Keywords: english business letter, business letter correspondence


Stylistics is a systematic and marginal subject which studies the people of literature, innate character and its discipline. British business letter is a specific type of writing, and it is a comprehensive subject that combines English writing and international business practice, the main function from it is transmit information. This information is going to apply the theories of stylistic to the examination of English business letter from the view of stylistic, and evaluate stylistic features in language feature, textual framework features and grammatical features, and it creates many cases to show them to be respectively. In the view of linguistic characteristics, the British business correspondence has to follow “7Cs” theory; from the view of content material, the standardized structure and complete outline, furthermore normative format, strong logic, clear thought, and exact structure are the characteristics of text message buildings; from the view of grammar, complex structure of phrase is an important syntactic attribute of business correspondence. Furthermore, this article is to propose how to follow these features in British business letter writing as well. At last, it makes the estimated effect and research potential customer of studying stylistic to incorporate with business letter.

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Key words:

Stylistics, English Business Correspondence, kind of writing, terms features, textual features, vocabulary features

Introduction of Stylistics

Stylistics is a organized and marginal subject matter which studies the character types of books, innate character and its discipline. It really is a subject that falls between linguistics, fine art theory, esthetics and mindset, it is a topic that is in the view of linguistics to interpret the objectives of books and writing styles as well. Actually, it offers a long record in studying of linguistics at home and abroad. The study of modern western Stylistic can date back to the analysis of rhetoric in early Greece and traditional Rome. In a long period before twentieth century, the dialogue about the varieties of stylistics was limited in the subjective impression, and it was analyzed in rhetoric, literature and the research of grammar, so that it didn’t have its status in the area of researching. Until the start of twentieth century, after adapting the present day words method, the style research started break away from the limit of traditional analysis which predicated on intuition, and systemized and became scientific gradually. The Western european historical linguistic and normal linguistic became influential unbiased subjects initially of twenties century, and integrating with linguistic, stylistics became a inter self-control which had unbiased position as well.

Stylistics was initial known as books criticism in China. But with the development of linguistics, people started to know the chemical of stylistics, and attempted to use relevant theories to inspecting stylistics, so that it could promote the rapid development of stylistics. To the time of twenty-first century, ” Liu Shi Sheng who derived Stylistic from style, stylistics, functional stylistics, textual stylistics and cultural cultural stylistics which predicated on Carter’s perspective, and its rationale is based on Foucouh’s point of view that the data and belief of individuals owns the top features of public symbols(Chen, 2003:4)”, it further advertised the introduction of Stylistic in China.

Stylistic is in the stage of development and improvement currently, yet there will vary point of views about the definition of stylistic and the knowledge of its meanings among literates. “Stylistic has widened meaning and narrowed so this means: the narrowed one means literary style, as the widened one means vocabulary types of literary style (Qin, 2001:2)”. Therefore, increasingly more scholars review and check out it in the region of theories and practices extensively and massively. A amounts of the scholars even apply the ideas of stylistic to analyze business writing, which promote the quick development of studying in this area.

2. An Overview of English Business Letters

In today’s highly developed and competitive culture, communication between individuals and communities is becoming increasingly more important. And it serves to pass on information, to express ideas and to exchange their own thoughts as well. Generally speaking, business letters performs an important role in various trading businesses, which is the basic principle means utilized by a business company to keep in touch with its customers. Business letter usually is a formal written style that for exterior connections, such as inter-organizations, among organizations and their clients, and it is utilized for business interconnection such as getting or conveying business information, business negotiation such as making or accepting an offer etc.

2. 1 THIS IS and Classification of Business Letters

“Hutchinson &Waters and Halliday stressed that business letter belonged to the branch of professional British, it was the common term of British Language Variety adapted by business trade members in business activities, and the utilization of English running a business ways. Robinson used last but not least the characteristics of business English in such ways: (1) content-based; (2) goal-directed; (3) needs analysis; (4) time pressure. (Zhou, 2010:4)”

Very often, words are a company’s only connection with a customer, and through letters, the receivers form an impression of the company. In today’s era of information, however, people makes phone calls rather than writing letters for the purpose of communication. The speedy development of telecommunication seems to have decreased the value of letters. Nevertheless, in this age of electronic digital communication, the business letter not only retains its importance on consideration, but is re-born by means of e-mail and fax.

The purposes of business correspondence are building and keeping method of trading, promoting business assistance, maintaining good business relationship, and the expression of business correspondence will effect the economic benefit of the company.

Thus, business letters may be thought as a mass media or means by which views are indicated and ideas or information is communicated in the process of business activities

Business letters can be grouped in such ways as follows:

First, business characters can be categorised according to the content of the letter such as get letters, promise and adjustment words, reply words, credit and collection characters, sales letters and so on.

Second, classification can seem according to different functions in the process of a business communication. You will find letters for establishment of business relations, enquiry letters, quotation letters, placing your order letters, payment words, shipment and insurance words, claim characters, etc.

Thirdly, business characters can be grouped into personal business letters and public business words. In personal business words, the greeting may be formal or casual. And the body is usually intended paragraphs; the typed signature brand can be omitted and the entire name or the first name should be handwritten. While on the other side, the state can be more formal in greeting and its body. As well as the signature comprises of a typed personal with professional or communal or company name, under that your Chinese name should be typed by its Pinyin in the next line.

2. 2 The Stylistic Features of Business Correspondence

As a branch of professional English, business correspondence has its characteristics of style. Business words are now designed for modern businesspeople, so their style shouldn’t be long-winded, old-fashioned, or jargon-filled, as it was several ages ago. Business words today should be simple, concise, concrete, and easy to understand, etc. And from the view of characteristics of style, consult characters are usually with way, need and courtesy; business casual words are usually tendentious, illustrative and versatile; the formal business characters are usually optional, informative, contactable and courtesy. (Zhao, 2007˜186).

2. 3 THE NEED of Using Business Words Properly

However, we may misuse the business enterprise words if we are lack of general knowledge of stylistics, and the result of misusing business words maybe serious. So “whenever we observe terminology activity in the various contexts in which it takes place, we find dissimilarities in the sort of language chosen as appropriate to different kinds of situation(Cheng, 1988:3)”

3. Specific Studies on Business Letters from with the Point of view of Stylistics

English business correspondence is a particular kind of writing, which is a comprehensive at the mercy of integrate English writing with international trade, we can analyze characteristics of stylistics from the views of characteristics of words, characteristics of wording, and characteristics of grammar.

3. 1 Language Feature of British Business Letter

Business letter is a common style used in international business activities. Since it comes from and serves for sorts of business, and reflects the relative professional content, its words, syntaxes, meanings and intensions have a strong appeal of business. And a small business message is considered successful when (1) the receiver interprets the meaning as the sender meant it, and (2) it achieves the sender’s purposes. The dialect from it is quick and correct, the appearance is strong but modest. And its manner of writing employs the basic principle of “7Cs”, that happen to be Courtesy, Concern, Completeness, Clarity, Conciseness, Concreteness and Correctness. They tie in carefully with the basic idea of the communication process, which can be significant for business characters by providing recommendations for the choice of content.

3. 1. 1 Courtesy

Business letter performs a decisive role in business activities, and “Courtesy is a virtue of most business documents˜ Wang˜2007˜8˜”, it create so friendly atmosphere of equality it can promote bilateral co-operation and reach an agreement. However, it isn’t basically politeness with mechanical insertions of “thank you” or “please”. Instead, it stems from sincere admiration and friendly human being concern for just one another. So “in your business subject matter, you can form courtesy by adding yourself in your reader’s shoes(Wang˜2007˜8)”, and observing the next techniques: to be fast, to be polite, to be on a positive tone.

Firstly, making use of promptness can be an important way showing courtesy running a business communication. Whenever we are asked a question or get a letter that requires our response, we ought to reply it within the day. If it’s impossible for all of us to give a quick reply in detail on the same day, we ought to write a brief note to the customers to explain the reason why. Promptness is so excellent manners that this prompts goodwill. In addition, this implies efficiency because of its quick process in business letters.

Secondly, the senders should be very polite even in requesting the receivers to repay the debt or refusing their demand, and irksome expressions should to be avoided, particularly if we use with “you”:

Thirdly, Courteous letters should be written in a confident tone, which helps to create or even to durability goodwill.

E. g. (1) We have been sorry that you misunderstood us.

(2) Our company is sorry that we didn’t make ourselves clear.

The meanings that the writer tries to express are simply the same in both of these phrases. However, in the phrase (1), it intents to blame others; while in word (2), the writer takes responsibility positively and uses courtesy. So the results of these two phrase are clearly.

3. 1. 2 Consideration

Consideration found in business words means that the senders should keep receivers in the first place when composing and transmitting the letters, because they’re working not only with a small business organization, but more significantly with the individuals whose reaction determines the actual sender can perform in transmitting the business enterprise letters. “Consideration means using’ you attitude’ running a business notice ˜which is to consider in other’s perspective and become considerate other’s wants and thoughts. ” (Yuan & Li, 2010:11) We will equate to the following phrases, sentences (1) change “we attitude”, while sentences (2) change “you attitude”

e. g.

We are pleased to announce that

You will be pleased to know

We want you to do that.

You will without doubt take action.

Sentences 1) change “we attitude” that are in a rigid shade and express a feeling of purchasing others, and it demonstrates senders think only of themselves and their problem, not about the receivers, while Sentences 2) adjust “you frame of mind”, that can mirror politeness and tact, stress what the receivers wish to know, make reference to the receiver’s demand or order specifically, protect the receiver’s ego and value the receiver’s cleverness. So “The you attitude also creates a conversational tone”

3. 1. 3 Completeness

Business letter should fully point out the articles and meanings. If the communication is complete, it contains all facts the receivers need for the effect that the senders desire. The function of completeness in business letters is bringing the desired response without the expense of additional communications, both parties can do a better job of building goodwill and averting the costly lawsuits which could end result becomes possible, even if important info is missing. You should use “5Ws” and “1H” to check whether it has fully replied what the other’s perspective’s requests. Also, you should give something extra, when suitable. Sometimes we should do more than answer customers’ specific questions. Because they may not know what they need, or their questions may be inadequate. For instance, in the words of inserting an order, it has to explain “What you would like”, “If you want the goods”, “to whom and where in fact the goods to be sent”, “How the payment will be produced”. And you should describe “why” when you reject the request of the parties (i. e. reject to an offer, reject to settle of claim etc. ). The “5Ws” and “1H” question method is especially useful whenever we write demands, announcements, or other informative information.

3. 1. 4 Clarity

In business notice writing, “Clarity is important in such business writing as accounts, memorandums, procedures, and proposals(Hu&Che&Li&Su, 2004:43)” ” clarity means making certain the meaning of words you have written is clear, and it will not create misunderstanding (Wei, 2005:6)”, we ought to avoid ambiguous thought and equivocate phrasing in the letter. And there are three specific ways to help make the communication clear: 1. choose understandable words, 2. construct effective phrases and paragraphs, 3. write on the Write on the level of the receiver’s understanding

E. g. Regarding the machine sailing from Wenzhou to Italy has bimonthly direct services.

In this phrase, the writer chooses these understandable words such as “sailing”, “direct” to help make the receivers understand obviously as there is a strong need for words that aren’t only familiar and clear, but simple and easy to read. However, the term “Bimonthly” may cause misunderstanding, because it can be comprehended either as double a month or once every two months, so it is easy to misunderstand the meaning of this word. Therefore, it should be amended as “We’ve two immediate sailings on a monthly basis from Wenzhou to Italy. ” or “We’ve direct sailings from Wenzhou to Italy every two months. “

3. 1. 5 Conciseness

Conciseness means that on the premise of not going up against the other C features, we use words as less as possible to express the real meanings you are trying to express. Use simple, immediate, simple words to avoid pointless repetition and ornate words. It eliminates hackneyed and stereotyped phrases in business letters, saves time and expenditure for both sender and receiver, supports the receiver in understanding the communication, and makes the communication more interesting.

E. g. We use “We have begun to export machines. ” instead of “We have started to export our machines to the overseas countries. ” As the former sentence eradicates the needless expressions–“to the international countries”, which point out the same interpretation with “export”.

3. 1. 6 Concreteness

The articles of business characters must be detail and clear, especially those letters that question other parties’ reply or will influence contact in after period. So we ought to use specific facts, numbers to achieve concreteness instead of using words that are unclear, generalized or abstract. Because concrete words are immediate and stunning, clear, and exact. While abstract words tend to be intellectual, educational, or philosophical. Using specific somewhat than general dialect, using concrete somewhat than abstract words, using effective rather than passive words will be helpful to compose concrete, convincing messages

E. g. We say “We validate our goods of January 3th, 2011” alternatively than “We verify our goods yesterday”. The reason is that the past phrase use concrete words that are clear so that you will see no question in the receiver’s mind regarding the meaning designed. And on the other hand, “yesterday” is less clear in meaning and is much more likely to create incorrect or challenging connotations in the receiver’s brain.

3. 1. 7 Correctness

The terms and phrases and punctuations should be used correctly in business characters because most elements of business letters require bilateral right, duty and interest among business marketing communications. And it’ll cause needless troubles if any flaws happen. The term correctness, as put on a business notice, means the sender should use the right degree of language and include only exact facts, words, and results. And one erroneous digit (for example, $75, 000 instead of $750, 000) can change lives of huge amount of money. Even small errors of a few cents can annoy customers and undermine goodwill.

E. g. Using “It is the minimum price we can offer you now. ” is more correct than using “It is the lowest price available to you. “

3. 2 Textual Structure running a business Letter

The success of English business notice writing isn’t just based on its words and sentences, but its composition as well. “Text which is this is unit to speak by using terms symbols is made up by sentences, so that it can be either brief or long. A novel can be a text, a word or phrase, a good word can make up text. Business notice is a means of communication that bilaterally communicates in written form (Qin, 2001:82)”. Within the aspect of content material, business notice should point out the image of writers through orderly and clear framework; indicate the accomplishment of writers through polite words; indicate the purpose of letters through exact and logical appearance. So”no matter how simple or intricate the business notice is, it is generally concerned on the goal of writing which has clear and standardized framework and complete outline. What’s more, the textual composition should are present with standardized form, logically organised, clear clue, and limited structure.

First of all, the space of business notice is short and pithy whose terms is frankly and condensed, and most business characters have an average sentence amount of 20 words or fewer. Short and pithy, and straightforward point out the terseness and effective of business notice. In contrast, overly long sentences can make the complete message clumsy and difficult to understand and the reader soon begins to lose interest in the notice, thus prevent clear communication.

Next, Paragraph duration is also significant running a business characters. Because most businesspeople are so occupied that they do not have more a chance to waste through some long paragraphs. Instead, they could only skim a range or two in each paragraph. Therefore, paragraphs running a business characters should be brief enough with the common length between one to eight phrases. Besides, the paragraph should be arranged in a, logic order, with the main idea getting major emphasis and the less important points placed in supplementary positions, which can make the notice more clear and increase the success of establishing business relationship.

Furthermore, the format is standardized running a business letter. “A typical business letter includes seven parts: the letterhead, the date line, the inside address, the salutation, the body of the letter, the complimentary close, and the signature(Chen˜2002˜11)”.

(1)The letterhead of the business notice shows where the letter originates from, contains details of addresser, such as company name, address, telephone number and so forth, that have usually explained in the up-left of the notice. It also expresses the company’s personality and plays a part in the business’s image. So a good letterhead is often a delicate sell, but should not look like an advertisement.

(2)The date brand is generally typed two or three lines below the letterhead and may start from the remaining margin, or be focused, or seem on the right-hand part, which differs from country to country.

(3) The within address ought to be the identical to the name and address on the envelope. It really is conventional to create it at the left-hand margin running a business letters, about several lines below the level of the dateline and above the salutation. And the inside address usually includes the entire name of the recipient, business name of the recipient, name of the company tackled to.

(4) “Dear Sirs” or “Dear Madams” are usually used as the salutation, which is put resistant to the left-hand margin with at least two lines under the within address and two lines above the body of the letter

(5)The schematic structure of body should be based upon the alternating goal of business characters whose contents mainly concern on “attention, interest, desire, and action and raising expectations”. For instance, letters which answer the enquires should contain: the manifestation of because of enquire; explanation of the name, specs, quality, quantity, package deal, price, payment methods, the time frame of shipping and delivery; the commentary on the goods; other relative issues, such as other goods that the other get together may interest; and the appearance of the really wants to establish business relationship with the people and to anticipate placing the purchases.

(6) The complimentary close is a collection following a body of the letter that politely alerts the end of the letter.

(7)The personal should be authorized by the addresser himself/herself, which is four lines below the complimentary close. And signature always contains 3 or 4 parts: the name of the business, the signature of the article writer, the typed name, and the business title.

The paragraphs of business words usually are present with hierarchy, which is based on the topic in the benefits. And the phrases are cumulated layer upon layer with conjunctions, so these multi-layer phrases can be connected in a vertical hierarchy, in which intensifying, adversative, causal romance should be most commonly used.

The complimentary closes usually use “Sincerely” or “Sincerely yours. “

3. 3 Grammatical Top features of English Business Letter

Complex framework of sentence can be an important syntactic attribute of business correspondence. And these complexly organised sentences will not only express the business enterprise meaning, but make the primary information be emphasized and make the article formal.

3. 3. 1 Usage of Complete Sentences and even more Compound Sentence.

Business letter is a formal style, the most important grammatical feature is the fact phrases are completed, the composition is sophisticated and the phrases are long. And adverbial clause, parenthesis, appositive, and the overall structure are generally used. As the complex long phrases in business words can not only express complex meanings so the writing can look to be rigorous, but also the key information will be emphasized in the form of expression order, and durability the amount of formality.

E. g. With the increase of the costs which becomes conspicuous this year, the next consignment will be much dearer, so we recommend someone to take prompt good thing about this offer.

This is a substance word that compounded by “so”, the prepositional expression “Together with the increase of the prices which conspicuous this season” is situated in the first 50 percent, and the attributive clause is among the prepositional phrase which makes the structure more technical. However, the hierarchy is clear and correct, and it plainly indicates the condition of each other marriage.

3. 3. 2 Usage of Assertive Sentences somewhat than Negative Phrases.

In order to express polite and friendly marriage, business letters should not use negative phrases too much. Assertive sentences focus on to the receivers what you can do alternatively than what can’t be done, thus supporting the article writer develop and maintain favorable connections and goodwill. On the other hand, negative phrases may make other unfavorable reactions, if we point the unwanted things that the other get together can’t complete, it’ll give the impression of disrespect which against the basic principle of polite, so we ought to use as more assertive phrases as possible, so the manner will be circumbendibus and polite.

E. g.

We cannot load your order because you failed to send your check.

2) We shall be happy to fill your order as soon as we receive your check.

By comparing both of these examples, it could be easily found that sentence (2) is more circumbendibus and polite than word (1), which is within accord with the grammar of business letter, and it imparts passion and assurance.

3. 3. 3 Usage of Common Language

Since the principal purpose running a business letters is to transmit information, ideas, values, and emotions, the sender won’t need to impose burden after the receiver with too difficult words that affect quick and exact communication between both parties. Also, business letter can be an public letter that has been property of business to business. So we should use common and familiar vocabulary expressing the politeness and formality of the letter, and these words are little by little fixed to become a routine after very long time found in business activities, and today they are widely used in business letters, such as “We offer you” “Enclosed we palm” “we could pleased to inform you” “thank you for. . “

3. 3. 4 Usage of Declarative Sentences alternatively than Very important Sentences

“A lot of the two parties mixed up in business letters are business associates, so each other’s statuses are equal. Therefore, imperative sentences will not be used, even if one party wants another get together to take some activities, because imperative phrases express the way in which of giving orders which seems too arrogant and direct. However, the way in which will become so polite if we use declarative sentences to express one’s desire in the letter that building the image of writers can be possible. What’s more, this fashion often motivates the other get together to take actions (Peng, 2008:198)”.

E. g. It might be appreciated if you may send us your shipping instructions.

What this phrase trying to express is “Please send us your shipping and delivery instructions”, however, using declarative phrases will show the politeness of the article writer and be in accordance with polite theory.

3. 3. 5 Use of Passive Voice Properly

The passive tone of voice is an essential way in writing business letter. The passive words will not emphasis the action of source, which will look that the action is not imposed on the other party. Running a business letter, we usually use “It really is hoped that the offer is manufactured as soon as possible” rather than “Make the offer as soon as possible. “

3. 3. 6 Use of the Inversion Phrase Properly

“We use inversion sentence in two situations: one is placing the emphasized element in front, specially when the writer wishes to remind that the recipient materials have been published with the letter; another situation is expressing the probability of doubt.

E. g. “Enclosed please find the invoice of 60 bales wool bought because of your order. “

In this phrase, the article writer place “enclosed” in front of the phrase to emphasis the target.

3. 3. 7 Use of Abbreviations

Abbreviation, totally means a shortening or abridgment phrase or key phrase, and commonly identifies a letter or several letters extracted from a single word or phrase. Due to its space-saving and time-saving, abbreviations are being used frequently running a business letters. & most abbreviations have fixed meanings in the business letters, such as FOB=Free On Board, CFR=Cost and Freight, CIF=Cost, Insurance and Freight, UK = United Kingdom˜S. S=steamship, etc.

4. How to Follow Stylistic Features in Business Letter Writing

As business letter has particularity in communication and transmitting on the info, the functions and goals of business words aren’t only obviously different from literary activities and daily life, but other business wording, such as instant advertisements. So “in the business letter writing, we ought to understanding the format, use proper words, mindful of the details, and use appropriate build.

4. 1 Grasping the format

Though the essential parts available letter have remained the same for centuries, ways of organizing do change. Sometimes a company adopts a certain format as its coverage. Three major letter formats are commonly used: Full-Block style, Indented style, Semi-Block style, whose major differences lie in indentation of paragraphs, placement of letter parts, and use of punctuation.

In basic, first, we have to place the night out in front of the salutation; second, the salutations generally use a set format “Dear. . . ” then, your body should come right to the topic; finally, we have to end with “sincerely” or “sincerely yours”

4. 2 Use of proper words

There is a primary relation between business letter and the success of the business, so we should use fair-spoken, polite, formal and professional vocabularies properly and effectively.

E. g. We trust you will notice to it that the order is shipped within 3days, as any delay would cause us no little hassle and financial loss.

The article writer uses “trust” and “no little trouble” in the example word showing a so slight firmness that the other get together encourage it easily.

4. 3 Mindful of details

Business letter must fit the bill and realistic, it should neither exaggerate the vocabularies nor narrow its vocabularies. We should not be careless and become ambiguous in the details of business activities, such as variety, date, price, the total amount and insurance.

E. g. Our offer is a firm offer and remains good until 3:40p. m. , 20th January, 2010, Wenzhou.

4. 4 Usage of Appropriate Tone

Business letter is a mean of written marketing communications, so we have to particularly focus on the mood, which should be polite, in appropriate manners, objective and formal. They have more life, and can therefore best contain the reader’s attention and interest and build the company image of the sender and show the grade of the employees. Beside, we have to select polite words to point the other party’s unwanted things that the other get together can’t complete˜which is expressing thank, happiness and satisfaction. E. g. We shall be thankful if you can make us a firm offer for 60tons of peanuts.

5. Summary: Estimated Effect and Research Potential customer of Studying Stylistic to Incorporate with Business Letter.

Economic globalization requires closer connection among business groupings throughout the world. The business letter is touring the business enterprise world in both its electronic digital and traditional forms, and playing an increasingly significant role.

This thesis probes into the business letter from the point of view of stylistic features and places stress on the stylistic features of its language, textual framework and grammatical features. Then we can get the final outcome that running a business letter writing, we can complete business letter effectively and rationally if we have deeply went information in its stylistic features and applied the features, so that people can make this kind of linguistic form which is present with high practicability be best suited on the specific occasion, also to promote transactions.

Besides, learning stylistic features integrate with business letter writing preferred develop practical advantage of business words, and it can decrease the mistakes and abuse use in the write business letters which owes to not knowing the function of Stylistic running a business letter writing. So we can understand the writing expectations of business letter better and complete it effectively. In the meantime, the use of stylistic running a business letter writing has made a theoretical exploration, and it helps to transmit trade information effectively, so that we can improve the feasibility of offers.