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Introductory paragraph (sender’s) address

letterhead signature

main paragraph (typed) signature


6 Pine Estate, Westhornet, Bedfordshire, UB18 22BC.

(2) Telephone 9017 23456 Telex X238WID Fax 9017 67893

Michael Scott, Sales Manager,

Smith and Brown plc,

(3) Napier House,

North Molton Street,

Oxbridge OB84 9TD.

(4) Your ref. MS/WID/15/88

Our ref. ST/MN/10/88

(5) 31 January 20--

(6) Dear Mr Scott,

(7) Thank you for your letter of 20 January, explaining that the super widgets,

catalogue reference X-3908, are no longer available but that ST-1432, made to the same specifications but using a slightly different alloy, are now available instead.

(8) Before I place a firm order I should like to see samples of the new super widgets. If the replacement is as good as you say it is, I shall certainly wish to reinstate the original order, but placing an order for the new items. Apart from anything else, I should prefer to continue to deal with Smith and Brown, whose service has always been satisfactory in the past. But you will understand that I must safeguard Widgetry’s interests and make sure that the quality is good.

(9) I would, therefore, be grateful if you could let me have a sample as soon as possible.

(10) Yours sincerely,

(11) Simon Thomas

(12) Simon Thomas

(13) Production Manager

(14) enc.

Exercise 3. This letter has been revised so many times by Mr Thomas that it has become all mixed up, and his word processor has failed to reorganise it. Arrange the letter so that everything is in the right place.

(1) Simon Thomas


(3) 6 Pine Estate, Westhornet, Bedfordshire, UB18 22BC

Telephone 9017 23456 Telex X238WID Fax 9017 67893

(4) I look forward to hearing from you.

(6) Yours sincerely,

(5) Your ref. MS/WD/22/88

Our ref. JB/MS/48/88

(7) James Bowers, Sales Manager,

Electroscan Ltd,

Orchard Road Estate,

Oxbridge UB84 10SF.

(10) 6 June 20 ___

(8) Production Manager

(12) Dear Mr Bowers

(9) Thank you for your letter. I am afraid that we have a problem with your


(11) Unfortunately, the manufacturers of the part you wish to order have advised us that they cannot supply it until September. Would you prefer us to supply a substitute, or would you rather wait until the original parts are again available?

Exercise 4. Replace the abbreviations with complete words.

  1. Just as Rd is short for … , Ave is short for … , Blvd is short for … , St and Sq are short for … and … .

  2. 12/7/99 means … 1999 in Britain but it means … 1999 in America.

  3. # 24 in the USA and No. 24 in Britain both mean … 24.

  4. On the envelope c/o means … and Attn means that the letter is for the … of a particular person.

  5. In a report or textbook e.g. or eg means … , i.e. or ie means … and etc. or etc stands for … .

  6. A British firm’s name may be followed by the abbreviation plc or PLC (short for …), Ltd (…) or & Co. (…).

  7. An American firm’s name may be followed by Corp. (…) or Inc. (…).

  8. An Australian firm’s name may be followed by the abbreviation Pty. (…).

  9. If you buy something by mail order the price may not include p & p (…) and VAT (…).

  10. At the end of a business letter you may see the abbreviations c.c. (…), enc. or encl. (…). But only an informal letter would have a P.S. (…) at the end.

  11. What do these abbreviations stand for?

@ ¥ 3,000 ea. ………

© Cambridge University Press 2000 ………

Apple ® Macintosh ………


DIY ………

Exercise 5. Put the following senders’ addresses on the envelope in the correct order.

Example: Search Studios Ltd./Leeds/LS4 8QM/Mr L. Scott/150 Royal Avenue

MrL Scott

Search Studios Ltd.

150 Royal Avenue

Leeds LS4 8QM

  1. Warwick House/Soundsonic Ltd./London/Warwick Street/SE23 1JF

  2. Piazza Leonardo da Vinci 254/The Chief Accountant/1-20133/D. Fregoni/Fregoni S.p.A./Milano

  3. Bente Spedition GmbH/Mr Heinz Bente/D-6000 Frankfurt 1/Feldbergstr. 30/The Chairman

  4. Sportique et cie./201 rue Sambin/The Sales Manager/F-21000 Dijon

  5. Intercom/E-41006Sevilla/351 Avda. Luisde Morales/The Accountant/Mrs S. Moreno

  6. Miss Maria Nikolakaki/85100 Rhodes, Nikitara 541 /Greece

  7. Excel Heights 501/Edogawa-ku 139/7-3-8 Nakakasai/Japan/Tokyo/Mrs Junko Shiratori

  8. 301 Leighton Road/VHF Vehicles Ltd./London NW5 2QEAThe Transport Director/Kentish Town

  9. BN5 9KL / James Brown & Sons / Ms Gillian Jones / Brighton / 44-50 London Road / Personnel Manager / GREAT BRITAIN

  10. 999 Park Avenue / Rockford / Mr James Green / IL 61125 / Marketing Director / USA / Green Industries Inc.

  11. Rhône-Moteurs SA / Export Department / Mme Jeanne Thibault / 130 rue do professeur Nicolas / FRANCE / 69008 Lyon

  12. JAPAN / Chiyoda-ku / United Products Ltd / Tokyo 101 / Publicity Controller / 13 Kanda Surugadai 2-chome / Mr Masako Saito

  13. 12 Juniper Avenue / Windyhill / KT6 3AB / Dr Henry Fotheringay-Hunt / KETTERING

  14. NEWCASTLE / Beechtrees / HR1 0ZZ / 14 Chester Avenue / Mr & Mrs J Brown

  15. Mrs Leena Suominnen / FINLAND / Koivisto Kirja Kauppa OY / 20100 Turku / Kirkkokatu 28

  16. Newcastle NE5 47G / Mr Hugh O’Shea / ENGLAND / 114 North Shields Road / Gloucester Products Ltd

Exercise 6. Due to a malfunctioning word processor, the following two letters have been mixed up. One is from an engineering company enquiring about a staff pension scheme. The other is the reply from the insurance com­pany. Re-arrange the paragraphs and phrases to form the twp letters. Write a, b, c, etc. in the boxes, showing where each part of both letters should be.

(a) Yours faithfully,

J Steward

Company Secretary

(b) Please contact me, in the meantime, if you have anything else you would like to discuss.

(c) The enclosed booklet, PS 134, will give you details of the type of policy I think would suit you. The minimum age for joining would be 18, with a retirement plan at 55 for women and 60 for men.

(d) UK Engineering PLC

Brunei House

Brunei Street

Liverpool L2 2ER

(e) Finally, as well as choosing a retirement pension, we would also like a policy, which would include life insurance, so that in the event of an early death, the insured’s dependants would get a lump sum in benefit payment.

(f) Thank you for writing to us.

(g) On this basis, we would estimate those eligible at the present time to number about 300 or so, with ages ranging from apprentices of 16 to skilled operatives and administrators in their early 50s.

(h) I am replying to your letter of 15 September concerning a contributory staff pension scheme for your employees.

(i) The Company Secretary UK

UK Engineering PLC

Brunei House

Brunei Street

(j) Liverpool L2 2ER I can arrange for an agent to call on you at any time, and

will con­tact you in a few days after you have had time to consider this pro­posal.

(k) We are a large engineering company with a staff of 400 including administrative and shopfloor staff. We are contacting a number of insurance companies to enquire about a contributory staff pension scheme to cover people who have been with us for over a year.

(l) If you have such a scheme, please let us have details, and we could possibly arrange a meeting with one of agents.

(m) Dear Sir/Madam

(n) Policies Manager

Associated Insurance PLC

153/8 Cressy Street

Liverpool L2 3EB

(o) Employee contributions could be arranged at 7 per cent, and the policy incorporates life insurance and benefit payment in the event of death.



p) Dear Mr Steward,

(q) Yours sincerely,

Ralph Meeker

Policies Manager


(r) 19 September 20--

(s) 15 September 20–

(t) Associated Insurance

153/8 Cressy Street

Liverpool L2 3EB


Exercise 7. These two letters are on the same subject but the language used is very different. The first is from the Inland Revenue and is formal. The second is from a friend and is informal. As you read underline the language which is equivalent in meaning but not in formality.

Dear Bill,

Thanks a lot for your letter which I got on Wednesday. Sorry I haven't got back to you sooner, but anyway, here are my ideas on the things you wanted clearing up.

A. You have to fork out about 1/4 of your pay packet for the taxman.

B. There's no way you can get anything back on money made abroad.

Exercise 8. Decide which of these sentences are informal and which are formal. Group together those with a similar meaning.

  1. How about looking at Dimitri’s idea?

  2. Much as I would like to be of assistance, it is beyond my power to intervene.

  3. Say ‘hello’ from me and tell Samira to get better soon.

  4. As this matter is entirely beyond our control, we are unable to proceed with a reimbursement.

  5. I suggest we consider Mr Bozena’s proposal closely.

  6. Thanks for your recent note.

  7. We can’t do anything about it, so we can’t give you any money back.

  8. I would be grateful if you would convey my best wishes to Mrs El Hazir and I hope she has a speedy recovery.

  9. Before we said yes we’d have to work out how much it’d cost.

  10. I acknowledge receipt of your letter of 5 January.

  11. It’s great to know you’re backing us all the way.

  12. I’d like to help, but I can’t do anything.

  13. I am pleased to learn that you are giving us every’ encouragement.

  14. Prior to any firm commitment on our part, we would have to assess the financial implications.

Exercise 9. Choose from the options in italics the expression you would use in the following text if you wanted to write in a formal style.

Было отмечено / Я отметил, что персонал выносил / изымал инвентарь со склада канцтоваров, не производя записей в журнале учета. В результате список товаров, подлежащих пополнению, который я подал / был подан / поданный в прошлом месяце, оказался неполным / несоответствующим действительности, и в настоящее время весьма вероятно, что некоторых товаров / ряда товаров может oказаться недостаточно / не хватить до конца этого / текущего месяца. Просьба в дальнейшем придерживаться установленных правил / следуйте установленным правилам, или / в противном случае будет введена другая / иная система учета товаров.

Exercise 10. The following is a letter from a firm interested in becoming an agent in the UK for a Swedish manufacturer of garden furniture. Choose the language which is most appropriate for a formal reply.

Exercise 11. In the following letter, select the item that is more formal.

Exercise 12. Rewrite the following giving the passages a more formal style.

  1. Ref. our telephone conversation of 5.4.2005, I should like to inform the quality of your service has caused us lots of difficult problems.

  2. We’ve made lots of complaints to the Autocheck Manager about the work Autocheck is doing just now.

  3. Whenever one of our reps attempts to get in touch with the Manager, either personally face to face or by phone, he’s always out.

  4. We have noted that many employees arrive late for work. We can no longer tolerate this. We expect staff to arrive on time and to remain on duty for the full period which their contracts state. In future, you must enforce punctuality.

Exercise 13. Complete each sentence by using each word from the following list. At the end of each sentence write its less formal equivalent. Make sure you use the correct form of the verb.

anticipate comprehend facilitate purchase elapse perceive require undertake terminate

1. He went into the jewellery shop to …… a brooch for his wife. (........)

2. After talking to staff we can …… a need for a more efficient method of communicating decisions to the workforce. (........)

3. A week …… before he contacted them again. (........)

4. Things should be easier now. The law they passed should …… the setting up of small businesses. (........)

  1. We shall …… more funding if this scheme is to succeed. (……)

  2. If deliveries do not improve, we shall be obliged to …… the contract. (……)

7. We do not …… any problems at this stage. (........)

8. They have …… to repay the money by the end of the month. (……)

9. We feel that the Directors have completely failed to …… unsuitable the site is. (........)

Exercise 14. This letter is too formal in tone. Re-write it in a more relaxed and friendly way.

Exercise 15. Rewrite the following request for payment in a more polite form.

Exercise 16. Translate the following letter fragments:

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