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Plano básico do curso de Inglês para negócios

Business Writing - Letters and emails

Email has become the most used method of business communications, although letters are still used.

Email writing has become very similar to letter writing, so that these two types of writing will be treated on the same session.

The difference between the two, which you immediately notice, is the more sophisticated layout of the letter, shown here.

1) Setting the tone, or writing style

That is the way in which you will treat the reader. You can be very polite, aggressive, soft, formal, etc...

Personnaly, I find convenient to classify writing styles in 3 classes only: formal, neutral and informal.

Formal is not recommended because it is usually too wordy and makes use of old-fashioned expressions. This style is not usually seen in emails.

Informal is the style used to communicate with friends and the like. It can include jokes, colloquial language and things like that. This is the style which is closest to speech.

Neutral is the style normally used in business situations. It is used to get to the point quickly and clearly, without too many unnecessary words. Contractions are allowed (for instance, "I'd" instead of "I would").

2) Keep it short

Business people are very busy and there is no time for excessive words or very polite old-fashioned writing styles. It is important to make the point clearly and quickly.

Mark Twain was a great writer, who managed to communicate elaborated ideas with minimum use of words. Not only less words, but also simpler words.

I never write “metropolis” for seven cents because I can get
the same price for “city.” I never write “policeman” because I
can get the same money for “cop.”

Mark Twain

3) Vocabulary

I will present the relevant expressions related to the objective of the letter. For instance, if you are writing to make an enquiry to another company (good or services), you will include in your letter words like:

agent, retail, supplier, customer, catalogue, brochure, representative, product range, prices, price-list, warranty, minimum order, show-room, quotation, discount, terms and conditions, to place an order, stock, etc...

Other types of letters studied in my courses will include the following: transportation and shipping, insurance, banking, quotations, complaints, payment, etc...

4) Useful expressions

Following on the vocabulary above, I will present some useful expressions regarding letters of enquiry:

a)Where you got the contact

"Following our meeting on the Rio+20, I am writing to.."

b) Reason for writing

"We are... and we are interested in..."

c)Asking for information

Formal/ polite:

"I would appreciate if you could send me information about your... "

Neutral / assertive:

"Please send me full details of your product range, including prices and warranty details."


In general, a simple "Thanks" can be used as the closing. You can also demand a fast reply:

"An early reply would be greatly appreciated."


Plano básico do curso de Inglês para negócios >>