Letter or Email

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Letters are used for those situations where the writer
wants to make a good impression or where the correct
choice of words is important (eg for a first contact with a
possible new customer or for making a complaint).        The
style is careful and polite and there is much use of
standard expressions.

Faxes are used for some day-to-day communication,
particularly to transmit copies of documents that are not in
electronic form.    The style is intermediate and depends
on who will read it. Informal, direct language can be
mixed with some longer, standard expressions.

Memos are used mostly for interoffice communication.
The key characteristic of memos is that they are “short and
sweet”. In a memo the writer is expected to get to the
point right away.    Like emails, the style is informal and

Emails are used in routine day-to-day communication
where the choice of words is not so important. The
subject title is important to help the reader find it in the files
later. The style is informal and very direct. The content
is very short as only the basic information is mentioned.

Business Letters-1
Most business letters contain the following:
1. The date
2. The receiver’s address
3. Dear Mr. Smith
4. Referring to previous correspondence
5. The reason for writing
6. Giving information
7. Reference to action taken or needed
8. Referring to future contact
9. Yours sincerely / Yours truly
                                       EXECUTIVE TRAINING VIDEOS
                                             1048 Wiltshire Avenue
                                                   San Diego
                                                California 92107
Your Ref: BE/HT
Our Ref:    MS/IP

12 June 1999

Ms. E J Harding
Johnson Engineering
Offley Industrial Park
Birmingham B9 6HL

Dear Ms. Harding


Thank you for your letter of 3 June enquiring about our range of training videos.

Unfortunately the video you require is temporarily out of stock, but we are expecting some more in the near
future. I will contact you again as soon as they arrive.

You may be interested in other items from our product range, and I am enclosing our latest brochure and price

Thank you for your interest in our training videos and please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any
further questions.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours sincerely

               Robert Kapferer

Robert Kapferer
Sales Manager

Enc.    Current brochure and price list.
To: Peter Wang
Fax: (02) 2809-5555
Company: China Petroleum Corp.
From: Scott Hovater
Company: Business English - USA
Subject: Understanding faxes
Date: June 8, 2004
Pages: one___________________________________
Dear Peter

As I mentioned, faxes are used for day-to-day communication, particularly to transmit copies of
documents that are not in electronic form.    The style is intermediate and depends on who will read it.
Informal, direct language can be mixed with some longer, standard expressions.

 One difficulty with faxes is sending confidential information.   If you only want the receiver to read the
 information, it would be better to send a letter or an email instead of a fax.


 Scott Hovater

 Scott Hovater (Mr.)
 Business English Teacher
To:   Mr. Kuan-yu Liang

From:      Mr. Scott He

Date: June 8, 2004

Subject:     Room reservation for Susan Lo

CC: Mr. Tan-jenWu

Please reserve a single room for Susan Lo.

She will be arriving in Taipei on August 28 and

staying at the Formosa Star for four nights.

If you are unable to make the reservation,

please let me know before July 2.            Thanks.
 salutation (信函開頭的)稱呼語[C];敬稱 complimentary close 信末敬辭

Dear Sir
Dear Sirs           --------------------->   Yours faithfully
Dear Madam
Dear Sir or Madam

Dear Mr. Murphy
Dear Sam        --------------------->       Yours sincerely
Dear Mr. Smith
Dear Carol

Points to remember
Many of these points apply to faxes and emails as well.
1 The layout and presentation of your letter are important
as they give the recipient the first impression of your
company's efficiency.
2 Write both the sender's and the recipient's address in as
much detail as possible and in the correct order.
3 Make sure you use the recipient's correct title in the
address and salutation (信函開頭的)稱呼語. If in doubt as to
whether a woman is single or married,use Ms.
4 Do not write the month of the date in figures.
5 Choose the correct salutation and complimentary close:
Dear Sir/Madam with Yours faithfully.
Dear Mr/ Ms Smith with Yours sincerely
6 Make sure your references are correct.
7 Make sure your signature block tells your reader what he
or she needs to know about you.

1 Fax is an open system, so it should not be used for
confidential correspondence.
2 Write clearly when sending handwritten messages.
3 Faxes are copies, and cannot be used when original
documents are required.
4 Prepare your transmission carefully before you send it.
5 In general, the language of faxes is much like that of
letters, although faxes can be briefer and more direct, like
email messages.


1 Email is very fast and effective, but there are areas
where it is preferable to use letters, e.g.personal,
confidential, or legal correspondence.
2 Email addresses usually give the name of the person or
department, then the @ (at) symbol, followed by the name
of the company or institution, and finally the domain
names, which indicate the type of organization and the
country from which the message was sent.
3 The language of emails can be quite informal, but if you
do not know the recipient well, it is better to keep to the
usual writing conventions. You can become more informal
as you establish a working relationship.
4 It is possible to use special abbreviations, e.g.
TLAs   (three letter acronym) and   emoticons, but do not confuse
your recipient by using abbreviations he or she may not
know or understand.

Business Letters: True or False?-1
1. At the top of the letter the order is: reference,
receiver’s address, date F
2. Today is 12 June 1998.                 In Europe you write
12/06/98 and in the USA you write 06/12/98. T
3. It is normal to write Mr. J. Smith in the first line
of the receiver’s address, and underneath to write
Dear Mr. Smith without the initial. T
4. The subject heading usually comes before
Dear Mr. Smith. F
5. In modern business letters Dear Mr. Smith and
Yours sincerely are followed by a comma. F
6. When you address (talk to) a person by name
(Dear Mr. Smith), you close with Yours sincerely.
When you don’t know the person’s name (Dear
Sir/Madam), you close with Yours faithfully. T

7. American letters often close withSincerely

or Yours truly.       T

8. These days many women prefer to be

known as Ms. rather than Miss or Mrs. T

9. Formal language is often used in modern

business letters to show respect. F

cc=copy carbon
cc=carbon copy 複寫副本

Types of Email Correspondence
Simple messages – short emails where

communication is centered around one or two

simple ideas

     Specific questions – ideal for situations

      where the writer has to respond to a

      number of points in the email.

     Writing about a particular topic – used

      when you want to respond to topics, not

      specific questions

Letter or Email?-1
Write letter (L) or email (E) next to each:

1. Longer sentences
2. Shorter sentences

3. Much use of abbreviations

4. Less use of abbreviations

Write letter (L) or email (E) next to each:

4. Ideas presented politely and carefully

5. Ideas presented simply and directly

6. Much use of standard expressions

7. Less use of standard expressions

Comparing Formal and Informal Language Use

Style is very important. Emails, memos and sometimes

faxes can be written in an informal style (simple and direct).

Letters are usually written more formally (using standard

expressions in a polite and careful way).

     Some words in English are considered formal and

      some informal.
     get/obtain

     Thanks/Thank you

     I’ll/I will

     job/occupation
      about/with reference to

      tell/inform

      need/require

      ask/enquire

      send/transmit

      call/telephone

      enough/sufficient

      because/due to the fact that

      go back/return

      now/at the present time

Matching (Informal & Formal
Informal Language

  1.   Thanks for your letter.

  2.   I’ve just seen your ad in …

  3.   Can you tell me about …?

  4.   because

Formal Language

  a)   I am writing with reference to the advertisement in …

  b)   due to the fact that
  c)   Thank you for your letter dated 14 March

  d)   I would be grateful if you could send me some information

       about …

Informal Language

  5.   Sorry, I can’t make the meeting.

  6.   Here are …

  7.   Just send the stuff back. We’ll pay.

  8.   What exactly do

       you need?

Formal Language

  e)   Please return the goods at our expense.

  f)   I am afraid I will not be able to attend the meeting.

  g)   Please find enclosed …

  h)   Please let me know your exact requirements.

Rewriting Sentences #1
Can you send us something about what your company

       (email) Please send some information about your

        product range.

       (letter) We would be grateful for some information

        about your product range.

See you in Kaoshiung next month!

       (email) I look forward to seeing you in Kaoshiung next


       (letter) Same as the email sentence

I have some bad news.          I’m afraid your order is going to

be late.

       (email) I am very sorry but your order is going to be


       (letter) We regret to inform you that your order is

        going to be delayed.

Thanks for your letter of March 12 asking about what we


       (email) Thanks for your email of March 12 asking

        about our products.
     (letter) Thank you for your letter dated March 12

      enquiring about our products.

     Spoken English
Thanks for your letter – sorry I didn’t get in touch until
now. Well, about your problem with the machine – it’s
not our fault. You obviously didn’t follow the
instructions – that’s why it’s broken.
You want to claim for it under your guarantee?       No
way! Don’t you remember – you didn’t renew your
maintenance contract last year.
Anyway, someone from our Service Department will
contact you some time to talk about when our
engineers are coming.
   I’ll be here if you want a chat.

Informal Written (Email)-1
Thanks for your email.     Sorry I took so long to reply.
I’m afraid we cannot accept responsibility for the
problems with your machine.       It appears that you
didn’t follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
We have checked our files and they show that you didn’t

renew your maintenance contract last year.               Unfortunately

this means that you won’t be able to claim for this repair.              Our

Service Department will contact you soon to arrange a time for

our engineers to visit.

    Please get in touch again if you need more information.

Formal Written (Letter)-1
Thank you for your last letter and I apologize for taking so

long to reply.      With reference to the problems you have

been having with your machine, I am afraid that we are

unable to accept responsibility. It appears from your

description that the manufacturer’s instructions were not

followed, and this must be the reason for the fault.
We have checked our files and note that you did not renew your

maintenance contract last year.     Your guarantee has therefore expired

and it will not be possible for you to claim for this repair under the

     Our Service Department will contact you soon to arrange a suitable

time for our engineers to visit.

     Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further


Business Documents
What’s the difference between an enquiry and an order?

        What’s the difference between an invoice and a


        Who writes these documents? The customer or the


Document Types
1.   an enquiry

2.   a quotation

3.   an estimate

4.   a counter-proposal

5.   an order
6.    an invoice

7.    a reminder

8.    a receipt

9.    a statement

10.   a complaint

a) A request to supply goods (sent by the customer)--       an


11.   b) A request for information (sent by the customer)-- an


c) An approximate calculation of the cost of something--

an estimate

d) The price given for goods or work done-- a quotation

e) A letter where the customer tries to get better terms-- a


f) A document that proves you have paid for some goods--

a receipt

g) A list of amounts paid and still owed, sent every month--

a statement

h) A bill for goods sent or work done-- an invoice 發貨單
i) A letter to a customer about an unpaid invoice-- a


j) A letter saying you are not satisfied about something-- a


Sequence of Documents
Customer sends

  1.   Enquiry

  3.   Request for a quotation

  5.   Counter-proposal

  7.   Order sent

Supplier sends

  2.   Reply to enquiry

  4.   Quotation

  6.   Reply to a counter-proposal

Sequence of Documents

(After Order was Sent)
Customer sends

  9.   A problem occurs, so a complaint is sent
  12.   Payment sent

   Customer starts to place regular orders

  15.   Further payments

Supplier sends

  8.    Invoice

  10.   Reply to the complaint

   The problem is solved

  11.   Reminder

  13.   Receipt

  14.   Statement

In which document would you find the

following sentences?-1
1) I am afraid your minimum quantity is too high for our first

order.     Please let us know if you are able to reduce this. --


2) When we opened the package we noticed that some of

the goods were damaged.-- a complaint
3) We saw your advertisement in the newspaper.      We are

interested in …an enquiry

4) Thank you for your letter of 21 April asking about ….

We are pleased to enclose our current brochure and price

list.-- Reply to enquiry

5) We apologize for sending the wrong parts. This was

due to a computer error.--Reply to a complaint

6) We note from our records that your account for the first

quarter 付款的季度 is still not paid.   We hope to receive

payment of this account as soon as possible. --a reminder

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