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25.01.18 - The myths about business correspondence
25.01.2018, 23:01

The myths about business correspondence.

1) A good business letter must produce a business impression by sending signals of formality such as
business clichés.
Many people mix up business jargon with business style. To be business-like they
overload their letters with such clichés as:

  • As per your request, please find enclosed herewith a check in the amount of $I7.
    (Cогласно Вашей просьбе к настоящему письму прилагается чек на сумму $17.)

Such expressions as herewith and as per make an irrevocable damage: they obscure information and
inevitably slow down its reception. Think about the recipient! It would be much better to write:

  • As you requested, I am enclosing a check for $17.
    (По Вашей просьбе прилагаю чек на $17.)

The paradox about business letters is that the less business formulas are used the better [Гуринович, 2003].

“The myth about business correspondence is that it must be formal, standardized and often terse. The
writer seems to transform him/herself from the personal to the institutional. Letters appear to be written
from one “institution” to another rather than from person to person. This does nothing more than create
ineffective communication.
It is important to develop a good writing style that not only reflects good
grammar and sentence structure, but also gives the reader some insight into the personality of the writer.
It is just as important, however, to be able to express yourself in clear, concise language so the reader
knows exactly why you are writing”.

2) A business format of the letter is crucial to efficient business communication.

“Good writing is not about formats, commas, or even specific words. At rock bottom, the issue of writing
well - at least in the business world- is about time: 1. the time it takes you to write something; 2. the time

it takes others to read and understand it. The two are directly related: the less time you put into your
writing, the more time others will have to put into understanding it” [Marty Stuckey. The Basics of
Business Writing].

Everyone is interested in the “bottom line”: the point you are making about a
situation or problem and how they should respond.

3) Grammar, style and spelling are crucial to efficient business communication.

They are helpful, but not crucial. “Once you begin to think of a letter as a piece of literary work its charm
vanishes…” [Kathleen Baron. Good English: 155]

Paraphrazing K. Baron, honesty and simplicity comprise the essence of good business letter writing. This
strategy finds its expression in simplicity and appropriateness.

4) A business letter must clearly express yourself.

“Your business in a letter is not only to express yourself but to express your relationship to the person to
whom you are writing. Let not they say to you as Queen Victoria said to Mr. Gladstone: “He addresses
me as if were a public meeting!”[Kathleen Baron Good English: 156]

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