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E-mail writing - Part 2

E-mail writing - Part 2

Monday, May 02, 2011, 09:00 GMT+7

Level: Pre-intermediate and above

Brief description:

This unit is designed to introduce the 4 important aspects of a good business email a beginning writer needs to consider.

The 4 Cs in writing a business email are:

• Be Clear

• Be Concise

• Be Courteous

• Be Correct

What exactly do these mean? Do this simple exercise of sorting the following phrases as characteristics of a clear, concise, courteous and correct email.

be specific: use people’s names, dates, times etc.

be polite

check your spelling

cut out unnecessary information

avoid the passive voice and complicated structures

be positive

avoid jargon

use short sentences

be personal

check your punctuation

check your grammar

avoid old-fashioned language

There are 3 characteristics for every heading, so read and understand carefully.

Be Clear

Be Concise

Be Courteous

Be Correct

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KEY CONCEPT: This lesson is designed for you to be informed of the 4 basic considerations in writing a business letter or email and see where you need to improve.

Accuracy in writing: Which grammar mistakes do you often make?

Purposes in writing: Does the email aim to inform or instruct a group of people, or to react to or clarify given information?

An inconsistent writer: When people read your letter or email, what things do they usually comment on?

Conventions in writing: Do people easily understand the words or expressions you use in your email or letter?

Style in writing: Do you often write letters or emails for work or to friends and acquaintances?

Let’s begin the adventure!

Because writing a business letter or email is expressing one’s thoughts on paper to another person, one has to carefully choose the words to use and clearly present these ideas.

In oral communication, people understand each other not just by the words they say but also through gestures, tone of voice and body language, among other things.

Writing is different. The words define what we say; grammar, punctuation and spelling deliver the message; and the ‘tone’ or politeness describes how we say it.

Be Clear

Be Concise

Be Courteous

Be Correct

be specific: use people’s names, dates, times etc.

cut out unnecessary information

 

be polite

 

check your spelling

 

avoid jargon

use short sentences

be personal

check your punctuation

avoid old-fashioned language

avoid the passive voice and complicated structures

be positive

check your grammar

Follow these simple guidelines in keeping your letter or email clear, concise, courteous and correct every single time. In the next lessons, we will look at how specifically we can make our ideas on paper follow the 4Cs of writing. Glossary:

• Aspect (noun): the nature, quality or character of something or someone (Đặc tính)

• Concise (adjective): expressed in clear but short words (Mạch lạc, súc tích)

• Courteous (adjective): polite toward others (Lịch sự)

• Jargon (noun): language, especially vocabulary specific to a profession, group or event (Thuật ngữ)

• Punctuation (noun): a mark or symbol used to organize phrases, clauses and sentences in the written form (Dấu chấm câu)

• Old-fashioned (adjective): not new or modern (Lỗi thời)

• Characteristics (noun, pl.): the quality or qualities that describe a person or thing (Đặc điểm)

Writing Practice:

Read the following sentences. Decide what is wrong with them (not clear, not concise, not courteous or not correct). Then rewrite the sentences correctly. Compare your rewritten sentences with a partner if possible.

1. It has come to our attention that staffs are not always correctly dressed. ____________________________________________________________________________

2. I enclose the English copy of the covering letter and the Chinese and English copies of the application form for your review and comments. ____________________________________________________________________________

3. When you arrive you must go straight to the reception desk immediately otherwise you cannot be registered in the programme. ____________________________________________________________________________

4. Sometimes people do not complete the relevant forms correctly. ___________________________________________________________________________

5. We look forward to hearing from you two weeks later. ____________________________________________________________________________

6. Please be advised that the programme will be launched onto the market later in mid-August this year. ____________________________________________________________________________

7. I will contact you on a later date in this connection. ____________________________________________________________________________

WELL- DONE! You have fulfilled another mission in the adventure to master Business English. See you in the next lesson.

Answers

1. NOT CORRECT

It has come to our attention that staffs are not always correctly dressed.

• Here we have a common problem with countable and uncountable nouns. Let’s see if this is something that you need help with.

2. NOT COURTEOUS, NOT CLEAR

I enclose the English copy of the covering letter and the Chinese and English copies of the application form for your review and comments.

Suggested answer: I would appreciate your comments on the revised covering letter (English) and the application forms (English and Chinese).

3. NOT CONCISE, NOT COURTEOUS

When you arrive you must go straight to the reception desk immediately otherwise you cannot be registered in the programme.

• The language here is very strong and powerful using words like ‘must’ and ‘cannot’.

Suggested answer: Please register at reception as soon as you arrive.

4. NOT CLEAR

Sometimes people do not complete the relevant forms correctly.

Suggested answer: Sometimes tourists do not fill in the necessary arrival forms correctly.

5. NOT CORRECT

We look forward to hearing from you two weeks later.

Suggested answer: We look forward to hearing from you in two weeks’ time.

6. NOT CLEAR

Please be advised that the programme will be launched onto the market later in mid-August this year.

Suggested answer: The study programme will be launched onto the market on August 26 this year.

7. NOT CLEAR, NOT CORRECT, NOT COURTEOUS

I will contact you on a later date in this connection.

Suggested answer: I will contact you on Monday 23 to discuss the contract further.This material is provided by the Australian Centre for Education and Training (ACET).

Tuoitrenews

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