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By John Greenland

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Example text

Many people would know a P45; few could quote the words that describe it. There are times when we should not tolerate jargon. The water company official who wrote to a consumer:“The peak often reaches 150% of demand” should have been turned off like the water he was trying to save. * * More explanatory language should serve. But it can be good communication to use the client’s jargon. Every accountant in the land 50 Business Letters that Work would describe a certain record as the purchase ledger.

Be guided by the aim of the letter. An accountant writing to the Inland Revenue would adopt a formal style: he writes to an institution on a technical matter and not 40 Business Letters that Work normally to a named reader. The same accountant writing on a similar matter to an individual client is likely to adopt a more personal style. Formality appears in words like: advise, inform, notify, claim, state, learn, note, regret, trust. Conversational English produces more familiar wording: suggest, let you know, say, write, hear, understand, ask, hope.

The problem is in regular repetition that suggests the words are determined routinely with 44 Business Letters that Work little thought for the reader. Clichés are most prevalent where writers find it hard to express themselves, such as at the beginning or end of a letter. Does their difficulty result from the abundance of clichés? The beginning of a letter identifies your reason for writing. You may need to acknowledge or refer, to thank or request. You do this best in your own words. * In the explanatory part of the letter wordy phrases can take over: Due to the fact that .

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Business Letters That Work by John Greenland

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