Definition of English Business
1. Business means buying and selling, and English is the name of our mother tongue. Business English is obviously such English as is used in mercantile transactions. Our definition is quickly made.
But it will bear expansion. We must answer certain questions that inevitably arise. Is some special brand of English used in business? And how are we to know when we are studying business and when merely the English of business?
Take the first of these two questions. There are of course certain words which name business transactions primarily. Buy, sell, exchange, barter, trade, purchase, shop, customer, hire, rent, pay, fee, price, retail, wholesale, lease, mortgage, merchandise, commodity, goods, stock, office, factory, finance, money, funds, capital, interest, sum, amount, balance, cash, currency, bill, receipt, note, draft, check, bank, cashier, bookkeeper, stenographer, clerk - hundreds of words like these will occur to us at random as being mercantile words in a peculiar sense.
To be sure, they are not all limited to business transactions. Note the word brand. It is primarily mercantile, naming a particular kind of goods. But in the second paragraph, above, the phrase "special brand of English" appears. Here the word is used figuratively. Every business word can be extended in that way to social or literary use. When we speak of wholesale slaughter, or of a stock of words, we use commercial figures of speech, and Americans are exceedingly fond of doing so. You have heard people speak of a thoroughly posted man, as if a man were a ledger. You have heard them speak of the balance of the day, as if time were literally money. You have noticed that an American likes to claim everything in sight; I mean, he prefers to claim that a thing is so, rather than assert, declare, contend, allege, maintain, or swear that it is so.
2.But the strictly commercial words, again, aria not the only ones employed in business. In addition to such words as are listed above in our third paragraph, business employs thousands of terms from science and technology. If a man is buying or selling machinery, he must know the names of the machines. If it falls to him to buy the parts of them, he must know the names of the parts. Does business English, then, include the study of everything that is bought or sold? If it did, it would include nearly the whole dictionary. Everything is bought or sold, from surgical instruments to Egyptian mummies. Nothing is exempt but heaven and love and faith. "Tis only heaven that is given away; Mis only God may be had for the asking." And there are gloomy times when we feel that even faith and love are sold.
Quite clearly we are not called upon to master the whole dictionary. No man's life is long enough for that. So far as special study of words is concerned, we must limit it to a few which are most commonly employed in mercantile transactions.
And I fear that even with these we shall not be quite certain what to do. In our eleventh chapter will be found brief histories of certain commercial terms. But it is not pretended that knowing the history of a word will usually be of much practical value to the young man in business. The word dollar has a curious history, being connected with our word dale, a valley. A dollar is a dale-coin, a piece of money first coined in a certain dale, or Thal. But who cares, except the philologist or the antiquary? "Show me how to get the dollar," says our business man, "and you bookworms may have the derivation." He feels that he is quite literary enough if he manages to spell dollar with two ll's. It bores him to go farther into derivations. And it would be bad business to urge him to go back far into history when he is interested only in the burning present and the glowing future.
3. If we pick up any business letter we see at once that the words it contains are chiefly common words, not especially mercantile. The technical buying or selling words are present, but they are in the minority. What makes the letter good or bad is the choice and arrangement of words to express thought and feeling. It is their composition, or putting together. And this is really the subject that we are after. "Business English" in the sense here used is merely short for "Business English Composition. "
"English," as used in schools and colleges, now means primarily English composition. It includes also the study of English literature, but chiefly because a mastery of literature helps the student to a mastery of writing and speaking. None of us common people ever invents a word, and the few Edisons are lucky if they add half a dozen to the language. We go to other people or to books for our words. They are the great social heritage into which we enter, and literature is the best place to find them, because there they are alive, each in its context. The proper study of literature is so practical that I dare not confess how practical - because some people think it is a matter of pleasure pure and simple. The words of literature are practical; the setting of them is practical; the knowledge of life that they give us is practical. The right sort of business man cannot read Shakspere without getting a clearer insight into those springs of human emotion which he has to consider daily. And if this reading makes him better in point of courage and good cheer and character, why, that is practical too.
But this is not a plea for the study of Shakspere. For all the illustrative matter used in this book we shall go to business documents pure and simple. We shall have business narratives, business descriptions, business arguments, business explanations. We are to try to get at the principles of English composition on business topics:
Our purpose is to point out some of the established principles which govern effective expression. Everybody is ready to admit that the power of effective expression is a financial asset. It helps the stenographer, the salesman, the manager, the advertiser, the correspondent. It makes for more responsible positions and advanced salaries. Good selling-talk sells goods. Judicious explanations remove difficulties. Persuasive arguments reach buyers.
Type of Business English Letter
Typical sales letters start off with a very strong statement to capture the interest of the reader. Since the purpose is to get the reader to do something, these letters include strong calls to action, detail the benefit to the reader of taking the action and include information to help the reader to act, such as including a telephone number or website link.
Order letters are sent by consumers or businesses to a manufacturer, retailer or wholesaler to order goods or services. These letters must contain specific information such as model number, name of the product, the quantity desired and expected price. Payment is sometimes included with the letter.
The words and tone you choose to use in a letter complaining to a business may be the deciding factor on whether your complaint is satisfied. Be direct but tactful and always use a professional tone if you want the company to listen to you.
An adjustment letter is normally sent in response to a claim or complaint. If the adjustment is in the customer’s favor, begin the letter with that news. If not, keep your tone factual and let the customer know that you understand the complaint.
Inquiry letters ask a question or elicit information from the recipient. When composing this type of letter, keep it clear and succinct and list exactly what information you need. Be sure to include your contact information so that it is easy for the reader to respond.
Follow-up letters are usually sent after some type of initial communication. This could be a sales department thanking a customer for an order, a businessman reviewing the outcome of a meeting or a job seeker inquiring about the status of his application. In many cases, these letters are a combination thank-you note and sales letter.
Letters of Recommendation
Prospective employers often ask job applicants for letters of recommendation before they hire them. This type of letter is usually from a previous employer or professor, and it describes the sender’s relationship with and opinion of the job seeker.
Acknowledgment letters act as simple receipts. Businesses send them to let others know that they have received a prior communication, but action may or may not have taken place.
Cover letters usually accompany a package, report or other merchandise. They are used to describe what is enclosed, why it is being sent and what the recipient should do with it, if there is any action that needs to be taken. These types of letters are generally very short and succinct.
Letters of Resignation
When an employee plans to leave his job, a letter of resignation is usually sent to his immediate manager giving him notice and letting him know when the last day of employment will be. In many cases, the employee also will detail his reason for leaving the company.
Part of Letter
Letterhead - Stationary printed at the top of the page including the company name, logo, full address, and other elements such as trademark symbols, phone & fax numbers, and an e-mail.
Dateline - The date is the month (spelled out), day, and year. If you are using Microsoft Word, click - Insert, then Time and Date. Press Enterfour times after the date.
Letter Address - The complete address of the recipient of the letter. The letter address usually includes the personal title (Mr., Mrs. etc.), first and last name followed by the company name, street address, city, province, and postal code. Press Enter twice after letter address.
Salutation - The word Dear followed by the personal title and last name of the recipient (Dear Mr. Smith). Press Enter twice after the salutation.
Body - The text that makes up the message of the letter. Single-space the paragraphs and double-space between the paragraphs. PressEnter twice after the last paragraph.
Complimentary closing - A phrase used to end a letter. Capitalize only the first letter. If there is a colon after the salutation, there must be a comma after the complimentary close. Press Enter four times (or more) after the complimentary close to allow for a written signature.
Name and title of writer - Type the first and last name of the sender. The sender's personal title (Mr., Ms., Dr., etc) should be included. Use a comma to separate the job title if it's on the same line as the name. Do not use a comma if the job title is on a separate line. Press Enter twice after the name or title.
Business Letter Styles
The following pictures show what a one-page business letter should look like. There are three accepted styles. The horizontal lines represent lines of type. Click your mouse pointer on any part of the picture for a description and example of that part.
Gambar 1 : Modified Block Style
Gambar 2 : Block Style
Gambar 3 : Semiblock Style
Gambar : 3