ESL Study Guide

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Analyzing Tone

The following is a sample business letter:

Mr. John R. Michaels
Skyline Technologies
P.O. Box 423
Richmond, British Columbia

Dear Mr. Michaels:

Congratulations! Your account at Blair's Computer Wholesale has been approved. We are
proud to have you as a customer. John, as you probably know, Blair's Computer Wholesale is a 12-year-old company, with 71 stores in nine provinces. We supply a complete line of computer products to our customers, including servers, desktops, notebooks, software, accessories, and individual hardware componentd. As a leader in this industry, we strive to provide the best possible customer service.

Our goal is to be the supplier you consider first whenever you have computer needs. Customer satisfaction is our number-one priority.

Your approved credit line is $7,200, with a monthly billing cycle. Monthly statements are mailed on the first working day of every month. Service charges will be added on past-due balances that are not paid by the twenty-fifth of the month.

We at Blair's Computer Wholesale are looking forward to serving you and developing a long and prosperous relationship. The local manager is Tina Wang. Her telephone number is 778-555-7281.

Yours truly,
Jack Blair
Credit Department



The tone of a letter can get a positive or negative reaction from a reader. You should set the tone of a letter at the beginning and maintain it throughout. The tone of any business letter should be courteous and friendly, and written as if you were talking directly with the reader. You don’t want to get too technical. Write in language that the reader can understand

The tone should also help to show that someone with a personality, rather than a computer, is writing the letter. If the reader believes that you are actually concerned about how they are affected, a positive response is much more likely.

Consider the sample Letter above. The letter sets a tone emphasizing efficiency and a personal touch right from the beginning by addressing both the writer’s past involvement with the customer and what the customer needs. The writer comes directly to the point and discusses the credit proposal for his customer’s company.

In the first paragraph, the writer establishes the tone of the letter:

We are proud to have you as a customer. In the second paragraph, he addresses the customer by their first name, maintaining a personal, courteous tone. Not only does Jack express positive feelings about his customer, he also suggests that the tone of the entire letter will remain one of positive feelings.

The sample letter is written with a positive tone directed toward its reader, which is maintained from start to finish. By convincing the reader that he is receiving a fair proposal from someone in a position to help them, then the letter will likely be successful.

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