1. brandeeno
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    brandeeno New Member

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    Help me on this sentence structure

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by brandeeno, May 20, 2010.

    My friend wrote a short email as follows:
    “A copy of Joe's signed offer letter is attached. Please let us know when he accepts. ”

    I can’t technically explain why, but I felt the first sentence seemed a little off and needed some rearranging. So I suggested the following:
    “I have attached a signed copy of Joe’s offer letter. Please let us know if and when he accepts. ”

    I am most interested in the first sentence (my change in the 2nd sentence is not important, but you can comment on it). My friend is wondering why her sentence is incorrect and mine is better. I’m not certain if my change was correct and cannot explain why. Can you guys help me please? Was the change I made for the better? And if so, can you tell me why it is better? Does it have anything to do with it starting with “a” or ending in a verb? Or….?

    Thanks
     
  2. Humour Whiffet
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    Humour Whiffet Banned

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    Both seem fine to me. What's it for? Does your friend need to impress?

    I'm a lawyer, and I couldn't care less whether a letter enclosing something has been nicely written. Most of them aren’t. To be frank, most letters I get could be written in crayon--I'm not fussy. They just go straight in my filing tray.

    For what it’s worth, I’d write:

    I enclose a copy of Joe’s signed offer letter. Please let me know if he accepts the terms.

    I don’t know to whom the pronoun “he” refers. I presume not Joe, because he has signed aleady. Will it be obvious to the recipient? If not, you might need to change that bit. Just replace "he" with the name of the person who will accept.

    I wouldn’t bother with the “if and when” stuff.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there's nothing incorrect about your friend's sentences, or yours...

    your suggestions are merely wordier, which is not always a good thing...
     
  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    The original first sentence is passive voice, and you changed that - maybe that's it?

    In the original, I find myself slightly bothered by the "accepts" with no object. And I dislike the position of "signed" - it seems to define the offer letter, to have more importance than it should. For example, if it were instead "formal offer letter", I'd be fine with it.

    So I would have changed the two sentences to:

    A signed copy of Joe's offer letter is attached. Please let us know if and when he accepts the offer.

    Though I agree that "Joe" is a bit ambiguous - is he the person who wrote the offer letter, or the person receiving the offer? So maybe:

    A signed copy of the offer letter for Joe Smith is attached. Please let us know if and when Joe accepts the offer.
     
  5. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    All the above suggestions are good. But I have my own doubt about something regarding the first part:

    I tend to use 'being' after 'is' in such kind of sentences, as in

    A copy of Joe's signed offer letter is being attached.

    Is it wrong to do that? An explanation of why or why not 'being' should be used will be much appreciated. Thanks.

    I hope the topic is not veered away by this. (even in this sentence I wanted to add 'being' before veered :) )
     
  6. Lankin
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    Lankin Member

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    Can just tell you how I feel -- not really sure.
    "Being" suggests the process. So I would try to avoid "being" if I'm only interested in the result.
    "A bridge is being built,..... "-- that means, it hasn't been completed yet.
    The sentence
    sounds weird, because you want to describe the result, not the process.
    Best summed up in one of my favorite quotes by Douglas Adams:
    I'd say, "being" is perfect in that case.
    Perhaps a native speaker could help us :)

    If it's any help, in German you say something like "In the attachment you find a copy of Joe's offer letter, already signed. Please let me know when (and if) he accepts the offer."
     
  7. brandeeno
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    brandeeno New Member

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    Humour Whiffet, yes always feel the need to "impress", but it is in no way anything formal. Just a quick short professional email from HR.

    Thanks everybody for all the comments and suggestions. I appreciate it.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    manav, to add 'being' would indicate the act of attaching hasn't been completed yet, which would make no sense in that sentence...
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I see that very frequently in speech and writing by English speaking people from India. It's one of the "tells" that can suggest a non-native English speaker.
     
  10. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    Thanks Lankin, maia, Cog.... very helpful.
     

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