Business Lesson 6: Written Correspondence

Business Lesson 6
Written Correspondence

Text 1: Formal and Informal Requests

Today’s lesson is about Written Correspondence and the difference between a formal and informal email. The following examples are responses to a previous offer of employment email at The Bank of America.

The first is in an informal format and the second is formal.


Hello Mr. Robinson,

Thanks for the offer.
I’m definitely going to think a lot about it and it seems pretty good to me. What does it pay? Do I get any sort of perks?
Maybe we should meet up to talk about it some more. I think quitting time is somewhere around 6pm, does that sound good?
Let me know!

Wendy Johnson

Associate Investor, HSBC

In most cases, the letterhead of an email to a potential employer should never begin with a “hello”.
In addition, the language used in the email is very colloquial and even contains some slang. For example, although “thanks” is widely accepted in spoken English, it is very informal when written.
The use of contractions such as “I’m” and low-level words like “good” and “get” should be used as least as possible.
When responding to a formal email, language should be proper and elevated from letterhead to signature (save the everyday language for an everyday conversation).

Here is a proper responseand a good example Written Correspondence in the workplace:


Dear Mr. Robinson,

I greatly appreciate your offer to work at The Bank of America. It would be a pleasure and a fantastic opportunity to join your team at your Washington branch.
Like any good investor I have a few inquiries about our contract. I was hoping to confirm my fixed salary and also my benefits as a Bank of America employee.
Is it possible that we meet for coffee this week and iron out the details?

Best regards,
Wendy Johnson

Associate Investor, HSBC
 Boston, Mass. Branch No.312

Other than the obvious elevated and occasion-appropriate language, note the difference in the letterhead and closing remarks/signature. “Hello” is replaced by “Dear”, and the horribly colloquial “cheers” by “best regards”.
Notable as well is the use of William’s complete name and position at HSBC (this denotes a higher sense of professionalism in an employee and also represents a person’s pride in their name and job title).
Bear in mind the language used to tiptoe around the obvious questions. For example, instead of directly asking about “pay”, in the formal example he asks to “confirm” and “iron out” details.
Most importantly, if you wish to make an appointment with a person of interest that is likely to have a much busier schedule than you, give the recipient a timeline, but not a ridiculous one (ex. 6pm that evening). Present them with the idea of a meeting and state that you would like it to be this week at some point.
Remember, this is your future job and this is your future boss. Everything you say and do counts even more so from this moment forward especially the written correspondence.


an offer of employmentuna oferta de trabajo
a letter formatel formato de la carta
a perk, a benefituna ventaja, un beneficio
the letterheadel encabezado, el membrete
the language usedel lenguaje usado
spoken Englishinglés hablado
written Englishinglés escrito
the use of contractionsel uso de formas contraídas
everyday conversationconversación cotidiana
a responseuna respuesta
an enquiry, an inquiryuna solicitud de información
the fixed salaryel sueldo fijo
an employeeun empleado
occasion-appropriate languagelenguaje apropiado
closing remarksobservaciones finales
the signaturela firma
a sense of professionalismun sentido de profesionalidad
pride in their joborgullo por su trabajo
a job titleel cargo, el puesto de trabajo
a person of interestuna persona de interés
a scheduleun horario, un programa
the recipient (of the letter)el destinatario
a timelineuna cronología, un plazo
to quitdejar, abandonar
Does that sound good?¿Suena bien?
to save something forguardar algo para
to iron out the detailsprecisar los detalles
to tiptoe around somethingandar de puntillas
to present someone with somethingpresentar algo a alguien
pretty goodbastante bien
somewhere around 6pmsobre las 6 de la tarde
in most casesen la mayoría de los casos
as least as possiblelo menos posible
Written Correspondence

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