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  1. #11
    anupumh's Avatar
    anupumh is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Business Writing Skills

    How do you intonate while writing? Does writing carries these components which are an integral part of spoken english?

  2. #12
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    anupumh is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Business Writing Skills

    How appropriate is the usage of idiomatic language in Business letters and emails? Should it be totally avoided?

  3. #13
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    Default Re: Business Writing Skills

    Quote Originally Posted by anupumh View Post
    How do you intonate while writing? Does writing carries these components which are an integral part of spoken english?
    One's specific choice of words, phrases, and expressions can set a tone in either speaking or writing. Obviously, tone of voice is absent in writing. However, the words themselves could set a tone.

    Email: manager to department employee

    When you get this, come see me in my office. I want to have a word with you. - This says there's trouble. It's serious.

    When you get back from lunch, please, come see me in my office. - This is neutral.

    More examples of how to set a tone are derived from the students' written communication and only becomes a lesson topic if it needs to be a lesson topic. Maybe it's relevant, and maybe it's not.

    Providing more examples here, I think, would become somewhat of a lesson. But that example illustrates the point, and, I hope, helps answer your question.

  4. #14
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    Default Re: Business Writing Skills

    Quote Originally Posted by anupumh View Post
    How appropriate is the usage of idiomatic language in Business letters and emails? Should it be totally avoided?
    Language is unpredictable, and native speakers don't think about the appropriateness of their expressions to an extreme. Of course, people are aware that words set a tone, but it mostly comes naturally in one's first language. Or one might find oneself editing one's own writing in order to more effectively communicate what one needs to communicate.

    There's no restirction on using "idiomatic language" in business writing. However, I'm looking at a book at the moment called "Speak Business English Like an American". This is a book of idiomatic expressions that people use in business contexts. This sort of language is mostly meant for spoken communication, though I imagine some of these expressions are also used by journalists who report business news.

    There may be expressions that we can call "idiomatic language" because they don't tranlsate well, or don't translate at all, to one's first language. A complete rephrasing could be necessary for some translations.

    It's not inappropriate to use idiomatic expressions or phrasal verbs in business writing. However, one must be aware of the tone one is setting with any such expression. Generally speaking, I think we'll find that in most business communication, idiomatic expressions are not used. But to say they're never used and it's wrong to do so would not be accurate. Regard each communication, context, circumstance, and situation individually. It's hard to make generalizations across the board. In formal communication, one would not expect to read idiomatic expressions or other such informal manners of communication. This is true. However, as I said, language is unpredictable, and if CEOs or executives want to throw in something that's an idiomatic expression or something "informal" in a company-wide formal communication, they're going to do it, native speaker or not. They won't think about what their book on business writing says.

    Just the same, to answer your question more directly, I would say if it's important maintain a formal tone, don't use idiomatic expressions because they often sound informal - and are informal. That's the general guide regarding idiomatic expressions that I would give to ESL speakers who need to make sure their written business communication is as sharp and professional as can be.

  5. #15
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    Default Re: Business Writing Skills

    Quote Originally Posted by anupumh View Post
    How appropriate is the usage of idiomatic language in Business letters and emails? Should it be totally avoided?
    Questions:

    What's the purpose of the email?
    Who's going to read it?
    Has there been a rapport established between the writer and the reader?
    What is the relationship of the writer and the reader?
    Is it an internal email?
    Is it an external email?
    Is it to a vendor?
    Is it to a client?
    Is formality important?
    Maybe just keep it neutral. Not everything has to be "business formal" even in business.

    One may or may not use idiomatic expressions depending on how all these questions can be answered. The big question, or the big word I should say, is this: Register. It comes naturally for most people in their first language, but not in one's second language. Though one can certainly learn to communicate by adjusting register in different situations. This is beyond grammar and regular ESL classes and lessons. Register is adjusted by how relaxed or casual our pronunciation is and by our choice of grammatical expression, and of course by the specific way in which we choose to say something: words, grammar, and pronunciation combined. This, as well, comes quite naturally to native speakers of English. Sometimes Presidents sound sharp and use articulate professional - or academic - language to an extreme, and other times they sound more to the opposite extreme (but never completely to "the extreme" . It depends on the occasion and the purpose of the speaking or the speech. Many American politicians in national politics adjust their language this way. Business people do it as well. Most Presidents do so, and if a candidate for President can't or does not want to, it could cost him votes - John Kerry. It's not smart to sound "too smart" or too formal - or too intellectual all the time.
    Last edited by PROESL; 23-Sep-2009 at 02:35.

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    Default Re: Business Writing Skills

    Quote Originally Posted by anupumh View Post
    While teaching Business Writing Skills, what is that you will teach or cover? Which elements of english will you focus on?
    Well, not to be picky or critical, but I would say that native speakers of English, especially in business, will notice immediately that the first letter of a word is not capitalized when it should be. That's basic, but it's important for business writing. Use correct capitalization.

  7. #17
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    Default Re: Business Writing Skills

    Quote Originally Posted by anupumh View Post
    While teaching Business Writing Skills, what is that you will teach or cover? Which elements of english will you focus on?
    An important thing to point out here is that if ESL speakers have jobs in which they have to write for business purposes, most of their writing is not bad to an extreme, meaning there are not any serious errors and there may only be one or two short passages here and there that are difficult to understand - if there are any at all. Sometimes there are.

    They wouldn't have the job in the first place if their writing were that bad - bad to an extreme in any way. It's a question of correcting, revising, and editing. That's where the lessons come from: the student texts - the classroom texts and homework texts the students produce. Sometimes you find specific grammar items you can identify such as causatives. I happen to remember one student used "to" after causative "have". So I explained that it was wrong to use "to" after "have" in that particular sentence and explained why. I saw the same mistake again in another piece of writing - another email. So I explained the same thing again. With some good fortune, he'll stop making that mistake. He's likely made the same mistake in spoken language. So much for the "acquisition theorists". One must learn and study. Acquistiion is possible, but it's not to be depended upon as the sole instrument to the realization of using correct language in the learning of a foreign language. It's one instrument, but not the only one.

  8. #18
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    Default Re: Business Writing Skills

    Proposals

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