaining and remembering information takes a special effort.
Although listening and reading obviously differ, both require a similar approach. The first step is to register the information, which means that you must tune out distractions and focus your attention. You must then interpret and evaluate the information, respond in some fashion, and file away the data for future reference.
The most important part of this process is interpretation and evaluation, which is no easy matter. While absorbing the material, we must decide what is important and what isn't. One approach is to look for the main ideas and the most important supporting details, rather than trying to remember everything we read or hear. If we can discern the structure of the material, we can also understand the relationships among the ideas.
3. Language Barriers
If we're doing business in London, we obviously won't have much of a language problem. We may encounter a few unusual terms or accents in the 29 countries in which English is an official language, but our problems will be relatively minor. Language barriers will also be relatively minor when we are dealing with people who use English as a second language (and some 650 million people fall into this category). Some of these millions are extremely fluent; others have only an elementary command of English. Although you may miss a few subtleties in dealing with those who are less fluent in English, we’ll still be able to communicate. The pitfall to watch for is assuming that the other person understands everything we say, even slang, local idioms, and accents. One group of English-speaking Japanese who moved to the United States as employees of Toyota had to enroll in a special course to learn that "Jeat yet?" means "Did you eat yet?" and that "Cannahepya?" means "Can I help you?"
One survey of 100 companies engaged in international business revealed that between 95 and 99 percent of their business letters to other countries are written in English. Moreover, 59 percent of the respondents reported that the foreign letters they receive are usually written in English, although they also receive letters written in Spanish and French. Other languages are rare in international business correspondence.
Because many international business letters are written in English, North American firms do not always have to worry about translating their correspondence. However, even when both parties write in English, minor interpretation problems do exist because of different usage of technical terms. These problems do not usually pose a major barrier to communication, especially if correspondence between the two parties continues and each gradually learns the terminology of the other.
More significant problems arise in other forms of written communication that require translation. Advertisements, for example, are almost always translated into the language of the country in which the products are being sold. Documents such as warranties, repair and maintenance manuals, and product labels also require translation. In addition, some multinational companies must translate policy and procedure manuals and benefit plans for use in overseas offices. Reports from foreign subsidiaries to the home office may also be written in one language and then translated into another.
Sometimes the translations aren't very good. For example, the well-known slogan "Come alive with Pepsi" was translated literally for Asian markets as "Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave," with unfortunate results. Part of the message is almost inevitably lost during any translation process, sometimes with major consequences.
Oral communication usually presents more problems than written communication. If you have ever studied a foreign language, you know from personal experience that it's easier to write in a foreign language than to conduct a conversation. Even if the other person is speaking English, you're likely to have a hard time understanding the pronunciation if the person is not proficient in English.
Idiomatic expressions are another source of confusion. If you tell a foreigner that a certain product "doesn't cut the mustard," chances are that you will fail to communicate. Even when the words make sense, their meanings may differ according to the situation. For example, suppose that you are dining with a German woman who speaks English quite well. You inquire, "More bread?" She says, "Thank you," so you pass the bread. She looks confused, then takes the breadbasket and sets it down without taking any. In German, thank you (danke) can also be used as a polite refusal. If the woman had wanted more bread, she would have used the word please (bitte in German).
Types of Business Communications
The types description
The primary tools for communicating information in business include e-mail messages, memos, letters, reports, phone calls, meetings, and conversations. To determine which is the best to use in a given situation, start by asking yourself the following questions:
· How much information do I have to pass along?
· How many people will receive the message?
· How quickly does it need to reach them?
· How much time do the recipients need to respond to it?
· How formal should the presentation be?
· Is the message confidential?
· How are people likely to respond to it?
Because of its speed and informality, e-mail is ideal for routine communication between coworkers. For instance, an e-mail message is usually the best means of announcing a new policy, introducing a recent hire, informing colleagues of a meeting time, and reminding an employee of an approaching deadline.
E-mail messages are also useful for day-to-day or extremely timely exchanges with people outside the company. Because of their low cost, they often are preferred for communicating with overseas contacts.
Although e-mail messages are now used instead of memos for most intercompany communication, memos are still suitable for notes sent to people higher in the company hierarchy, especially in conservative companies.
The memo is also appropriate for lengthy, formal communications to coworkers that may eventually be circulated to your supervisors or to contacts in other companies.
The letter is now used primarily for formal correspondence with clients, customers, and others outside the company, particularly people you have not met.
Imagine, for instance, that you need to ask for advice or information from someone you do not know personally. The person will likely give a letter more attention than an e-mail message because a letter conveys an added element of formality and courtesy.
A complex document of more than ten pages, especially one that will be shown to outside contacts, is best presented as a report. A routine report can be easily produced using a word processor and a laser printer. Important reports for potential clients, stockholders, or others you might want to impress usually should be professionally designed and printed, often in full color on heavy or glossy paper.
Conversations, and Meetings
The main advantage of a phone conversation is that it allows both parties to respond to each other immediately. If you and a coworker have several questions for each other, asking them in a single phone call is usually less time-consuming than exchanging a long series of e-mail messages.
Personal matters or topics that might elicit a highly emotional response are best discussed in person. As common sense will tell you, sending an e-mail or memo reading “You’re fired!” is not the most delicate or responsible way of dealing with a difficult situation.
Face-to-face meetings are usually the safest way of communicating confidential information. Meetings are also useful when a quick group decision is needed on a particular problem or issue. Important side benefits of meetings are that they allow employees in different departments or divisions to become acquainted and can often foster a sense of shared mission among coworkers.
2. Business writing
Intercultural business writing falls into the same general categories as other forms of business writing. How you handle these categories depends on the subject and purpose of your message, the relationship between you and the reader, and the customs of the person to whom the message is addressed.
Letters are the most common form of intercultural business correspondence. They serve the same purposes and follow the same basic organizational plans (direct and indirect) as letters you would send within your own country. Unless you are personally fluent in the language of the intended readers, you should ordinarily write your letters in English or have them translated by a professional translator. If you and the reader speak different languages, be especially concerned with achieving clarity:
• Use short, precise words that say exactly what you mean.
• Rely on specific terms to explain your points. Avoid abstractions altogether, or illustrate them with concrete examples.
• Stay away from slang, jargon, and buzz words. Such words rarely translate well. Nor do idioms and figurative expressions. Abbreviations, tscfo-nyms (such as NOKAI) and CAD/CAM), and North American product names may also lead to confusion.
• Construct sentences that are shorter and simpler than those you might use when writing to someone fluent in English.
• Use short paragraphs. Each paragraph should stick to one topic and be no more than eight to ten lines.
• Help readers follow your train of thought by using transitional devices. Precede related points with expressions like in addition and first, second, third.
• Use numbers, visual aids, and pre-printed forms to clarify your message. These devices are generally understood in most cultures.
Your word choice should also reflect the relationship between you and the reader. In general, be somewhat more formal than you would be in writing to people in your own culture. In many other cultures, people use a more elaborate, old-fashioned style, and you should gear your letters to their expectations. However, do not carry formality to extremes, or you will sound unnatural.
In terms of format, the two most common approaches for intercultural business letters are the block style (with blocked paragraphs) and the modified block style (with indented paragraphs). You may use either the American format for dates (with the month, day, and year, in that order) or the European style (with the day before the month and year). For the salutation, use Dear (Title/Last Name). Close the letter with Sincerely or Sincerely yours, and sign it personally.
If you correspond frequently with people in foreign countries, your letterhead should include the name of your country and cable or telex information. Send your letters by air mail, and ask that responses be sent that way as well.
Check the postage too; rates for sending mail to most other countries are not the same as rates for sending it within your own.
In the letters you receive, you will notice that people in other countries use different techniques for their correspondence. If you are aware of some of these practices, you will be able to concentrate on the message without passing judgement on the writers. Their approaches are not good or bad, just different.
The Japanese, for example, are slow to come to the point. Their letters typically begin with a remark about the season or weather. This is followed by an inquiry about your health or congratulations on your prosperity. A note of thanks for your patronage might come next. After these preliminaries, the main idea is introduced. If the letter contains bad news, the Japanese begin not with a buffer, but with apologies for disappointing you.
Letters from Latin America look different too. Instead of using letterhead stationery, Latin American companies use a cover page with their printed seal in the centre. Their letters appear to be longer, because they use much wider margins.
Memos and reports sent overseas fall into two general categories: those written to and from subsidiaries, branches, or joint venture partners and those written to clients or other outsiders. When the memo or report has an internal audience, the style may differ only slightly from that of a memo or report written for internal use in North America. Because sender and recipient have a working relationship and share a common frame of reference, many of the language and cultural barriers that lead to misunderstandings have already been overcome. However, if the reader's native language is not English, you should take extra care to ensure clarity: Use concrete and explicit words, simple and direct sentences, short paragraphs, headings, and many transitional devices.
If the memo or report is written for an external audience, the style of the document should be relatively formal and impersonal. If possible, the format should be like that of reports typically prepared or received by the audience. In the case of long, formal reports, it is also useful to discuss reporting requirements and expectations with the recipient beforehand and to submit a preliminary draft for comments before delivering the final report.
Many international transactions involve shipping and receiving goods. A number of special-purpose documents are required to handle these transactions: price quotations, invoices, bills of lading, time drafts, letters of credit, correspondence with international freight forwarders, packing lists, shipping documents, and collection documents. Many of these documents are standard forms; you simply fill in the data as clearly and accurately as possible in the spaces provided. Samples are ordinarily available in a company's files if it frequently does business abroad. If not, you may obtain descriptions of the necessary documentation from the United States Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, Washington, D.C., 20230. (For Canadian information, contact the Department of External Affairs, Trade Division, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A OG2.)
When preparing forms, pay particular attention to the method you use for stating weights and measures and money values. The preferred method is to use the other country's system of measurement and its currency values for documenting the transaction; however, if your company uses U.S. or Canadian weights, measures, and dollars, you should follow that policy. Check any conversion calculations carefully.
Types of Business Correspondence
Correspondence on social situations
Appointments and Travel Arrangements
In personal meetings, talks take priority over writing, yet appointments and travel arrangements often involve correspondence. Even if appointments have been made verbally it is wise to confirm them in writing, as a letter is clearer to all parties concerned than a telephone message, where it is easy to misinterpret dates and places.
Travel arrangements can, of course, be made without writing letters. However, correspondence is necessary if accommodation is to be booked abroad, or if one is to travel further from places outside one's own country.
International Import Corporation
44 Nasatar St.
18 August, 1997
Dear Mr. Carter,
As mentioned in my letter of 9 August, I am planning to spend a few days in London next month, on my way to the United States. The dates are now settled: I shall at Heathrow on Wednesday, 3 September (Flight BA 602 15 30) and leave on Friday night. I shall be staying at the Cumberland Hotel, Marble Arch, London W1.
On September 3 I already have some appointments, but could come to your office any time on Thursday, 4 September. Would you kindly leave a message at my hotel letting me know what time would suit you.
One of the most important matters to be discussed is the percentage of commission you could give us for distributing your SELECT copier in Egypt. As we have already indicated, 10% is unacceptable to us: we require at least 12% if we are to do a good job of selling this equipment in Egypt.
In the hope that we can come to terms, and looking forward to meeting you, I am,
International Import Corporation
Invitations: Accepting and Declining
A formal invitation, usually in the form of a letter or printed card, is written in the third person, and replies also follow the same style. Other invitations are written less formally. Any written invitations should be answered in writing too, not by phone.
A distinction is made between a formal invitation, a semi-formal and informal invitation, and the correct form of reply to each is indicated.
Dear Dr Simon,
On behalf of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Organizing Committee of the 10th International congress on brain surgery I have the honour and pleasure of extending to you an invitation to participate in the work of Congress and to give a lecture at the Plenary Session covering your area of research.
An early reply to this letter would be appreciated.
F.N. Pavlov, Professor
Chairman of the Organizing Committee
Dear Dr. Truman,
I very much regret that I am unable to accept your kind invitation to a Reception to be held in Hotel Ritz at seven o’clock on Friday, the tenth of March, 2000, as I have already accepted a previous invitation for that date and time.
and Jane Doe
are pleased to accept the kind invitation of
John and Jane Smith
to join them in celebrating the graduation of their daughter, Jane
Saturday, the twentieth of June, at 4 o'clock
at the Riverside Country Club, 4500 Riverside Drive</DIV>
Thanks for Hospitality, Requests, Complying with a Request
It is a matter of courtesy to write to your host personally if you have enjoyed his/her company's hospitality. Here you can see how to express thanks for the fulfilment of other requests, too.
DATE: August 29, 1999
It was a pleasure meeting you today, Mr Smith. You couldn't have chosen a better restaurant. The food was superb.Thank you.
I am glad we had plenty of time to discuss the construction project. You helped clear up almost all the questions I had. And you pointed me in the right direction to find the answers to the few queries I have left.
I look forward to meeting you again in the near future. I will call you when I return from my trip to the head office and then it will be my pleasure to treat you to lunch.
FROM: Dr. J. R Ewing
DATE: August 29, 1999
SUBJECT: Marriage Benefits
Congratulations on getting married, Jim. Best wishes to you and your bride for a long and happy life together.
Now that you are changing your status, we need to discuss your health insurance and retirement plans. As well, I would like to explain our company policies as they affect you and your wife. Could you drop by my office as soon as you return from your honeymoon so that we can talk?
Employment: Applications, Letters of Recommendation, Giving notice
When writing a letter of application, the applicant would like to say what job and conditions he or she would like to have. But a good letter of application should contain facts the prospective employer wants to know, for instance what experience the applicant has, how useful he or she will be to the company. If he has held several positions, it would be advisable for the applicant to submit a personal data sheet, the curriculum vitae, containing full personal details and information on the past experience, education and certificates or degrees, special qualifications, and possibly references.
The letter then can serve to draw the reader's attention to the candidates' suitability for the vacancy. If you are starting your career and have had one or two jobs, or none at all, all the particulars can be included in the letter itself.
A contract of employment defines the conditions of work, the working hours, holidays allowed, responsibilities and notice. It may contain a job description and give information on fringe benefits such as company pension scheme, bonuses, expenses and commission where applicable. When employment is terminated by either party, notice has to be given in writing and the set period observed.
Dear Dr. James
This letter is in response to your advertisement in the Financial Times on November 25, l998 for a position of secretary. I have three years experience in the field of market research.
I am ready for long hours and travel required to be an effective personal secretary.
My resume is attached for your resource.
J. Kvatson (Ms)
Dear Mr Douglas,
I have been working for “Newborn Electronics” for 7 years and I always enjoyed and valued my job. As well I always enjoyed and valued my salary.
However the total crisis in the country and the recent ruble inflation make me ask for a certain adjustment of my salary which is now 8.000 rubles. Three months ago this sum equaled to approx. 530 US dollars while today it is less the 200 US dollars.
Taking into consideration the above calculations I am requesting a salary adjustment of 17.000 rubles. Thank you in advance for your prompt consideration of this matter.
Dear Mr Hampshire:
Your work has been excellent. However, your absentee record is now overshadowing your work record. I realize that your health has been poor but one of our job requirements is regular attendance. We have difficulty scheduling when we cannot depend on your attendance.
We have discussed this subject with you several times before. Now your attendance must meet our requirements or we will have to terminate you.
Goodwill letters: Congratulations, Introductions, Condolence, Christmas and New Year Wishes
A goodwill letter, as its name implies, is not written to obtain an order, or to collect outstanding bills. It is intended to pay for itself in another way, by building up goodwill. It is difficult to measure its value, but if this could be done businessmen would probably write goodwill letters more often.
They give both the reader and writer pleasure when the occasion arises to enclose a gift, to send good wishes, to express thanks or to remember an anniversary. Letters of introduction can also be a great help, both to a young person starting out n a particular field of business and to the established businessman wishing to expand his operations.
Goodwill letters let customers feel that they are in tough - in good times and bad - when business friends show sympathy, when they offer assistance, and when congratulations are due.
November 30, 1997
Dear Dr. Simpson,
I want to introduce you to Ms James, who worked with me at Connaught Centre for five years.
She is a person of great intellect and work ability. Ms James is currently involved in a project which might be of interest to you, and he shall be contacting you soon to arrange a meeting.
I am sure you will benefit if you agree to see her.
Paxton, Florida 32538
May 4, 1995
Dear Mr. Wembley:
My wife and I are coming to Delhi for a fairy long stay, as I have business there that will keep me several months. I know you have lived in Delhi for several years, and I wonder if you would kindly give us some introductions.
Since I shall be very occupied, my wife may feel lonely at times. If she knew one or two people whom she could visit now and again, it would be very pleasant for her.
I would be most grateful for your help. If there is anything I can do for you - either here in the states or when I am in Delhi - please do not hesitate to let me know.
Mr. Clifford Wembley
c/o American Press Office
New Delhi, India
International Office Equipment Inc.
P.O. Box 295 Nassau
December 18, 2000
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Near the close of another year, we would like to take this opportunity of thanking our friends and customers for their continued confidence and patronage.
We send you and your families our best wishes for Christmas and a very prosperous New Year.
2. Correspondence on business situations
An inquiry (also spelt enquiry) is sent when a businessman wants some information, especially about
the supply of goods
leaflets or catalogues
quotation or prices
terms and discounts
availability of goods
delivery times and deadlines
method of transport
A businessman will save unnecessary correspondence by giving full details that are relevant.
If a prospective customer approaches suppliers for the first time, it is useful to tell them something about his own business, the kind of goods he needs and for what purpose they are required. In this case of customers of long standing or repeat orders, the inquiry may be very simple. Often a phone call or a postcard will do.
MATTHEWS & WILSON
421 Michigan Avenue
Messrs GRANT & CLARKSON
148 Mortimer Street
London WIC 37D
October 21, 1993
We saw your women's dresses and suits at the London Fashion Show held in New York on October 17. The lines you showed for teenagers, the "Swinger" dresses and trouser suits would be most suitable for our market.
Would you kindly send us your quotation for spring and summer clothing that you could supply to us by the end of January next. We would require 2,000 dresses and suits in each of the sizes 10-14, and 500 in sizes 8 and 16. Please quote c.i.f. Chicago prices. Payment is normally made by letter of credit.
Thank you for an early reply.
Very truly yours,
P. Wilson. Jr.
WORLDWIDE DEALERS LTD.
The Victoria Cycle Works
P.O. Box 9734
June 14, 1998
Our business agents in India have asked us for quotations for 10,000 bicycles, to be exported to Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan and Nepal.
Please let us know what quantities you are able to deliver at regular intervals, quoting your best terms f.o.b. Brisbane. We shall handle export formalities, but would ask you to calculate container transport to Brisbane for onward shipment.
Asst. Export Manager
2. Quotations. Offers
The quotation in reply to an inquiry may be a simple one, containing simply the prices and other information asked for. The sales-conscious businessman, however, will take the opportunity to stimulate his correspondent's interest in his goods or services by including a sales message and the assurance that the customer will receive personal attention.
Offers are also sent without a preceding inquiry when a supplier wants to draw the attention of customers and new customers to a special product or range of goods. A firm offer is subject to certain conditions, a deadline for the receipt of orders, or a special price for certain quantities.
e.g. (export quotation: firm offer, reply to the first inquiry example)
Grand & Clarkson
148 Mortimer Street
London W1C 37D
Messrs Matthews & Wilson
421 Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Ill. 60602
30th October, 1997
Attention: Mr. P. Wilson, Jr.
We are pleased to make you an offer regarding our ‘Swinger’ dresses and trouser suits in the size you require. Nearly all the models you saw at our fashion show are obtainable, except trouser suits in pink, of which the smaller sizes have been sold out. This line is being manufactured continuously, but will only be available again in February, so could be delivered to you in March.
All other models can be supplied by the middle of January 1998, subject to our receiving your form order by 15th of November. Our c.i.f. prices are understood to be for sea/land transport to Chicago. If you would prefer the goods to be sent by air freight, this will be charged extra at cost
Trouser suits sizes 8-16 in white, yellow, red,
turquoise, navy blue, black
Sizes 12,14 also in pink per 100 $2,650.00
Swinger dresses sizes 8-16 in white,
yellow, red, turquoise, black per 100 $1,845.00
Prices: valid until 31st December, 1997
Delivery: c.i.f. Chicago
Transport: sea freight
Payment: by irrevocable letter of credit or cheque with order
You will be receiving price-list, cutting of our materials and a colour chart. These were airmailed to you this morning.
We hope you agree that our prices are very competitive for these good quality clothes, and look forward to receiving your initial order.
Bunbury Estate Builders
24 November, 2000
In reply to your letter of 21st November, we have pleasure in enclosing a detailed quotation for bathroom showers. Besides those advertised in the "Builders' Journal", our illustrated catalogue also enclosed shows various types of bathroom fittings and the sixes available. Most types can be supplied from stock. Four-six weeks should be allowed for delivery of those marked with an asterisk. Building contractors all over Britain have found our equipment easy to install and attractive in appearance.
Any orders you place with us will be processed promptly.
3. Sales Letters
Direct advertising, in the form of letters to a selected group of readers, is an effective way to promote sales. Such sales letters should appeal to the potential customer. They should:
arouse the reader's attention
create desire to make use of your offer
convince him that these products or services are the best ones for him
activate him to place an order
Almost any communication can be used as a sales letter. Announcements to customers and others or important changes can be used to make your company, your products or services better known to the public, and to attract buyers.
FARMERS FRUIT PRODUCTS
In the field of fruit preserves, English jams marmalades have been regarded as the best for the century and a half. Their reputation is spread by everyone who tastes them: they are recommended by word of mouth to relatives, friends and many prospective customers. English fruit farmers supply FARMARES with the best quality produce from their orchards and gardens. Fresh citrus fruits are imported from Spain and Israel all year round.
Please refer to the enclosed price-list, and let us know your requirements on the form attached. You may be able to profit from special terms on your initial order. Delivery can be made shortly after we receive your order. FARMERS look forward to hearing from you soon
FARMERS FRUIT PRODUCTS
4. Counter-Proposals, Concessions
A buyer need not accept the prices and terms offered by the seller unconditionally. There will often be good reason to make a counter-proposal with the object of obtaining better prices or terms, or a shorter time of delivery. As a result of these negotiations, the supplier could make a concession, particularly for an introductory sale, or if the customer places a large order.
Roberts Import Company
Av. Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
Farmers fruit products
16 November, 1998
Thank you for your letter of 10th November, enclosing your price-list. The 2 lb tins of marmalade would not be suitable for our customers, but we should like to buy 15,000 1 lb jars. However, there is one disadvantage when compared with local produce. Housewives here are used to a jar containing 500 grammes; the English pound is only 454 grammes. Therefore we would ask you to reduce the prices quoted for quality A2 by ten per cent.
As far as the settlement is concerned, we would suggest paying half the amount against your invoice on receipt of the goods, and the second half within 30 days, deducting 2 per cent discount.
The samples arrived yesterday, and we must admit that your marmalade is delicious. Would you kindly let us know as soon as possible if you can supply us on the terms mentioned.
5. Orders, Order Acknowledgements
In comparison to the correspondence so far, placing an order is simple from the point of view of letter-writing. Very often the purchasing department or the buyer fills in an order form, although he may prefer to write a letter to make certain points quite clear. There could be special import regulations, which make it necessary to complete formalities, or he may want to stress delivery instructions or other matters.
The supplier sends an order acknowledgement promptly, to thank his customer for the order. If prices or delivery times have changed, the customer must be notified. If the goods ordered are no longer available, a substitute may be offered.
MATTHEWS & WILSON
421 Michigan Avenue
148 Mortimer Street
London W1C 37D
November 4, 1996
Thank you for your quotation of October 30. We have pleasure in placing an order with you for
1,900 ‘Swinger’ dresses at Price: $38,745
in the colours and sizes specified below:
Delivery: air freight, c.i.f., Chicago
We shall open a letter of credit with your bank as soon as we receive your order acknowledgement. Please arrange for immediate collection and transport since we need the dresses for Christmas.
Very truly yours,
6. Dispatch, Packing, Transport
When the supplier has made up the order and arranged shipment, the customer is informed of this in an advice of dispatch. This may be done on a special form or in a letter.
Via di Pietra Papa, 00146 Roma
Telefono: Roma: 769910
Telefax: (06) 681 5473
Mr. Crane, Chief Buyer
Birmingham B3 3EL
The United Kingdom
29 March, 1990
Dear Mr. Crane,
We would like to advise you that your order has been shipped on the SS Marconissa and should reach you within the next ten days.
Meanwhile our bank has forwarded the relevant documents and sight draft for $ 1, 445.60 to the Northminister Bank Birmingham.
We are sure you will be pleased with the consignment and look forward to your next order.
148 Mortimer Street
London W1C 37D
MATTHEWS & WILSON
421 Michigan Avenue
We have pleasure in notifying you that your credit was confirmed by our bank yesterday, 19th November. We have had the 1900 ‘Swinger’ dresses collected today for transport by British Airways to Chicago on 25th November.
Enclosed is our invoice for the goods in question plus the extra charges for air freight, packing list to facilitate customs clearance at your end, certificate of origin, air waybill and insurance policy.
Hoping that this initial order will lead to further business, we are
7. Payment and Reminders
Customers usually settle their accounts by cheque when payment is due, according to the terms of payment. However, some overlook the date and have to be reminded of the amount outstanding. The first letter is written in a friendly tone, as the delay may have been due to an oversight. When payment has not been received in reply to this reminder, the creditor will write again in a firmer tone. If the debtor gives no reason for non-payment and sends no remittance, the last course is to use the services of a collection agency or to take legal actions.
There may be good reasons for a customer's inability to pay. Where possible he should at least make a part payment, and agree to settle the balance of his account within a reasonable time.
The manville corporation
Wilmington, Conn. 71226
July 19, 1998
In settlement of your invoice No. 20015, we enclose our cheque for $870. May we add that we are pleased with the way you executed this order. The furniture arrived exactly on time, and could be put on sale without delay.
William S. Carsons
THE MANVILLE CORPORATION
Wilmington, Conn. 71226
Dear Mr. Carsons:
We were pleased to receive your check for $870. It has been credited to your account, which is now completely clear.
Please give us an opportunity of serving you again in any way we can.
Robert L. Thomas
8. Complaints, Handling complaints
Mistakes may occur in day-to-day business, and these give cause for complaints. There might have been a misunderstanding about the goods to be supplied; perhaps the warehouse clerk made an error in addressing the parcel; sometimes a consignment is dispatched too late or delays are caused in transit; damages may have occurred during delivery; a manufacturing defect is discovered when a machine is used. The customer is understandably annoyed.
He will get better results if he takes the trouble to explain his complaint clearly, and to propose ways in which matters can be put right. His company may make mistakes too: firms often have to manage with insufficiently trained personnel or to contend with staff shortage, so mistakes and accidents happen.
It is particularly necessary to exercise tact in handling complaints. A disappointed customer cannot be put off with mere apologies – he is entitled to know how the mistakes will be remedied: when he will receive the goods ordered; what he is to do with the wrong consignment or the damaged goods he received; when he will receive a replacement for his defective machine, or if it can be repaired quickly.
MATTHEWS & WILSON
421 Michigan Avenue
148 Mortimer Street
Thank you for your delivery of ‘Swinger’ dresses which were ordered on November 4. However we wish to draw your attention to two matters.
Of the red dresses supplied one lot of 100(size 12) included clothes of a lighter red than the other sizes. Since we deliver a collection of various sizes to each store, it would be obvious to customers that the clothes are dissimilar. In addition the red belt supplied does not match these dresses. We are returning two of these by separate mail, and would ask you to replace the whole lot by 100 dresses size 12 in the correct colour.
As far as your charges for air freight are concerned, we agree to pay the extra costs which you invoiced. However your costs for packing and insurance must have been lower for air cargo, and we request you to take this fact into consideration and to make an adjustment to the invoice amount. Would you please send us a rectified invoice, reduced accordingly.
We look forward to your dealing with these questions without delay.
Very truly yours.
148 Mortimer Street
London W1C 37D
MATTHEWS & WILSON
421 Michigan Avenue
2nd December, 1996
The colour of the dresses about which you complain is indeed lighter than it should be. Apparently this was overlooked by controller responsible. Please accept our apologies for the oversight.
We are sending you a new lot by air this week, and would ask you to return the faulty clothes at your convenience, carriage forward. Alternatively you may keep this lot for sale as seconds at a reduced price of &1,120.
You are perfectly correct in saying that packing and insurance costs are normally less for cargo sent by air. May we remind you, however, in this case your request to send the goods by air was made at very short notice. It was not possible for us to use the lighter air freight packing materials, as most of the dresses were ready for shipment by sea freight (please see our letter of 9th November). Furthermore, our insurance is on an open policy at a flat rate, and depends on the value of the goods, not the method of transport. For these reasons our invoice No.14596 dated 15th November 1996 is still valid, and we look forward to receiving your remittance when due.
Sender's address Copenhagen K,
9th May 2001
Inside address Warwik Street,
(Receiver's address) Forest Hill,
London SE23 1JF
Attention line For the attention of the Sales Manager
Salutation Dear Sir or Madam,
Please would you sent me details of your quadrophonic sound system, which were
advertised in the April edition of "Sound Monthly"?
Body of the letter
I am particular interested in the Omega
range of eguipment that you specialize in.
Complimentary close Yours faithfully,
Signature E. Gadyukova (Ms)
Per pro p.p. D. Sampson
Company position Sales manager
1. Structure of a business letter
In correspondence that does not have a printed letterhead, the sender's address is written on the top right-hand side of the page.
In the UK, in contrast to the practice in some countries, it is not usual to write the sender's name before the sender's address.
The date is written below the sender's address, sometimes separated from it by a space. In the cases of correspondence with the printed letterhead, it is also usually written on the right-hand side of the page.
The month in the date should not be written in figures as they can be confusing; for example, 11.01.1998 means 11th January 1998 in the UK, but 1st November 1998 in the US. Nor should you abbreviate the month, e.g. Nov. for November, as it simply looks untidy. It takes a moment to write a date in full, but it can take a lot longer to find a mis-filed letter, which was put in the wrong file because the date was confusing.
Many firms leave out the abbreviation 'th' after the date, e.g. 24 October instead of 24th October. Other firms transpose the date and the month, e.g. October 24 instead of 24 October. These are matters of preference, but whichever you choose you should be consistent throughout your correspondence.
Inside's (or receiver's) address
This is written below the sender's address and on the opposite side of the page, i.e. the left-hand one.
If you know the surname of the person you are writing to, you write this on the first line of the address, preceded by a courtesy title and either the person's initial(s) or his/her fist given name, e.g. Mr J.E. Smith or Mr John Smith, not Mr Smith. Courtesy titles used in addresses are as follows:
Mr (with or without a full stop; the abbreviated form 'mister' should not be used) is the usual courtesy title for a man.
Mrs (with or without a full stop; no abbreviated form) is used for a married woman.
Miss (not an abbreviation) is used for an unmarried woman.
Ms (with or without a full stop; no abbreviated form) is used for both married and unmarried women. Many women now prefer to be addressed by this title, and it is a useful form of address when you are not sure whether the woman you are writing to is married or not.
Messrs (with or without a full stop; abbreviation for Messieurs, which is never used) is used occasionally for two or more men, e.g. Messrs P. Jones and B.L. Parker) but more commonly forms part of the name of a firm, e.g. Messrs Collier & Clerk & Co.
Special titles, which should be included in addresses are many. They include:
academic or medical titles, e.g. Doctor (Dr.), Professor (Prof.)
military titles, e.g. Captain (Capt.), Major (Maj.), Colonel (col.)
aristocratic title, e.g. Sir (which means that he is a Knight; not be confused with the salutation 'Dear Sir' and always followed by a given name - Sir John Brown, not Sir J. Brown or Sir Brown), Dame, Lord, Baroness, etc.
Esq (with or without a full stop; abbreviation for Esquire) is seldom used now. If used, it can only be instead of 'Mr' and is placed after the name, e.g. Bruce Hill Esq., not Mr Bruce Esq.
2. Title known
If you do not know the name of the person you are writing to, you may know or be able to assume his/her title or position in the company, e.g. the Sales Manager, or the Finance Director, in which case you can use it in the address.
3. Department known
Alternatively you can address your letter to a particular department of the company, e.g. The Sales Department, or The Accounts Department.
4. Company only
Finally, if you know nothing about the company and do not want to make any assumptions about the person or the department your letter should go to, you can simply address it to the company itself, e.g. Soundsonic Ltd., Messrs Collier & Clerke & Co.
Order of inside addresses
After the name of the person and/or company receiving the letter, the order and style of addresses in the UK and in the US, is as follows:
Messrs Black & Sons,
London SWL 87C
The International Trading Company
24 Churchill Avenue
International Trading Company
507 A. Flores Street
The American Magazine
119 Sixth Avenue
New York, NY 11011
2. Addressing an individual
The Hongkong and Shanghai
Messrs Mahmound & Son
329 Coast Road
3. Addressing an individual
T. Hardy, Esq.,
c/o Waltons Ltd.,
230 Snow Street,
Miss Claire Waterson
c/o Miller & Sons Pty. Ltd.
Sydney NSW 2000
on company business
Mr. C.C. Pan
Far East Jewelry Co.
68 Queen's Road East
The Standard Oil Company
Cleveland, Ohio 44115
on private business
Mr. C. Manzi
Via Cavour 86
Dear Mr. Manzi,
Continental Supply Company
Style and punctuation of addresses
Both the addresses may be 'blocked' (i.e. each line is vertically aligned with the one above) or 'indented', as below:
There are no rules stating that one style or the other must be used, though blocking, at least in addresses, is more common. In any case you must be consistent, i.e. do not block the sender's address and then indent the inside address.
If punctuation is used, each line of the address is followed by a comma, except the last line. But, the majority of firms now use open punctuation, i.e. without any commas.
'For the attention of'
An alternative to including the recipient's name or position in the address is to use an 'attention of'.
e.g. For the attention of Mr. R. Singh (British English) or
Attention: Mr. E.G. Glass, Jr. (American English)
Dear Sir opens a letter written to a man whose name you do not know.
Dear Sirs is used to address a company. Note: in the US - Gentlemen.
Dear Madam is used to address a woman, whether single or married, whose name you do not know.
Dear Sir or Madam is used to address a person you know neither the name nor the sex.
When you do not know the name of the person you are writing to, the salutation takes the form of Dear followed by a courtesy tille and the person's surname. Initials or first names are not generally used in salutations: Dear Mr Smith, not Dear Mr J. Smith. The comma after the salutation is optional.
The body of the letter
This may be indented or blocked. It is as matter of choice. Whichever style you use, you must be consistent and use that style all through the letter.
It is usual to leave a line space between paragraphs in the body of the letter; if the blocked style is used, this is essential.
For the information concerning the linguistic aspect of writing the body of the letter, consult the following chapters of my diploma paper.
If the letter begins with Dear Sir , Dear Sirs, Dear Madam, Dear Sir or Madam, it will close with Yours faithfully.
If the letter begins with a personal name - Dear Mr James, Dear Mr. Robinson - it will close with Yours sincerely.
Avoid closing with old-fashioned phrases such as We remain your faithfully, or Respectfully yours, etc.
Note that Americans tend to close even formal letters with Yours truly or Truly yours, which is unusual in the UK in commercial correspondence. But a letter to a friend or acquaintance may end with Yours truly or the casual Best wishes.
The comma after the complimentary close is optional. The position of the complimentary close - on the right, left or in the center of the page - is the matter of choice. It depends on the style of the letter (blocked letters tend to put the close on the left, indented letters tend to put them in the centre) and on the firm's preference.
Always type your name after your handwritten signature and your position in the firm after you typed signature. This is known as 'the signature block'. Even though you may think your signature is easy to read, letters such as 'a', 'e', 'o', and 'v' can easily be confused.
It is, to some extend, a matter of choice whether you sign with your initial(s), e.g. D. Jenkins, or your given name, e.g. David Jenkins, and whether you include a courtesy title, e.g. Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms. In your signature block. But if you give neither your given name nor your title, your correspondent will not be able to identify your sex and may give you the wrong title when he/she replies. It is safer therefore, to sign to sign with your given name, and safest of all to include your title.
Including titles in signatures is, in fact, more common among women then among men, partly because many women like to make it clear either that they are married (Mrs.) or unmarried (Miss) or that their martial status is not relevant (Ms.), and partly because there is a tendency to believe that important positions in a company can only be held by men. It would do no harm for men to start including their titles in their signatures.
The term 'per pro' (p.p.) is sometimes used in signatures and means 'for and on behalf of'. Secretaries sometimes use p.p. when signing a letter on behalf of their bosses.
When writing on behalf of your company, it is useful to indicate your position in the firm in the signature.
If ther are many enclosures, e.g. leaflets, prospectus, etc., with the letter, these may be mentioned in the body of the letter. But many firms in any case write Enc. or Encl. At the bottom of the letter, and if there are a number of documents, these are listed, e.g.
Bill of landing (5copies)
Insurance certificate (1 copy)
Bill of exchange (1 copy)
Some further features of a business letter
'Private and confidential'
This phrase may be written at the head of a letter above salutation, and more importantly on the envelope, in cases where the letter is intended only for ht eyes of the named recipient.
There are many variations of the phrase - 'Confidential', 'Strictly Confidential' - but little difference in meaning between them.
2. Subject title
Some firms open their letters with a subject title (beneath the salutation). This provides a further reference, saves introducing the subject in the first paragraph, immediately draws attention to the topic of the letter, and allows the writer to refer to it throughout the letter.
It is not necessary to begin the subject title with Re: e.g. Re: Application for the post of typist.
c.c. (= carbon copies) is written, usually at the end of the letter, when copies are sent to people other than the named recipient.
b.c.c. (=blind carbon copies) is written at the copies themselves, though not, on the top copy, when you do not want the named recipient to know that other people have received the copies as well.
2. Content of a business letter
How long should a letter be? The answer is as long as necessary and this will depend on the subject of the letter.
It may be a simple subject, e.g. thanking a customer for a cheque, or quite complicated, e.g. explaining how a group insurance policy works. It is a question of how much information you put in the letter: you may give too little (even for a brief subject), in which case your letter will be too short, or too much (even for a complicated subject), in which case it will be too long. Your style and the kind of language you use can also affect the length. The right length includes the right amount of information.
The three letters that follow are written by different people in reply to the same enquiry from a Mr. Arrand about the company's product:
1. Too long
Dear Mr. Arrand,
Thank you very much for your enquiry of 5 November which we receive today. We often receive enquiries from large stores and always welcome them, particularly at this time of the year when we know that you will be stocking for Christmas.
We have enclosed our winter catalogue and are sure you will be extremely impressed by the wide range of watches that we stock. You will see that they range from the traditional to the latest in quartz movements and include ranges for men, women and children, with prices that should suit upper-market bracket priced at several hundred pounds. But whether you buy a cheaper or more expensive model we guarantee all merchandise for two years with a full service.
Enclosed you will also find our price-list giving full details on c.i.f. prices to London and explaining our discounts which we think you will find very generous and which we hope will take full advantage of.
We are always available to offer you further information about our products and can promise you personal attention whenever you require it. This service is given to all our customers throughout the world, and as you probably know, we deal with countries from the Far East to Europe and Latin America., and this fact alone bears out our reputation which has been established for more than a hundred years and has made our motto a household world - Time for Everyone.
Once again may we thank you for your enquiry and say that we look forward to hearing from you in the near future?
There are a number of things wrong with a letter of this sort. Though it tries to advertise the products and the company itself, it is too wordy.
There is no need to explain that stores or shops are stocking for Christmas; the customer is aware of this. Rather than draw attention to certain items the customer might be interested in, the letter only explains what the customer can already see, that there is a wide selection of watches in the catalogue covering the full range of market prices.
In addition, the writer goes on unnecessarily to explain which countries the firm sells to, the history of company and its rather unimpressive motto.
2. Too short
Thank you for your enquiry. We have a wide selection of watches which we are sure you will like. We will be sending a catalogue soon.
There are number of points missing from this letter, quite apart from the fact that, since the writer knew the name of his correspondent he should have begun the letter Dear Mr Arrand and ended Yours sincerely. There is no reference to the date or reference number of the enquiry.
Catalogues should be have sent with a reply to the enquiry; it is annoying for a customer to have to wait for further information to be sent. Even if a catalogue is sent, the customer's attention should be drawn to particular items that would interest him/her in the line of business. He/she might be concerned with the upper or lower end of the market. He might want moderately priced items, or expensive ones.
3. The right length
Here is a letter that is more suitable:
Dear Mr Arrand, Thank you for your enquiry of 5 November.
We have enclosed our winter catalogue and price-list giving details of c.i.f. London prices, discounts and delivery dates.
Though you will see we offer a wide selection of watches, may we draw your attention to pp. 23-28, and pp. 31-37 in our catalogue, which we think might suit the market you are dealing with? And on page 34 you will notice our latest designs in pendant watches, which are becoming fashionable for both men and women.
As you are probably aware, all our products are fully guaranteed and backed by our world-wide reputation.
If there is any further information you require, please contact us. Meanwhile, we look forward to hearing from you soon.
Let's sum up the basic rules concerning the letter length.
The letter should be neither too long nor too short. It is better to include too much information than too little. Your reader cannot read your mind. If you leave out vital information, he won't know what he wants to know, unless he writes back again and he may not bother to do that.
If you include extra information, at least he'll have what he wants, even though he may irritated by having to read the unnecessary parts. Provided, of course, that you include the vital information as well as the extras: the worst letter of all is the one that gives very piece of information about the product, except for the price.
Order and sequence
As well as containing the right amount of information, the letter should also make all the necessary points in a logical sequence, with each idea or piece of information linking up with the previous one in a pattern that can be followed. Do not jump around making a statement, switching to other subjects, then referring back to the point you made a few sentences or paragraphs before.
1. Unclear sequence
Consider this badly-written letter. There is no clear sequence to the letter, which makes it difficult to understand.
We are interested in your security system. We would like to know more about the prices and discounts you offer.
A business associate of ours, DMS (Wholesalers) Ltd., mentioned your name to us and showed us a catalogue. They were impressed with the security system you installed for them, so we are writing to you about it. Do you give us guarantees with the installations?
In your catalogue we saw the 'Secure 15' which looks as though it might suit our purposes. DMD had the 'Secure 18' installed, but as we mentioned, they are wholesalers, while we are a chain of stores. We would like something that can prevent robbery and shoplifting, so the 'Secure 15' might suit us.
How long would it take to install a system that would serve all departments? Could you send us an inspector or adviser to see us at some time?
If you can offer competitive prices and guarantees we would put your system in all our outlets, but initially we would only install the system in our main branch.
We would like to make a decision on this soon, so we would appreciate an early reply.
Here is a better version of the same letter, in which the ideas and information are in logical order.
Dear Mr. Jerry,
We are a chain of retail stores and are looking for an efficient security system. You were recommended to us by our associates DMS (Wholesalers) Ltd. for whom you recently installed an alarms system, the 'Secure 18'.
We need an installation which would give us comprehensive protection against robbery and shoplifting throughout all departments; and the' Secure 15' featured in your catalogue appears to suit us. However, if one of your representatives could come along to see us, he would probably be able to give us more advice and details of the available systems.
Initially, we will test your system in our main branch, and if successful, then extend it throughout our other branches, but of course a competitive quotation and full guarantees for maintenance and service would be necessary.
Please reply as soon as possible as we would like to make a decision within the next few months. Thank you
The first sentence or paragraph of a letter is an important one since it gets the tone of the letter and gives your reader his first impression of you and your company. Generally speaking, in the first paragraph you will thank your correspondent for his letter (if replying to an enquiry), introduce yourself and your company if necessary, state the subject of the letter, and set out the purpose of the letter. Here are two examples:
Thank you for your enquiry dated 8 July in which you asked us about our range of cosmetics. As you have probably seen in our advertisements in fashion magazines, we appeal to a wide age-group from the teenage market trough to more mature women, with our products being retailed in leading stores throughout the world.
Thank you for your letter of 19 August which I received today. We can certainly supply you with the industrial floor coverings you asked about, and enclosed you will find a catalogue illustrating our wide range of products, which are used in factories and offices throughout the world.
This is the main part of your letter and will concern the points that need to be made, answers you wish to give, or questions you want to ask. As this can vary widely with the type of letter that you are writing, it is dwelt in other parts of my diploma work.
It is in the middle paragraphs of a letter that planning is most important, to make sure that your points are made clearly, fully and in logical sequence.
When closing the letter, you should thank the person for writing, if your letter is a reply and if you have not done this at the beginning. Encourage further enquiries or correspondence, and mention that you look forward to hearing from your correspondent soon. You may also wish to restate , very briefly, one or two the most important of the points you have made in the main part of the letter. Here are some examples:
Once again thank you for writing to us, and please contact us if you would like any further information. To go briefly over the points I have made - all prices are quoted c.i.f. Yokahama; delivery would be six weeks from receipt of order; and payment should be made by bank draft. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
I hope I have covered all the questions you asked, but please contact me if there are any other details you require. May I just point out that the summer season will soon be with us, so please place an order as soon as possible so that it can be met in good time for when the season starts. I hope to hear from you in the near future.
We are sure that you have made the right choice in choosing this particular line as it is proving to be a leading seller. If there is any advice or further information you want, we shall be happy to supply it, and look forward to hearing from you.
3. Rules and manners for writing a business letter
Technical layout of letter
A letter's style
Writing an effective business letter is an important skill for every manager and business owner.In this brief overview we will examine the five main steps in creating an effective business letter.
Clearly establish what you want to achieve from the letter- whether it is to win back a dissatisfied customer or to reprimand an employee.Whatever the aim, create your letter from these goals.
Make sure you have the relevant accurate facts available. For a late payer,this might include relevant invoices, complaint forms, talks with your sales department and any previous correspondence from the customer.
the recipient of the letter:
Write in the language of your recipient. Try to put yourself in the position of the recipient. Read it from his point of view. Is the letter clear or open to misinterpretation. If you know the recipient, use this knowledge to phrase the letter to generate your desired response.
a sample Copy:
Having established your aims, amassed the relevant facts with a conscious view of the recipient- write down the main points of your letter.
on Physical layout of letter.
The physical appearance of a letter consists of the paper and the envelope. The first thing a recipient sees is the envelope. It is essential that it is of suitable quality with the name and address spelt correctly.Quality envelopes and paper suggest a professional company. It is wise to make sure the envelope matches the size of the paper.While you will use 81/2 x 11 inches(A4 size) sized paper for the majority of letters - a 4 x 6 inches(A5) can be used for specific shorter letters.But insist that properly sized envelopes are used for this A5 size paper,allowing you maintain and convey an coordinated image.
Technical layout of letter:
This will include your company's name, address, telephone number, fax number and email address. Include your web address if available. Other information may be required depending on the legal status of your business formation.Contact your legal adviser for exact details.
Always include the recipient's name, address and postage code. Add job title if approriate. Double check that you have the correct spelling of the recipient 's name .
Always date your letters.Never abbreviate January to Jan. 31.
These are optional.They are a good idea if you have a large volume of correspondence.These day modern word processors made this an easy task to complete and maintain.
The type of salutation depends on your relationship with the recipient. Always try to personalise letter thus avoiding the dear sir/madam situation.
Again this is optional, but its inclusion can help the recipient in dealing successfully with the aims of your letter. Normally the subject sentence is preceded with the word Re: It should be placed one line below the greeting.
This will contain a number of paragraphs, each paragraph dealing with one point and one point only.
The signature should be clear and legible-showing you are interested in the letter and consequently the recipient.Your signature should also be followed underneath by a typed version of your name and your job title.
If you include other material in the letter, put 'Enclosure','Enc', or' Encs', as appropriate, two lines below the last entry.
A letter's style:
Previously we created the main points of our letter, now we must transform this into a final version.To do this, four main considerations are necessary.
There are three main formats: blocked, semi-blocked and indented.
The former has all entries tight against the left -hand margin.The semi-blocked format sets the references and the date to the right margin for filing and retrieval purposes, with the remaining entries placed against the left margin.
The indented format follows the same layout as either of the above, but indents each paragraph by five or six spaces.
Clarity of communication is the primary goal. Don't use technical jargon if the recipient is unlikely to understand it. Short sentences are less likely to be misunderstood or misinterperted. Be precise , don't ramble. Check each sentence to see if it is relevant.Does it add to the point ?
Always try to personalise your letters. Always try to be civil and friendly even if the subject matter is stern and sensitive.Give the impression to the recipient that some effort and thought has gone into the letter.
Once the final version of the letter has been created, polish it off with a final spelling and punctuation check.
Letter writing etiquette
Always make sure you start and end your letters correctly. If you are writing to Mrs Jane Smith then you should start the letter 'Dear Mrs Smith' and finish it with 'Yours sincerely' - N.B. 'sincerely' does not start with a capital 'S'.
Particular care is required when you are writing to a woman. If she has just written her name as Jane Smith do you start the letter 'Dear Jane' or 'Dear Ms Smith'. She might be offended if you refer to her as 'Ms' and you might not feel comfortable writing 'Dear Jane' as it sounds too familiar. To get round this problem all you have to do is ring the company and ask them how she likes to be addressed. If there is not a telephone number for the company in the advertisement just call Directory Enquires (dial 192 in the UK). When you ring the company all you have to say is that you are writing to Jane Smith and you would like to know whether she is a Ms, Mrs or Miss so your letter can be correctly addressed.
If the advertisement just says reply to J. Smith how would you address the letter? Dear Sir? or Dear Madam? Dear Mr Smith? You would be well advised to ring the company and find out J. Smith's full name and title (Mr/Mrs/Ms/Miss). Remember politeness costs you nothing, but it can really pay dividends and you will probably be the only person who has bothered to find out. This may distinguish you from everyone else who applied - being noticed is the key to writing a potential interview-winning covering letter.
If the advertisement just says write to the Personnel Department or reply to Box Number 55 it may not be possible for you to find out who will be handling your reply. In these cases you will have to start your letter 'Dear Sir/Madam' and finish the letter with 'Yours faithfully'. Please note that 'faithfully' does not start with a capital 'F'.
Striking the Right Tone
An underlying goal of most business letters you write is to promote goodwill between you and your reader. Especially when writing to someone for the first time, you should use a tone that will encourage that person to listen to you and want to work with you now and in the future
If your letter is primarily informational or contains good news, a direct approach is usually best. State your point or offer your news immediately and briefly, and then explain any other information the reader needs to know.
Finding the proper tone is more difficult if you are delivering bad news. In this case, taking an indirect approach may be a better strategy. In the first few sentences, for example, you could begin on a positive note by stating how much you want to work with the reader’s company or by reminding the reader of times you accommodated his or her requests in the past. When you do get to your point, try to minimize the reader’s disappointment or anger by delivering the message in carefully considered language that conveys your news clearly but tactfully.
Establishing a Courteous Tone
The fast pace of letters makes it easy to send a message without fully considering the nuances of its tone. If you do not take the time to think about your words and how they may be perceived, your letters may seem overly blunt or even insulting.
A simple rule can keep you from writing inadvertently offensive letters: Always ask yourself how you would feel if you received the message you are sending. If you would bristle at its terseness, you can assume the reader will as well. If you are unsure how the message might be taken, ask for someone else’s opinion, or let it sit overnight and read it again the next morning with a fresh eye.
If someone sends you a rude e-mail message (or “flame,” in e-mail slang), take a moment to calm down before responding. The best way to douse a flame is to write back using the most neutral and measured tone you can muster. In some cases it’s best not to respond to a flame.
4. Style of a business letter
Now I will deal with some common writing problems that do not involve rules of grammar. These problems—of parallelism, redundancy, and the like—are more rhetorical than grammatical; that is, they involve choices you must make as a writer trying to create a certain style of expression. You must determine what stylistic choices will afford greater clarity and cogency to each of your efforts to communicate. We all make different choices when faced with different communicative tasks depending on what we feel will be most effective. An expression that is appropriate for a formal letter may be utterly off-putting in an informal message.
A successful and distinctive writing style is an elusive bird of paradise. It is unmistakable once you see it but difficult to find. It involves many things: creating an appropriate voice for your purpose, choosing the right words for the subject and audience, constructing elegant sentences whose rhythm reinforces their meaning, presenting an argument in a logical fashion that is both engaging and easy to follow, finding vivid images to make thoughts accessible to your readers. You can probably add to this list. You may, for example, want to shock or jolt your audience rather than court it, and this strategy requires stylistic features that are quite different from those you would use for gentle persuasion.
Most memorable writing has as one of its recognizable features the ample use of parallel grammatical structures. A basic guideline about parallel constructions is to make sure that all the elements in a balanced pair or in a series have the same grammatical form. That is, if you start with a that-clause, stick with that-clauses; if you start with an infinitive, stick with infinitives; if you start with a participle, stick with participles; and so on. What you don’t want is a mixed bag, as in She had a strong desire to pursue medicine and for studying literature or The scientist asked for volunteers with allergies but who had not given blood recently.
A second point is to make sure that once you have chosen the kind of grammatical forms you want to make parallel, you structure them symmetrically. Remember that an initial article, preposition, auxiliary verb, or modifier will tend to govern all elements in the series unless it is repeated for each element. For example, if you set up a series of nouns with the first modified by an adjective, the reader will expect the adjective to modify the rest of the series as well. Thus you should say The building has new lighting, plumbing, and carpeting but not The building has new lighting, plumbing, and different carpeting. The same is true for articles: He brought the rod, reel, and bait. If you want to restrict a modifier to only one noun, repeat the article for each noun: He brought the light rod, the reel, and the bait.
When you spot a faulty parallel, recast the structure to give all the elements equivalent treatment. If your new parallel construction does not seem much of an improvement, rewrite the sentence completely to avoid the parallel construction. Better to have no parallel structures than to have parallel structures that sound overblown or stilted.
Faulty parallelism is all around us. We see and hear it every day—often without taking notice. How many times have you heard Please leave your name, number, and a brief message? After waiting for the tone, have you ever objected to the imperfect symmetry of this sentence? In our most recent ballot we presented some sentences with questionable parallelism to the usage panelists to see how tolerant they would be. As we expected, they had a range of opinions.
Crafting sentences with flawless parallelism takes effort and practice. Even if your readers don’t notice or object when you make mistakes, balance and symmetry are worth striving for in your writing. There are certain constructions that are notorious for throwing things out of whack. I listed some of them below.
both … and …
comparisons with as and than
either … or / neither … nor
not only … but also
Writing handbooks usually include warnings about the passive voice—it is wordy and clumsy and leads to static rather than dynamic writing. There is truth to this, certainly, but the passive voice also has legitimate uses, and in many instances it is preferable to the active voice.
Such phrases as "The material will be delivered"; "The start date is to be decided"; "The figures must be approved" are obscure ones leaving unsettled who it is that delivers, who decides, and who does the approving. Which side it is to be? Lawsuits are the plausible outcome of leaving it all unsettled. Passives used in contracts can destroy the whole negotiations. "You will deliver" is better for it identifies the one who will do delivering. Certainly, "must be approved by us" violates other canons. "We shall have the right but not the obligation to approve" is less unfortunate.
There is no doubt that passives do not suit business letters, and if they go all the way through without adding something like "by you" or "by us" they are intolerable. Once in a long while one may find passives used purposely to leave something unresolved.
A certain amount of redundancy is built in to the English language, and we would never consider getting rid of it. Take grammatical number, for instance. Sentences such as 'He drives to work' and 'We are happy' contain redundant verb forms. The -s of drives indicates singularity of the subject, but we already know the subject is singular from the singular pronoun he. Similarly, are indicates a plural subject, which is already evident from the plural pronoun we. Number is also indicated redundantly in phrases like this book and those boxes, where the demonstrative adjective shows number and the noun does as well.
But there are redundant ways of saying things that can make the rest of your writing seem foolish. Many of these are common expressions that go unnoticed in casual conversation but that stick out like red flags in writing. Why say at this point in time instead of now, or because of the fact that when because will do? Something that is large in size is really just large. The trouble lies less in the expressions themselves than in their accumulated effect. Anyone can be forgiven for an occasional redundancy, but writing that is larded with redundancies is likely to draw unwanted laughs rather than admiration.
Listed below are some of the more problematic redundancies.
but … however
consider as / deem as
rarely ever / seldom ever
reason is because
In a world in which efficiency has become a prime value, most people view economy in wording as a sign of intelligence. Its opposite, therefore, is often considered a sign of stupidity. Most of us are busy and impatient people. We hate to wait. Using too many words is like asking people to stand in line until you get around to the point. It is irritating, which hardly helps when you are trying to win someone’s goodwill or show that you know what you’re talking about. What is worse, using too many words often makes it difficult to understand what is being said. It forces a reader to work hard to figure out what is going on, and in many cases the reader may simply decide it is not worth the effort. Another side effect of verbosity is the tendency to sound overblown, pompous, and evasive. What better way to turn off a reader?
It is easy to recommend concision in expression but much harder to figure out how to achieve it. In general, wordy writing has three distinguishing characteristics: weak verbs, ponderous nouns, and lots of prepositional phrases. The three are interconnected.
The key to writing clearly and concisely is to use strong active verbs. This means that you should only use the passive voice when you have a solid reason for doing so. If you look down a page you have written and see that you are relying on forms of the verb be and other weak verbs like seem and appear, you can often boil down what you have written to a fraction of its size by revising with active verbs.
Here is an example:
It is essential to acknowledge that one of the drawbacks to the increased utilization of part-time employees is that people who are still engaged full-time by the company are less likely to be committed to the recognition and identification of problems in the production area.
This passage has 45 words. We can boil it down to 14 by cutting out the unnecessary words, using active verbs, and using noun modifiers to do the work of prepositional phrases:
Using more part-time employees often makes full-time employees less willing to report production problems.
A certain amount of repetition and redundancy has its uses. It never hurts to thank someone and add that you appreciate what was done. The recapitulation of the major points in a complicated essay can be a generous service to the reader, not a needless repetition. If you keep focused on what you are trying to accomplish and on what will help your readers or your listeners, you will have less need to remember formal rules of good writing. You will be able to trust your instincts and your ear.
5. Lexics of business letters
From the lexicological point of view isolated words and phrases mean very little. In context they mean a great deal, and in the special context of contractual undertakings they mean everything. Contract English is a prose organised according to plan.
And it includes, without limitation, the right but not the obligation to select words from a wide variety of verbal implements and write clearly, accurately, and/or with style.
Two phases of writing contracts exist: in the first, we react to proposed contracts drafted by somebody else, and in the second, which presents greater challenge, we compose our own.
A good contract reads like a classic story. It narrates, in orderly sequence, that one part should do this and another should do that, and perhaps if certain events occur, the outcome will be changed. All of the rate cards charts, and other reference material ought to be ticked off one after another according to the sense of it. Tables and figures, code words and mystical references are almost insulting unless organised and defined. Without organisation they baffle, without definition they entrap.
In strong stance one can send back the offending document and request a substitute document in comprehensible English. Otherwise a series of questions may be put by letter, and the replies often will have contractual force if the document is later contested.
Now it appears logical to examine the examples of favourite contract phrases, which will help ease the way to fuller examination of entire negotiations and contracts. A full glossary is beyond reach but in what follows there is a listing of words and phrases that turn up in great many documents, with comments on each one. The words and phrases are presented in plausible contract sequence, not alphabetically.
"Whereas" Everyone's idea of how a contract begins. Some lawyers dislike "Whereas" and use recitation clauses so marked to distinguish them from the text in the contract. There the real issue lies; one must be careful about mixing up recitals of history with what is actually being agreed on. For example, it would be folly to write: "Whereas A admits owing B $10,000..." because the admission may later haunt one, especially if drafts are never signed and the debt be disputed. Rather less damaging would be:
e.g. "Whereas the parties have engaged in a series of transactions resulting in dispute over accounting between them..."
On the whole "Whereas" is acceptable, but what follows it needs particular care.
"It is understood and agreed" On the one hand, it usually adds nothing, because every clause in the contract is "understood and agreed" or it would not be written into it. On the other hand, what it adds is an implication that other clauses are not backed up by this phrase: by including the one you exclude the other. «It is understood and agreed» ought to be banished.
"Hereinafter" A decent enough little word doing the job of six ("Referred to later in this document"). "Hereinafter" frequently sets up abbreviated names for the contract parties.
e.g. "Knightsbridge International Drapes and Fishmonger, Ltd (hereinafter "Knightsbridge").
"Including Without Limitation" It is useful and at times essential phrase. Earlier I've noted that mentioning certain things may exclude others by implication. Thus,
e.g. "You may assign your exclusive British and Commonwealth rights"
suggests that you may not assign other rights assuming you have any. Such pitfalls may be avoided by phrasing such as:
e.g. "You may assign any and all your rights including without limitation your exclusive British and Commonwealth rights".
But why specify any rights if all of them are included? Psychology is the main reason; people want specific things underscored in the contracts, and "Including Without Limitation" indulges this prediction.
"Assignees and Licensees" These are important words which acceptability depends on one's point of view
"Knightsbridge, its assignees and licensees..."
suggests that Knightsbridge may hand you over to somebody else after contracts are signed. If you yourself happen to be Knightsbridge, you will want that particular right and should use the phrase.
"Without Prejudice" It is a classic. The British use this phrase all by itself, leaving the reader intrigued. "Without Prejudice" to what exactly? Americans spell it out more elaborately, but if you stick to American way, remember "Including Without Limitation", or you may accidentally exclude something by implication. Legal rights, for example, are not the same thing as remedies the law offers to enforce them. Thus the American might write:
"Without prejudice to any of my existing or future rights or remedies..."
And this leads to another phrase.
"And/or" It is an essential barbarism. In the preceding example I've used the disjunctive "rights or remedies". This is not always good enough, and one may run into trouble with
"Knightsbridge or Tefal or either of them shall..."
What about both together? "Knightsbridge and Tefal", perhaps, followed by "or either". Occasionally the alternatives become overwhelming, thus and/or is convenient and generally accepted, although more detail is better.
"Shall" If one says "Knightsbridge and/or Tefal shall have..." or "will have...", legally it should make no difference in the case you are consent in using one or the other. "Shall", however, is stronger than "will". Going from one to another might suggest that one obligation is stronger somehow than another. Perhaps, one's position may determine the choice. "You shall", however is bad form.
"Understanding" It is a dangerous word. If you mean agreement you ought to say so. If you view of affairs that there is no agreement, "understanding" as a noun suggests the opposite or comes close to it. .it stands, in fact, as a monument to unsatisfactory compromise. The softness of the word conjures up pleasing images. "In accordance with our understanding..." can be interpreted in a number of ways.
"Effect" Here is a little word which uses are insufficiently praised. Such a phrase as "We will produce..." is inaccurate, because the work will be subcontracted and the promise-maker technically defaults. Somebody else does the producing. Why not say "We will produce or cause to be produced..."? This is in fact often said, but it jars the ear. Accordingly "We will effect production..." highlights the point with greater skill.
"Idea" This word is bad for your own side but helpful against others. Ideas as such are not generally protected by law. If you submit something to a company with any hope of reward you must find better phrasing than "my idea". Perhaps, "my format" or possibly "my property" is more appropriate. Naturally, if you can develop an idea into a format or protectable property, the more ambitious phrasing will be better justified.
"As between us" It is useful, because people are always forgetting or neglecting to mention that a great many interests may be involved in what appears to be simple dialogue. "I reserve control over..." and "You have the final power of decision over..." sound like division of something into spheres, but frequently "I" am in turn controlled by my investors and "You" - by a foreign parent company, making the language of division inaccurate. Neither of us really controls anything, at least ultimately.
Thus it will be useful to say, "As between us, I control..." and so on.
"Spanning" Time periods are awkward things: "...for a period commencing August,1 and expiring November,15..." is clumsy; "...from August,1 to November,15..." is skeletal when informing how long a contract obligation endures.
But during particular time periods one may be reporting for work, for example, three days out of every five, or doing something else that is within but not completely parallel to the entire time period involved.
A happy solution is the word "Spanning". It goes this way:
"Throughout the period spanning August,1 - November,15 inclusive you will render services as a consultant three days out of every five."
It will be useful to put "inclusive" at the end for without it you may lose the date, concluding the period being spanned.
"Negotiate in Good Faith" The negotiators have worked until late at night, all points but one have been worked out, the contract will never be signed without resolution of some particular impasse. What is there to do?
Agree to "Negotiate in Good Faith" on the disputed point at later time. This is done frequently, but make no mistake about the outcome. The open point remains open. If it happens to be vital you may have no contract at all. "Negotiate in Good Faith" is one of those evasions that must be used sparingly. At the right time it prevents collapse, at the wrong time it promotes it.
"Confirm" It suggests, of course, that something has been agreed upon before. You are writing now only to make a record of it. "I write to confirm that you admit substantial default in delivery" Frequently we encounter it in ordinary correspondence: "Confirming your order", "Confirming the main points of our agreement", and so on.
"Furnish" It is a handy word which usefulness lies in the avoidance of worse alternatives. Suppose you transact to deliver a variety of elements as a package.
"Deliver" leaves out, even though it may well be implied, the preliminary purchase or engagement of these elements, and at the other end it goes very far in suggesting responsibility for getting the package unscathed to where it belongs. Alternatives also may go wrong, slightly, each with its own implications. "Assign" involves legal title; "give" is lame and probably untrue; "transmit" means send.
Thus each word misses some important - detail or implies unnecessary things. "Furnish" is sometimes useful when more popular words fall short or go too far. It has a good professional ring to it as well:
"I agree to furnish all of the elements listed on Exhibit A annexed hereto and made part hereof by incorporation."
Who is responsible for non-delivery and related questions can be dealt with in separate clauses. "Furnish" avoids jumping the gun. It keeps away from what ought to be treated independently but fills up enough space to stand firm. The word is good value.
"Right but Not Obligation" One of the most splendid phrases available. Sometimes the grant of particular rights carries with it by implication a duty to exploit them. Authors, for example, often feel betrayed by their publishes, who have various rights "but do nothing about them." Royalties decrease as a result; and this situation, whether or not it reflects real criminality, is repeated in variety of industries and court cases. Accordingly it well suits the grantee of rights to make clear at the very beginning that he may abandon them. This possibility is more appropriately dealt with in separate clauses reciting the consequences. Still, contracts have been known to contain inconsistent provisions, and preliminary correspondence may not even reach the subject of rights. A quick phrase helps keep you out of trouble: "The Right but Not Obligation". Thus,
"We shall have the Right but Not Obligation to grant sublicenses in Austria"("But if we fail, we fail").
Even this magic phrase has its limitations because good faith may require having a real go to exploiting the rights in question. Nevertheless "Right but Not Obligation" is useful, so much so as to become incantation and be said whenever circumstances allow it. I the other side challenges these words, it will be better to know this at once and work out alternatives or finish up the negotiations completely.
"Exclusive" It’s importance in contract English is vast, and its omission creates difficulties in good many informal drafts. Exclusivity as a contract term means that somebody is -barred from dealing with others in a specified area. Typically an employment may be exclusive in that the employee may not work for any one else, or a license may be exclusive in the sense that no competing licenses will be issued.
Antitrust problems cluster around exclusive arrangements but they are not all automatically outlawed. It follows that one ought to specify whether or not exclusivity is part of many transactions. If not, the phrase "nonexclusive" does well enough. On the other hand, if a consultant is to be engaged solely by one company, or a distributorship awarded to nobody else except X, then "exclusive" is a word that deserves recitation. "Exclusive Right but Not Obligation" is an example that combines two phrases discussed here. The linking of concepts is a step in building a vocabulary of contract English.
"Solely on condition that" One of the few phrases that can be considered better than its short counterparts. Why not just "if"? Because "if" by itself leaves open the possibility of open contingencies:
"If Baker delivers 1,000 barrels I will buy them" is unclear if you will buy them only from Baker. Therefore what about "only if"? Sometimes this works out, but not always.
"I will buy 1,000 barrels only if Baker delivers them" is an example of "only if" going fuzzy. One possible meaning is "not more than 1,000 barrels" with "only" assimilated with the wrong word. Here then a more elaborate phrase is justified.
"I will buy 1,000 barrels solely on condition that Baker delivers them" makes everything clear.
"Subject to" Few contracts can do without this phrase. Many promises can be made good only if certain things occur. The right procedure is to spell out these plausible impediments to the degree that you can reasonably foresee them. E.g. :
"We will deliver these subject to our receiving adequate supplies";
"Our agreement is subject to the laws of Connecticut";
"Subject to circumstances beyond our control ".
"Repeat" This word is often used in cables to emphasize a negative,
e.g. Do not REPEAT not send order 18551.
Or to emphasize an important detail,
e.g. Flight delayed by six REPEAT six hours.
Every now and then a scholarly phrase becomes accepted in business usage.
"Pro rate" and "pari passu" are Latin expressions but concern money. "Pro rata" proves helpful when payments are to be in a proportion reflecting earlier formulas in a contract. "Pari passu" is used when several people are paid at the same level or time out of a common fund. Latin, however, is not the only source of foreign phrases in business letters.
"Force majeure" is a French phrase meaning circumstances beyond one's control.
English itself has plenty of rare words. One example is "eschew"; how many times we see people struggling with negatives such as "and we agree not to produce (whatever it is) for a period of X". The more appropriate phrase would be "we will eschew production".
But here it should be mentioned that not everyone can understand such phrases. Therefore rare words should be used only once in a long while. Those who uses them sparingly appears to be reliable.
Abbreviations can be useful because they are quick to write and easy to read. But both parties need to know what the abbreviations stand for.
The abbreviations c.i.f. and f.o.b., for example, are recognized internationally as meaning cost, insurance, and freight and free on board. But can you be sure that your correspondent would know that o.n.o means or nearest offer?
Some international organizations, e.g. NATO, are know in all countries by the same set of initials, but many are not, e.g. EEC (European Economic Community) and UNO (United Nations Organization). National organizations, e.g. CBI (Confederation of British Industry) and TUC (Trades Union Congress), are even less likely to be known by their initials in other countries. So, if you are not absolutely certain that an abbreviation will be easily recognized, do not use it.
The International Chamber of Commerce uses a set of terms for delivery in overseas contracts - these are called Incoterms.
Now let me examine some of the abbreviations most frequently used in business correspondence.
c.i.f. - cost, insurance, freight.
If consignment is to be delivered according to c.i.f., then the supplier insures the goods and pays for the whole delivery.
f.o.b. - free on board.
If consignment is to be delivered according to f.o.b., then the supplier pays for transportation to port, steamer or air shipment and dispatch; and the customer pays for onward transportation and insurance.
f.o.r. - free on rail.
It is the same as f.o.b., but for railway transportation.
c & f - cost and freight.
If consignment is to be delivered according to c & f, then the supplier pays for the whole delivery and the customer - for insurance.
CPT ( Carriage Paid To) named place of destination
Delivery happens when goods are given to the carrier (if more than one, the first carrier, or a freight forwarder). The seller pays the costs of delivery to the named place and the buyer's risks start from here.
CIP (Carriage and Insurance Paid) named place of destination
Delivery occurs, as in CPT with the buyer's risks being the same. The only change is the exporter pays the cost of cargo insurance.
DAF (Delivery at Frontier) named place
Delivery happens when the buyer gets the goods at a named place on the frontier, cleared for export, but not cleared for import. The buyer assumes risks from here. The exporter pays all the costs to this point, but does not pay for unloading or import clearing charges.
DES (Delivery Ex Ship) named port of destination
Delivery happens when buyer gets goods at named port. He then assumes all risks, but the exporter pays all costs to that point, but not unloading or import clearance.
DEQ (Delivery Ex Quay - Duty Paid) named port of destination
Delivery happens when the buyer gets the goods on his/her quay (dock) and assumes all risks from that point.
DES and DEQ can only be used for sea and inland waterways.
DDU (Delivery Duty Unpaid) named place of destination
Delivery takes place when the buyer gets the goods at the named place in the importing country and takes all the risks thereafter. The seller pays all costs to this point, but not duties and taxes.
DDP (Delivery Duty Paid) named place of destination
Delivery happens as in DDU, with the buyer taking the same risks. The seller pays all costs to this point including duties and taxes.
Ex-Works (EXW) e.g. from the factory or warehouse
Seller packs and prepares goods for dispatch with delivery taking place at his/her factory or warehouse. The buyer now takes all transit risks.
FCA (Free Carrier) named place e.g. where the carrier - the plane or ship etc., pick up goods
Delivery occurs when the seller gives the goods to the carrier (airline, shipping company, or freight forwarder) who is named by the buyer. The seller will pay all the costs up to the point, including export formalities and licences. From this point the buyer takes the risks for the goods and transit.
FAS (Free Alongside Ship) with port of shipment named e.g. where the goods are leaving from
Delivery occurs alongside the ship named by the buyer at the named port of the shipment. The buyer has the expense of loading. The seller pays costs up to and including delivery alongside the ship, including all documentation. This term is only used for sea and inland waterways.
Here is list of abbreviations not mentioned above:
A/C, a/c acc. - account current
adsd - addressed
adse - addressee
ad - advertisement, pl- ads
a.m. - ante meridiem, afternoon
app. - appendix
ASAP-as soon as possible
AWB - air way bill
attn. - attention
B/E, B.E., b.e. - bill of exchange
B/L, B.L., b/l, b.l., - bill of landing
cc., cc - copies
CEO -chief executive officer
Cf. - confer, compare
Co. - company
COD - cash on delivery
contr. - contract
corp. - corporation
cur. - 1.currency, 2. Current
CV -curriculum vitae
dd - 1.dated; 2.delivered
dep., dept., - department
doc. - document,( pl-docs)
doz., dz. - dozen
eaon - except as otherwise noted
e.g. - exempli gratia, for example
enc., encl., - enclosed, enclosure
exc., excl. - except, exception, exclude, exclusion
expn - expiration
fig. - 1.figure (1,2 ,3 ); 2.picture, scheme
FY - fiscal year
h.a. - hoc anno- this year
H.Q., HQ, h.q. - headquaters
id. - idem- the same
i.e., ie -id est- that is
inc., incl. - including
inc., inc - incorporated
info - information
inv. - invoice
IOU - I owe you
L/C, l.c. l/c - letter of credit
LLC - limited liability company
Ltd., ltd. - limited
LOC - letter of commitment
mdse - merchandise, goods
memo - memorandum
M.O., m.o. - 1. mail order, 2. Money order
M.T. - metric ton
MV - merchant (motor) vessel
N/A - not applicable
N.B., NB - nota bene- an important note
NC, N.C., n/c - no charge, free
o/l - our letter
PA - power of attorney
p.a.- per annum - per year
par. - paragraph
Plc, PLC - public limited company
PO - post office
pp. - pages
pp, p.p. per pro- on behalf of
qv - quod vide- see there
R&D - research and development
rct - receipt
rept – report
re - 1 regarding, 2. Reply
ref. - reference
RSVR - rependez s'il vous plais- reply please
RMS - root-mean-square
Shipt - shipment
Sig - signature
tn. - ton
urgt - urgent
v., vs. -versus
VAT - value-added tax
VIP - very important person
v.s. - vide supra- see above
v.v - vice versa-
w/ - with
w/o - without
& - and
@ - at (when stating a unit price)
# - number (AE)