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  1. #1

    letter

    Hi,

    I am wondering if there is in English a word/phrase describing in very general terms and in formal language a piece of writing which has its purpose, but not always specifies the addressee or sender (and does not asssume in advance its character as in a note, memo, report, writ, writing[s], missive, epistle, application, motion, reply, correspondence, dispatch etc.)

    I know you will tell me: "letter", but in my mind it has too strong personal connotations. In Polish, we have a word "pismo[a]" as the wider and more neutral term than "list" ("letter[s]").

    Thanks
    Ewelina

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    #2

    Re: letter

    Hi, Ewelina,

    Witam i pozdrawiam!...

    An interesting question, I've pondered that problem many times. A word being a very close equivalent of the Polish 'pismo', even though not exactly meeting your very detailed definition ( ) is 'correspondence' used as a broad, general term in similar contexts. For example

    "...in our most recent correspondence we pointed out that..."

    See what I mean? It works for a posted letter, fax, even e-mail...

    In some specific contexts the word 'message' can also be used.

    Hope the above helps a little bit, at least.

    All the best,
    Tomasz

  2. #3

    Re: letter

    Dzięki, Tomasz. I can feel you share my pain.

    Alas, "correspondence" and "letter" still bother me. By using it you may involuntarily suggest that you are expecting an answer. It is not as neutral as I need. It equals the whole situation of preparing and/or amending a piece of writing with its eventual sending and receiving a response. You won't define or bill (billable hours) the fact of the preparation of a draft application to the court as "preparing correspondence", will you?

    Also, there are some kinds of "letters" that won't give you any answer from the addressee (vide: the reply to the appeal, supplementary or explanatory [letter?] to the motion?).

    Also, a note, a memorandum or a writ have their own respective, rather defined meanings. And you know, being yourself a lawyer, how "indefinable" some legal issues put on paper are.

    I like "writing" best: ...I also participated in drafting a further writing to the Ministry of Justice regarding... But as far as I know it should be used in plural f.i. ...the selected writings of Edgar Allan Poe... I'll have to take a moment to think through the word "missive".

    Pozdrawiam, Ewelina

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    #4

    Re: letter

    Papers???

  3. #5

    Re: letter

    He he. That's a good one. Brings the Pentagon Papers or X Files on one's mind.

    Don't you like "writing" in singular, Tdol?

    Ewelina

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    #6

    Re: letter

    'Writing' has literary associations to me, so unless you're sending the Pentagon a poem, I would avoid it.

  4. #7

    Re: letter

    I'll keep that in mind, Tdol. Many thanks

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    #8

    Thumbs up Cześć

    Cześć Tomasz i Ewelina, miło zobaczyć polskie słowa w tym miejscu. Tdol, how do you feel involved in Polish-English discussion? There are some words that are really hard to translate to English, and a language without them seems to be poorer! Like "pismo," which Ewelina has pointed out. Indeed, this word is quite often used in Polish, so we try to look for its translation. And - ups! - we do fail!
    Best wishes (actually - from Canada),
    Nyggus

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