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14.6.2018, , Zdroj: Verlag Dashöfer


Edward Thomas


How diplomatic are you? Beginnings and endings.

The right level of formality is very important when writing to people or sending emails. Look at the sentences below. Below them write F if you think they are formal, I, if you think they are informal, and N, if you think they are neutral.

A) „Dear sir,

Thank you for your enquiry...”

B) „Dear Mr Jones,

I was pleased to receive your request for...”

C) „Dear Thomas,

Delighted to get your questions...”

Correct answers are here1

Which one:

1) Doesn't use the pronoun where it would normally be used?

2) Uses the personal pronoun „I”?

3) Addresses only the sender?

D) „Look forward to hearing more soon,



E) „Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need further information.

Yours sincerely,

Brown associates.”

F) „Feel free to contact me if you need more information.

Best regards,

D. Phillips”

Correct answers are here2

Which ending:

4) uses a negative to express a positive idea?

5) omits a personal pronoun where one should be used?

6) uses a friendly imperative?

Correct answers are here3

Now match the greetings with the endings in the boxes provided

Correct answers are here4


Dear 1) Dr Trevor Phillips,

2) Perhaps you remember me from the time when I was a student in your care in the Department of Sociology at the University of Grantchester, in Wessex? It was in 2001 and I was a foreign exchange student specialising for my Doctorate in the evolution of the concept of culture in the public mind. 3) I wonder if you recall our several long conversations about the place of culture in making a modern society function, creating a sense of belonging etc? As I wrote to you soon afterwards, I very much enjoyed my stay and it added a lot to my academic development.

4) Since that time I have been 5) engaged in field studies among the population of Atlantis - my homeland - about the perception of culture and how it allows people to find a role in their community that goes beyond having a job and helps them to decide how to live - how much money 6) they are to spend, what kind of house 7) they are to live in, what kind of groups to join, etc.

Now 8) my aim is to use the results of those studies to enter into a discussion with the work of your celebrated colleague Mr Anthony Gittens. 9) I intend to publish a book looking at to what extent, contrary to Gittens, 10) the concept of culture can be seen to be strengthened by individual decision-making and choice. 11) Gittens stated that culture must ultimately override choice, but 12) it seems to me the opposite is true - choice must strengthen culture in the end.

13) In order to achieve my goal of publishing this work, a period spent in your special Grantchester environment 14) would be very helpful. I 15) wonder if you could see whether there is any chance of you receiving me as a 16) paying guest? I 17) would also very much welcome the chance to discuss my project 18) with yourself and, if possible, your friend and colleague Mr Gittens.

Atlantis University, where I work, is not very wealthy, but I think 19) we would be delighted to receive 20) a return visit from you. 21) I look forward very much to receiving your reply to this request.

Thank you and best wishes.

Charles Dickens, 22) Senior Lecturer, Atlantis University, Atlantis, Atlantia.

Answer following questions:

1. Is this letter A) formal, B) informal, or C) neutral?

2. Are Charles Dickens and Dr Trevor Phillips A) friends, B) colleagues, or C) acquaintances5?

3. Has Charles Dickens been A) working abroad, B) doing practical research among people in society or C) working in the University?

4. Charles Dickens' book is A) in agreement with Anthony Gittens, B) unrelated to his field work, C) on the same topic as his fieldwork but in disagreement with Gittens.

5. Dickens' would like to come to Grantchester to A) help him in his targets for the book, B) earn some money, C) publish his work.

6. While he is there Dickens' would like to A) earn money, B) argue with Gittens C) discuss his project.

7. Dickens would like to A) have Phillips come on a visit to Atlanta B) visit Phillips personally, C) go to Grantchester several times?

Correct answers are here6


In The Letter we saw a letter of introduction from one person to a person they hadn't seen for quite a long time. It was also a letter of suggestions and requests.

A letter of introduction tells someone about ourselves.

When we make suggestions we offer our ideas about something.

When we make requests we ask for things we want or need.

In such a letter, politeness and precision (accuracy) are equally important.

Look back at the letter and at the underlined phrases.

In the boxes below put Po for polite, Pr, for precision, or PoPr where both are important to the language used.

1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) 9)
10) 11) 12) 13) 14) 15) 16) 17) 18)
19) 20) 21) 22)

Correct answers are here7

Remember that many phrases in such a letter may be used for both politeness and precision, and that the answers on the page below are a guide only. Think about the use of passive structures and „would” - do they create directness or indirectness?

Correct answers are here8


Now look at the sentences below. They give typical examples of letter language, similar to the letter in exercise The Letter. There are some words missing... can you complete the sentences?

1. ………………………. you can recall…

2. I was ………………………. to hear…

3. I ………………………. be happy to receive you as a guest.

4. I can ………………………. you.

5. I very much ………………………..

6. I ………………………. hope.

7. I would be ………………………..

8. It was good to ………………………. from you.

9. I would ………………………. to suggest…

10. I ………………………. if I could/might.

11. It ………………………. be better if …

12. Unfortunately, ………………………. ………………………. some unforeseen circumstances.


glad, would x2, certainly, owing to/due to, hope, happy, perhaps, hear, like, wonder, might, assure

Correct answers are here9


Look at the Letter Below.

Dear Ms Jones,

We were concerned to hear that you believed you purchase of Anderson's Caviar caused your daughter to be unwell.

We regret to say that because the sample which you sent us for testing had been opened for some time it was not considered possible to obtain reliable microbiological results for it. A sample, however, was obtained from the same batch of food and in that case there was no evidence of any food poisoning bacteria.

We would like to give you our assurance that our suppliers of caviar are carefully vetted and that each batch of food is tested by our own quality control unit to establish that it is free of any contamination or harmful bacteria.

We have been informed that there can sometimes be a certain cloudiness in the oil which goes with our caviar, but that this is only the result of refrigeration and not any indication that the product is bad. This advice was sought as part of an investigation into your view that the cloudy liquid which you observed around the caviar was indication of contamination or harmful bacteria. It would seem that this was not the case. We are informed that food poisoning can come from many sources, and that to prove the origins of your daughter's condition would take a complete analysis of what she ate in the 24 hrs before her illness.

With regret therefore we must say that we cannot help you in terms of accepting responsibility for your daughter's illness. We would do so if any evidence of batch contamination had been shown. However, we would like to make a goodwill gesture - we propose that you will receive from us a full case of Anderson's caviar, with a bottle of Bollinger Champagne to wash it down! We value our good name and we are confident in our products. We very much hope that this will compensate you and your daughter for her recent trouble and restore her and your belief in our products.

Yours sincerely,

Amanda Brater,

Personal Assistant to the Sales Director,


True or False

Lux-Ur-Us accepted responsibility for the food poisoning.

The caviar which Ms Jones' daughter ate was tested.

Lux-Ur-Us itself carefully tests all the products it sells.

The food poisoning case was a worry for Lux-Ur-US.

Lux-Ur-Us was sorry that it couldn't agree with Ms Jones' claim.

Lux-Ur-Us was unable to offer any positive response to Ms Jones' claim.

Correct answers are here10


In semi-formal letters like the one in Letter to Ms Jones, the language used can be divided into active and passive. The use of these is very important for politeness and friendliness (active) and also diplomacy (passive) - saying things in

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