EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS by ROBERT L. SHURTER. Preface: This book is infeqjfed to present the fundamental principles of the major types of biismesS letters and to assist the student or correspondent in learning these principles by numerous examples and exercises. It grew out of a conviction that there is a need for a comparatively brief text whose scope would be halfway between the sketchy handbook with its Do's and DonYs in boldface type and the encyclopedic volumes of six or seven hundred pages covering every ...
EFFECTIVE LETTERS IN BUSINESS by ROBERT L. SHURTER. Preface: This book is infeqjfed to present the fundamental principles of the major types of biismesS letters and to assist the student or correspondent in learning these principles by numerous examples and exercises. It grew out of a conviction that there is a need for a comparatively brief text whose scope would be halfway between the sketchy handbook with its Do's and DonYs in boldface type and the encyclopedic volumes of six or seven hundred pages covering every conceivable prob lem in business correspondence. In fairness to readers or to students of this textbook, it seems best to outline the beliefs that color its tone. First, there is no mention in these pages of business English; the point of view that results in the production of books on engineering English, the English of business, and eventually if the trend goes to its logical conclusion mortician's English finds no sympathy in these pages. There are only good English well adapted to its purpose and occasion and poor English. The person who can write good English will soon find that the same basic principles of writing apply in business, engineering, and other fields. There is no escaping the inexorable connection between clear thinking and clear writing, and breaking up the English lan guage into separate compartments is merely a delusion* What is needed is a knowledge of the purposes, forms, and methods most acceptable in correspondence. This textbook attempts to provide that knowledge. Second, it seems rather trite to say that the business letter is one of the most widely used forms of writing in the twentieth century. Yet that fact needs emphasis, for, paradoxically enough, our schools and colleges devote more time to such types of writing as the research paper, complete with the scholarly paraphernalia of footnotes and bibliographies and knee-deep in ibids. and op. cits., than to more widely used forms of writing. The research paper has its place, but for every person who will find occasion to write a research paper there are certainly a thousand who will be required to pro duce effective business letters. For that reason, this book is colored by the conviction that learning to write good business letters is a highly important aspect of a student's education and, furthermore, that the letter offers as much opportunity for originality, good organization, and creative ability as any other form of writing. For kind permission to reprint materials in this book, the author is indebted chiefly to two sources: first, to the Dartnell Corporation of Chicago, publishers of the Office Administra tion and Better Letter Bulletin; second, to Letters, the mag azine of The Wolfe Envelope Company of Cleveland, and to its editor, H. Jack Lang. Finally, to Mrs. Margaret C. Gar retson, for her great help in preparing the manuscript and to David M. Rein, for his assistance in proofreading, the author wishes to express his appreciation. ROBERT L. SHURTER. Contents include: PREFACE: v EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION ix INTRODUCTION i I What Is an Effective Letter? 3 II The Form of the Letter 17 III Business Jargon 47 IV Making Letters Easy to Read 58 V Inquiries, Answers to Inquiries, Orders 74 VI Claim and Adjustment Letters 94 VII Credit Letters 1 1 5 VIII Collection Letters 137 IX Sales Letters 163 X The Application Letter 188 INDEX 2 2 1 vi i Editor's Introduction In many respects this treatment of a most important sub ject is unique. N
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