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  1. #1
    ziawj2 is offline Member
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    tone-tentative and polite

    I think the tone of the message 1 is quite tentative and polite and I don't think we often write a message to teachers like this. I rewrote the message, and could you tell me which tone is often used in authentic samples written in real-life contexts, the first one or the second one? And could you help me create appropriate tone for the message? Thank you!
    1. Dear Professor Stone,
    I have called several times to ask for a favor but have been unable to find you at your office. I was wondering if I could borrow your DVD player--to watch the movie Skokie you told us about in class. If it is possible, will you please contact me at the EI Camino Hall in Room 402? Thanks.
    Sara Ho
    2. Dear Prof. Stone,
    I called you several times but cannot find you at your office. I would like to borrow your DVD player--to watch the movie Skokie you told us about in class. Could you contact me ath the EI Camino Hall in Room 402? Thanks.
    Sara Ho

  2. #2
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    SlickVic9000 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: tone-tentative and polite

    (Not a Teacher)

    This my personal take on it. The first sentence sounds better as the second. Also, I would try to avoid putting any sort of emphasis on being unable to get a hold of him. It can easily sound like your exasperated by the man's chronic unavailability, which will come across as a bit rude.
    "Professor Stone:
    I was wondering if I could borrow your DVD player to watch the movie you mentioned in class, 'Skokie'.
    I've tried to get a hold of you at your office a few times, but with no luck.
    You can find me at the El Camino building, Rm. 402. Much appreciated, thanks.

  3. #3
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is offline Moderator
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    Re: tone-tentative and polite

    And in my opinion the rewrite is too pushe and assumes too much. I agree with Vic on sounding annoyed about the lack of contact. I'd use something close to his first two sentences but the ending of the original. I emphasized opinion because there isn't a right or wrong answer.
    Last edited by Barb_D; 10-Sep-2012 at 14:21.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. #4
    ziawj2 is offline Member
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    Re: tone-tentative and polite

    get a hold of sb.

  5. #5
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    Re: tone-tentative and polite

    Quote Originally Posted by ziawj2 View Post
    get a hold of sb.
    Sorry, but I disagree with your apparent assertion that this is wrong, and so do these sources:
    get a hold of | definition by Idiom Quest
    Get a hold of Synonyms, Get a hold of Antonyms | Thesaurus.com
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  6. #6
    ziawj2 is offline Member
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    Re: tone-tentative and polite

    I looked up the phrase "get hold of sb." in Collins COBUILD ADVANCED DICTIONARY OF English, and looked up it in LONGMAN Dictionary of Contemporary English, it explains "get hold of somebody also get a hold of somebody American English".

  7. #7
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Re: tone-tentative and polite

    Then you should have known that it did not need to be "corrected."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  8. #8
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: tone-tentative and polite

    Quote Originally Posted by ziawj2 View Post
    I looked up the phrase "get hold of sb." in Collins COBUILD ADVANCED DICTIONARY OF English, and looked up it in LONGMAN Dictionary of Contemporary English, it explains "get hold of somebody also get a hold of somebody American English".
    That means that get a hold of is fine in AmE. We don't use it in BrE.

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