Реферат: Lexico-semantic characteristics of business letter correspondence
Сдала студентка гр. РП -41 Юрченко М. В.
The subject matter of the course paper is the role of lexics andsemantics in the case of business letter correspondence. The question of thehistory of official communication, the main stages of business transactions,the role of person’s feeling for the proper use of phrases as well as hisknowledge of grammar are highlighted. Moreover, those phrases which are moreoften used in business letters are examined from the point of view of theirappropriateness in different situations. The practical part contains severalexamples of business letters; the occasions on which they were written and someof their characteristics are observed.
Letter writing — is an essential part of communication, anintimate part of experience. Each letter-writer has a characteristicway 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 ofwriting must be carefully and thoroughly learnt.
A cheque, a contract or any other business paper sent by mailshould always be accompanied by a letter. The letter says what is being sent so that the recipient should know exactly what you intended to send. It is atypical business letter which some people call «routine». Theletter may be short or long, it may contain some very important and much less important information - every letter requires careful planning andthoughtful writing.
In recent years English has become a universal businesslanguage. As such, it is potentially an instrument of order and clarity. But words and phrases have unexpected ways of creating binding commitments.
Letter-writing, certainly, is not the same as casualconversation, it bears only the same power of thoughts, reflections, andobservations 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 massageis written.
E.g.: «I wish to express to you my sincere appreciation foryour note of congratulation.»
«I am sincerely happy that you were elected President ofBiological Society.»
As you see such formulations show the attitude of the writer,his respect and sincerity.
The language of business, professional and semi-official lettersis formal, courteous, tactful, concise, expressive, and to the point. Aneatly arranged letter will certainly make a better impression on the reader,thus good letters make good business partners.
In the case of «scientific correspondence» the majorityof letters bear mostly a semi-official character and are concerned withdifferent situations associated with scientific activities concentrated aroundthe organisation of scientific meetings (congresses, symposia, workshops, etc.), the arrangement of visit, invitation, publication, the exchange ofscientific literature, information, etc. Letters of this kind have a tone of friendliness, naturalism. Modern English letters should not beexaggerated, overburdened, outmoded with time-worn expressions. The key note is simplicity. Modern letters tend towards using the language ofconversational style.
Writing is not only a means of communication and contract,but also a record of affairs, information, events, etc. So it is necessaryto feel the spirit and trend of the style in order to write a perfect letter.
Business-letter or contract law is a complex and vastlydocumented subject, only a lawyer can deal with it on a serious level. A number of basic principles, however, can be outlined sufficiently to mark ofencounters that require the use of specialised English.
Doing business means working out agreements with other people,sometimes through elaborate contracts and sometimes through nothing butlittle standard forms, through exchanges of letters and conversations atlunch.
Nowadays more and more agreements are made in English, forEnglish 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.
As a beginning I am going to look at the subject of writingof business letters generally. In the main there are three stagestransactions involving business contracts: first, negotiation of terms, second, drafting documents reflecting these terms, and third, litigation to enforce or to avoid executing of these terms. To my mind, a fourth might be added,the administration of contracts.
I am going to look through the first two since the third and thefourth are related only to the field of law. A typical first stage of contractis two or more people having drink and talking about future dealing. A secondphase might be letters written in order to work out an agreement.
In these two early stages it will be helpful to knowsomething about rules of contract. But what rules? Different nations borrowor create different legal systems, and even within a single country the rulesmay vary according to region or the kind of transaction involved.
It is worth knowing that the distinctions in legal system ofEngland are mainly historical.
The history of writing business letters is undoubtedlyconnected with the history of development of legal language. English is infact a latecomer as a legal language. Even after the Norman Conquest court pleadings in England were in French, and before that lawyers used Latin. Perhaps, some of our difficulties arise due to the fact that English was unacceptable in its childhood.
Contract in English suggest Anglo-American contract rules.The main point is always to be aware that there are differences: the waythey may be resolved usually is a problem for lawyers. With contracts theapplicable law may be the law of the place where the contract is made; in othercases it may be the law of the place where the contract is to be performed. Itis specified in preliminary negotiations which system of law is to apply.
Diversity is characteristic feature of English; here is a widerange of alternatives to choose from in saying things, although theconciseness is sometimes lacking. Consequently, the use of English is a creative challenge. Almost too many riches are available for selection, that leads occasionally to masterpieces but more frequently tomistakes. English is less refined in its distinctions than French, forexample, and this makes it harder to be clear.
That does not mean that English is imprecise for all things arerelative. If we compare English with Japanese, we will see that the latter possesses enormous degree of politeness to reflect the respectiveness of speaker and listener as well as of addresser andaddressee.
Here I cannot help mentioning the fact that as contracts are sounclear in what every side intends to do, a contract can sometimes put acompany out of business.
Thus everybody who is involved in any kind of business shouldstudy thoroughly the complex science of writing business letters andcontracts.
Businessletters throught lexics
From the lexicological point of view isolated words and phrasesmean very little. In context they mean a great deal, and in the specialcontext of contractual undertakings they mean everything. Contract English is a prose organised according to plan.
And it includes, without limitation, the right but not theobligation to select words from a wide variety of verbal implements and writeclearly, accurately, and/or with style.
Two phases of writing contracts exist: in the first, we reactto proposed contracts drafted by somebody else, and in the second, whichpresents greater challenge, we compose our own.
A good contract reads like a classic story. It narrates, inorderly sequence, that one part should do this and another should do that, and perhaps if certain events occur, the outcome will be changed. All ofthe 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 andmystical 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 andrequest a substitute document in comprehensible English. Otherwise a seriesof questions may be put by letter, and the replies often will have contractualforce if the document is later contested.
A sampling of contract phrases
My observations about English so far have been general in nature.Now it appears logical to examine the examples of favourite contract phrases, which will help ease the way to fuller examination of entirenegotiations and contracts. a full glossary is beyond reach but in what followsthere 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 inplausible contract sequence, not alphabetically.
«Whereas» Everyman's idea of how a contract begins. Some lawyers dislike «Whereas» and use recitation clauses so markedto distinguish them from the text in the contract. There the real issuelies; one must be careful about mixing up recitals of history with what isactually 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 bedisputed. Rather less damaging would be:
«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 followsit needs particular care.
«It is understood and agreed» On the one hand, itusually adds nothing, because every clause in the contract is «understoodand agreed» or it would not be written into it. On the other hand, whatit 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» oughtto be banished.
«Hereinafter» A decent enough little word doing thejob of six («Referred to later in this document»). «Hereinafter» frequently sets up abbreviated names for the contractparties.
«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 mayexclude others by implication. Thus,
«You may assign your exclusive British and Commonwealthrights»
suggests that you may not assign other rights assuming you haveany. Such pitfalls may be avoided by phrasing such as:
«You may assign any and all your rights includingwithout 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» indulgesthis prediction.
«Assignees and Licensees» These are important wordswhich acceptability depends on one's point of view
«Knightsbridge, its assignees and licensees...»
suggests that Knightsbridge may hand you over to somebody elseafter 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 usethis phrase all by itself, leaving the reader intrigued. «WithoutPrejudice» to what exactly? Americans spell it out moreelaborately, but if you stick to American way, remember «IncludingWithout Limitation», or you may accidentally exclude something byimplication. Legal rights, for example, are not the same thing as remediesthe law offers to enforce them. Thus the American might write:
«Without prejudice to any of my existing or future rights orremedies...»
And this leads to another phrase.
«And/or» It is an essential barbarism. In thepreceding 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 alternativesbecome 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 oneto another might suggest that one obligation is stronger somehow than another. Perhaps, one's position may determine the choice. «Youshall», 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 thereis no agreement, «understanding» as a noun suggests the opposite orcomes close to it. .it stands, in fact, as a monument to unsatisfactorycompromise. The softness of the word conjures up pleasing images. «In accordance with our understanding...» can be interpreted in anumber of ways.
«Effect» Here is a little word which uses are insufficiently praised. Such a phrase as «We willproduce...» is inaccurate, because the work will be subcontractedand the promise-maker technically defaults. Somebody else does theproducing. 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 helpfulagainst 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 betterphrasing 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 interestsmay be involved in what appears to be simple dialogue. «I reservecontrol over...» and «You have the final power of decisionover...» 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 divisioninaccurate. Neither of us really controls anything, at least ultimately.
Thus it will be useful to say, «As between us, Icontrol...» 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 wheninforming how long a contract obligation endures.
But during particular time periods one may be reporting forwork, for example, three days out of every five, or doing something else thatis within but not completely parallel to the entire time period involved.
A happy solution is the word «Spanning». It goes thisway:
«Throughout the period spanning August,1 — November,15inclusive you will render services as a consultant three days out of everyfive.»
It will be useful to put «inclusive» at the end forwithout 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, thecontract will never be signed without resolution of some particular impasse. What is there to do?
Agree to «Negotiate in Good Faith» on the disputed pointat later time. This is done frequently, but make no mistake about theoutcome. The open point remains open. If it happens to be vital you may haveno contract at all. «Negotiate in Good Faith» is one of thoseevasions 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 hasbeen agreed upon before. You are writing now only to make a record of it.«I write to confirm that you admit substantial default indelivery» Frequently we encounter it in ordinary correspondence:«Confirming your order», «Confirming the main points of ouragreement», and so on.
«Furnish» It is a handy word which usefulness lies inthe avoidance of worse alternatives. Suppose you transact to deliver a varietyof elements as a package.
«Deliver» leaves out, even though it may well beimplied, the preliminary purchase or engagement of these elements, and at theother end it goes very far in suggesting responsibility for getting thepackage unscathed to where it belongs.
Alternatives also may go wrong, slightly, each with its ownimplications.
«Assign» involves legal title; «give» is lame and probably untrue; «transmit» means send.
Thus each word misses some important — detail or impliesunnecessary things.
«Furnish» is sometimes useful when more popular wordsfall 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 Aannexed 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 fromwhat 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 splendidphrases available. Sometimes the grant of particular rights carries with itby implication a duty to exploit them. Authors, for example, often feelbetrayed by their publishes, who have various rights «but do nothing aboutthem.» Royalties decrease as a result; and this situation, whether or notit reflects real criminality, is repeated in variety of industries andcourt cases. Accordingly it well suits the grantee of rights to make clear atthe very beginning that he may abandon them. This possibility is moreappropriately 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 quickphrase helps keep you out of trouble: «The Right but NotObligation». Thus,
«We shall have the Right but Not Obligation to grantsublicenses in Austria»(«But if we fail, we fail»).
Even this magic phrase has its limitations because good faithmay 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 upthe negotiations completely.
«Exclusive» It’s importance in contract English is vast, and its omission creates difficulties in good many informaldrafts. Exclusivity as a contract term means that somebody is -barred fromdealing with others in a specified area. Typically an employment may beexclusive in that the employee may not work for any one else, or a licensemay be exclusive in the sense that no competing licenses will be issued.
Antitrust problems cluster around exclusive arrangements butthey 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 aconsultant is to be engaged solely by one company, or a distributorshipawarded to nobody else except X, then «exclusive» is a word that deserves recitation. «Exclusive Right but Not Obligation» is anexample 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 thatcan be considered better than its short counterparts. Why not just «if»? Because «if» by itself leaves open thepossibility of open contingencies:
«If Baker delivers 1,000 barrels I will buy them» isunclear 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 withthe wrong word. Here then a more elaborate phrase is justified.
«I will buy 1,000 barrels solely on condition that Bakerdelivers them» makes everything clear.
«Subject to» Few contracts can do without thisphrase. Many promises can be made good only if certain things occur. Theright procedure is to spell out these plausible impediments to thedegree that you can reasonably foresee them.
«We will deliver these subject to our receiving adequatesupplies»;
«Our agreement is subject to the laws of Connecticut»;
«Subject to circumstances beyond our control ».
Foreign esoteric words
Every now and then a scholarly phrase becomes accepted inbusiness usage. «Pro rate» and «pari passu» are Latin expressions but concern money. «Pro rata» proves helpful whenpayments are to be in a proportion reflecting earlier formulas in a contract. «Pari passu» is used when several people are paid at thesame level or time out of a common fund. Latin, however, is not the onlysource of foreign phrases in business letters.
«Force majeure» is a French phrase meaningcircumstances beyond one's control.
English itself has plenty of rare words. One example is«eschew»; how many times we see people struggling withnegatives such as «and we agree not to produce (whatever it is) for aperiod of X». The more appropriate phrase would be
«we will eschew production».
But here it should be mentioned that not everyone canunderstand such phrases. Therefore rare words should be used only once in along while. Those who uses them sparingly appears to be reliable.
Some words against passive
Until now the study of writing business letters hasconsisted largely of contract phrases accompanied by brief essaysevaluating their usefulness. The words are only samplings and arepresented mainly to conduce writing business letters in a proper way. It willbe wrong, however, to bring this list to an end without mention of a moregeneral problem that arises in connection with no fixed word pattern at all. Itarises, rather from using too many passives. Such phrases as «The materialwill be delivered»;
«The start date is to be decided»;
«The figures must be approved» are obscure ones leavingunsettled 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 itall unsettled. Passives used in contracts can destroy the wholenegotiations. «You will deliver» is better for it identifies theone who will do delivering. Certainly, «must be approved by us»violates other canons. «We shall have the right but not the obligation toapprove» is less unfortunate. There is no doubt that passives do notsuit business letters, and if they go all the way through without addingsomething like «by you» or «by us» they are intolerable. Once in a long while one may find passives used purposely to leave something unresolved. In those circumstances they will be in class with«negotiate in good faith», which I've examined earlier.
Examiningenglish business letters
Now let's turn to the practical point of writing business letters.They may be divided into official and semi-official. The first kind of lettersis characteristic of those people working in business: an executive, adepartment manager, a salesman, a secretary or a specialist in business and technology. But also many people may want to buy something, toaccept an invitation or to congratulate somebody — this is a kind ofsemi-official letters. The first kind of letters may in turn be subdividedinto such groups as: inquiries, offers, orders, and so on. I am going toexamine this group more carefully looking at the correspondence of Chicagobusinessmen and English manufactures.
MATTHEWS & WILSON
421 Michigan Avenue
Messrs GRANT & CLARKSON
148 Mortimer Street
London WIC 37D
England October 21, 1993
We saw your women's dresses and suits at the London FashionShow held in New York on October 17. The lines you showed for teenagers, the «Swinger» dresses and trouser suits would be most suitable for ourmarket.
Would you kindly send us your quotation for spring and summerclothing that you could supply to us by the end of January next. We wouldrequire 2,000 dresses and suits in each of the sizes 10-14, and 500 in sizes8 and 16. Please quote c.i.f. Chicago prices. Payment is normally made byletter of credit.
Thank you for an early reply.
Very truly yours,
This is undoubtedly an import inquiry letter. In the first part ofa letter there is a kind of introduction as a prospective customer approaches supplier for the first time ,and it is from this part that we found out that the correspondents are engaged in textile industry.
The second part expresses request for detailed informationabout the goods in question, their prices and terms of possible transaction.
In this example we come across the abbreviationconcerning the terms of delivery, that is commonly accepted in the business world. It is interesting to know what this kind of abbreviations means:
c.i.f. — cost, insurance, freight.
If consignment is to be delivered according to c.i.f., thenthe 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 anddispatch; 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 railwaytransportation.
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.
It is worth mentioning here that the whole letter is writtenin a highly polite way, nevertheless it is quite precise and sticks tothe point.
148 Mortimer Street
London W1C 37D
MATTHEWS & WILSON
421 Michigan Avenue
Chicago, III.60602 30th October,1996
We are pleased to make you an offer regarding our ‘Swinger’dresses and trouser suits in the size you require. Nearly all the models yousaw at our fashion show are obtainable, except trouser suits in pink, of whichthe smaller sizes have been sold out. This line is being manufacturedcontinuously, but will only be available again in February, so could bedelivered to you in March.
All other models can be supplied by the middle of January 1997,subject to our receiving your form order by 15th of November. Our c.i.f. pricesare understood to be for sea\land transport to Chicago. If you would prefer thegoods to be sent by air freight, this will be charged extra at cost
Trouser suits sizes 8-16 in white, yellow, red, turquoise, navyblue, 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
You will be receiving price-list, cutting of our materials and acolour chart. These were airmailed to you this morning.
As you can clearly see it we face the second phase of businesscorrespondence - the answering letter. It is very important, because itadjusts the relationships between two partners. It does not onlycharacterise the company, but also advertises it. The purpose of the letteris to persuade the partner that you are the best in business.
This letter contains the quotation in reply to an inquiry.In lots of similar letters the quotations are simply prices and anotherinformation asked for. But this sample is quite the opposite: it shows the customer that he met the sales-cautious businessman, who uses every opportunity to stimulate his correspondents interest in his goods byincluding the sales message. And the assurance that the customer will receive personal attention is read between the lines. In order to draw the attentionof the customer to the products in question the supplier offers «cuttings of our materials and a colour chart». On the whole a firm offer is subject to certain conditions, a deadline for the receipt oforders, or a special price for certain quantities.
A business transaction often starts with an inquiry which maylater be followed by an order.
Both inquiry and order are meant to arose and stimulate businessactivity on the part of recipient. They are typically asking letters. Orders convey the writer's intention to do business with his correspondent, usuallyto buy some goods from them.
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 inplacing an order with you for
1,900 ‘Swinger’ dresses at Price:$38,745
in the colours and sizes specified below:Quantity Size Colour 50 8,16 white 100 10,12,14 white 50 8,16 turquoise 100 10,12,14 turquoise 50 8,16 red 100 10,12,14 red 50 16 yellow 100 10,12,14 yellow 50 16 black 100 10,12,14 black
Delivery: air freight, c.i.f., Chicago
We shall open a letter of credit with your bank as soon as wereceive your order acknowledgement. Please arrange for immediate collection andtransport since we need the dresses for Christmas.
Very truly yours,
It is indisputably an import order, and as we can notice placingorders is simple from the point of view of letter writing. The fact is that usually the purchasing department or the buyer fills in an order form. But in this case the correspondent prefers to write a letter inorder to make certain points quite clear. There are special importregulations which are touched upon in the last paragraph: it is necessary tocomplete formalities and to stress delivery instructions.
It should be mentioned here that the supplier must sendorder acknowledgement as an answer to order promptly to thank his customerfor the order and to confirm it.
If some conditions have changed, the customer must benotified. In the case the goods ordered are no longer available, asubstitute may be offered.
What follows the order acknowledgement is the advice ofdispatch.
148 Mortimer Street
London W1C 37D
MATTHEWS & WILSON
421 Michigan Avenue
Chicago, III.60602 20thNovember,1996
We have pleasure in notifying you that your credit was confirmedby our bank yesterday, 19th November. We have had the 1900 ‘Swinger’ dressescollected today for transport by British Airways to Chicago on 25th November.
Enclosed is our invoice for the goods in question plus the extracharges for air freight, packing list to facilitate customs clearance at yourend, certificate of origin, air waybill and insurance policy.
Hoping that this initial order will lead to further business, weare
The first thing to be done before writing such a letter is toexamine carefully whether the partners account is valid or not. So in thefirst paragraph we come across phrase «your credit was confirmed by ourbank yesterday». Air shipment for «Swinger» dresses is alsomentioned here.
The next paragraph deals with the documents which arenecessary while importing goods: Invoice packing lists, certificate oforigin, air waybill and insurance policy. As it is the initial order by MATTHEWS & WILSON, the GRANT & CLARKSON hopes to encourage them toplace further orders, so their last phrase sounds very polite.
No matter how efficient a business firm tries to be,mistakes will happen. There might be a misunderstanding about the goods to be supplied; sometimes the consignment is dispatched too late or delaysare caused in transit; defect is discovered when the equipment is put intooperation and so on.
Therefore a letter with the complaint expressed is sent.
MATTHEWS & WILSON
421 Michigan Avenue
Chicago, III.60602 November 22, 1996
148 Mortimer Street
London W1C 37D
Thank you for your delivery of ‘Swinger’ dresses which wereordered on November 4. However we wish to draw your attention to two matters.
Of the red dresses supplied one lot of 100(size 12) includedclothes of a lighter red than the other sizes. Since we deliver a collection ofvarious sizes to each store, it would be obvious to customers that the clothesare 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 replacethe whole lot by 100 dresses size 12 in the correct colour.
As far as your charges for air freight are concerned, we agree topay the extra costs which you invoiced. However your costs for packing andinsurance must have been lower for air cargo, and we request you to take thisfact into consideration and to make an adjustment to the invoice amount. Wouldyou please send us a rectified invoice, reduced accordingly.
We look forward to your dealing with these questions withoutdelay.
Very truly yours.
If this kind of letter is sent the customer isunderstandably annoyed, nevertheless there is no reason to write an angryletter of complaint. In the EXAMPLE 5 there are two complaints: the first isabout the «Swinger» dresses colour and the second — about the factthat air freight seems too expensive to MATTHEW & WILSON.
From this letter we see that the results are better for thecorrespondent takes the trouble to explain his complaint clearly and proposesways in which matters can be put right.
Letters that are written in response to claims may be calledadjustments. These letters are among the most difficult to write as they require under all circumstances patience, tact, and diplomacy. You will notlose your customer if you react at his claim promptly.
148 Mortimer Street
London W1C 37D
MATTHEWS & WILSON
421 Michigan Avenue
Chicago, III.60602 2nd December, 1996
The colour of the dresses about which you complain is indeedlighter than it should be. Apparently this was overlooked by controllerresponsible. Please accept our apologies for the oversight.
We are sending you a new lot by air this week, and would ask youto 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 insurancecosts are normally less for cargo sent by air. May we remind you, however, inthis 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, asmost of the dresses were ready for shipment by sea freight (please see ourletter of 9th November). Furthermore, our insurance is on an open policy at aflat 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.
The suppliers show their understanding of situation and expresstheir willingness to adjust it. They say exactly what steps they are going totake, because a disappointed customer cannot be put off with mere apologies — he is entitled to know how the mistake will be remedied. The suppliesconvince their partners that they are really interested in maintaining goodwill. They try to avoid negative statements, and what even worse,accusations; they never forget that it is their customer who keeps themin business.
Even when they write their customers about rejecting theirclaim on air freight, they try to give logical reasons for the refusal.
The conclusion that therefore suggests itself is that writingof business letters is highly complicated science. It is not enough for a good business letter writing to know lexics and grammar, but you shouldcomprehend the whole range of such things as: occasions on which the particularletter is written, the style of letter, useful expressions, and accepted idioms.
There are certain rules which not everybody could learn sincethey have to be felt by correspondents. Letter writing requires longpractice and experience. Those who write letters should always remember, thatwhat makes the letter attractive and therefore promotes one's business is not always the message of the letter, but it is the manner and style in whichthe message is written.
The «golden rule» that must be followed by everybusiness correspondent is that the official letter should be formal,courteous, tactful, concise, expressive, and to the point.
1.WINCOR, RICHARD Contracts in plain English
2.БАССЭ.М. Научная и деловая корреспонденция
3.GOWERS, ERNEST The complete plain words
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