Lesson 10 - Supporting claims, Manners, Travels

1.1.2022, , Izvor: Verlag Dashöfer

Lesson 10 – Supporting claims, Manners, Travels


Traveling, communication and manners - three interconnected issues. Knowing how to prepare for and cope with frequent travels is one thing, which we would like to discuss. However, to travel also means to change context, not only physical, but also social. So knowing how to find out what is polite in various situations can be vital. Good manners also help to cope with taking care of red tape (this is a negative term for the official paperwork and bureaucracy) and official communication.

1.1 Objectives of the Lesson

  • - to have the closer look on the topics of manners, traveling, speaking and presenting claims
  • - to practice usage of appropriate language and to learn new vocabulary connected with speaking on public, presenting opinions on meetings, supporting claims in discussion and official contact, persuasion, proper manners and traveling
  • - to foster and deepen the knowledge of mixed conditionals use
  • - to foster new and already known vocabulary and phrases


2.1 Manners

There are many large, heavy books that outline how you‘re supposed to act in every conceivable situation. It‘s impossible to memorize all the rules.

The purpose of manners is to make the other person comfortable, not
make YOU feel better. To that end, a well-mannered person never boasts, brags, or calls attention to oneself. The well-mannered person always reflects the spotlight elsewhere. Don‘t worry that you‘ll be forgotten if you‘re not the center of attention – you‘ll be noticed more by being modest and generous.

The medical establishment was ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE that ulcers were caused by stress for years. The researchers, given Nobel Prize in 2005, were alone in their conviction, that ulcers are caused by virus, but they eventually proved their case. The moral here is: Everything we now know for certain will eventually be proved wrong. Therefore, be humble about what you know to be true. The essence of good manners is to remember that what you think is the truth is actually only your opinion. In a world with the internet and easy travel to other countries, we all must be humble when we encounter cultures and habits that seem odd. Don‘t be quick to judge what is ”correct“ or ‚right“ or ”polite“ or ”true.“

Of course, there are some standards that can never be breached: equality between men and women; giving aid to ones who cannot help themselves; honoring our Earth; being kind to children; and respecting all people‘s right to be free. But every culture has the same tenets. If I‘m in a short-term situation, like at a party or a wedding, I will not make a fuss if these standards are breached. It is better to make a stand for your non-negotiable standards, if you‘re in a long-term situation, like a new job or you‘re meeting your significant other‘s family.

2.2 Claim letters

We are already familiar with basic business correspondence. Often we have to make claims against unsatisfactory work or reply to them. Although these situations happen quite frequently they still make our work more tense and unpleasant. But the best thing is to learn how to deal with these situations professionally and face them right away with polite and clarifying tone even if they are stressful.

Let us review Useful Key Phrases for writing a claim against unsatisfactory work:

  • - As someone who has worked with ...
  • - we were very disappointed to find / see / have discovered ...
  • - As our written agreement stipulated, we expected ...
  • - I think you will agree that a communication problem exists.
  • - We would like you to ..., or provide us with a refund.

Example Claim Letter

Sweet Sleep Co.
10 Montack Ave.
Chicago, IL 12345

September 10, 2006

John Johnson, Director
Your Market Ltd.
Kalispell, MO 54321

Dear Mr. Johnson:

As clients cooperating with your company for over 5 years, we were deeply disappointed to see the documents you produced for our latest Sweet Sleep – Sweet Dreams campaign.

Based on our written agreement, we expected catalogue on high-gloss paper with professional photos, but instead, we found that standard paper has been used together with almost amateur photography. I think we can agree that a communication hindrance has occurred.

We would like you to send out a photographer to provide us with the promised color coverage, and final batch of catalogues to be printed on high-gloss paper. Otherwise we expect full refund and make our best to claim for delay compensation.

Yours truly,

(signature here)

Dr. Peter Griffin

And secondly, let‘s look at Key Phrases used for adjusting claims against unsatisfactory work:

  • - Thank you for your patience.
  • - As someone who values your business, I have already ...
  • - Also, we will deduct/ We feel obliged to deduct another X percent of the bill for the misunderstanding.
  • - I was very disappointed to read your letter of ... dealing with ...

Exercise 1:

Complete the following example letter adjusting claims against unsatisfactory work. Use phrases mentioned above.

Your Market Ltd.

120 Main street
Kalispell, MO 54321

September 12, 2006

Dr. Peter Griffin
Sweet Sleep Co.
10 Montack Ave.
Chicago, IL 12345

Dear Mr. Griffin:

(1) ............................................... of September 10 dealing with the issue of incorrectly produced catalogues. (2) …………………………………, I have already found a solution to resolve this problem.

We suggest to print your catalogue on ultra-high-gloss paper instead of high-gloss paper under no further costs. Furthermore, our best photographer will call you to arrange an appointment at your earliest convenient date to re-take photos. Naturally, (3) …………………………….. for the misunderstanding. (4) …………………………..


(signature here)

John Johnson


3.1 Have you got style?

Most people connect the word style with fashion, particularly with clothes. In a sense, language too is “dressed up“ or “dressed down“, depending on the situation you are in or who you are talking to. Style covers a variety of subjects but two aspects of style that are vitally important in business communication are formality and diplomacy. Let us deal with these issues in two subchapters.


English is different from many other languages so that its spoken form differs considerably from its written form. Naturally, written English tends to be more formal.

Spoken English contains a great many contractions such as:

  • - “it's“, meaning “it is“
  • - “it has“, “I've“, meaning “I have“
  • - “he's“, meaning “he is“ or “he has“
  • - “we'd“, meaning “we would“ or “we had“.

These contractions, used widely in conversation, are not used in written English (except, perhaps, in informal friendly letters). They would not be used in a formal letter or report.

Another aspect of formality, which is important in report writing, is the use of the passive voice. If you were giving advice in spoken English, for example, you would probably use an “active“ sentence, such as “if I were you, I'd relocate the factory.“ This type of sentence would not be used in a business letter or report. The sentence would probably read: “It is recommended that the factory be relocated.“

In formal written English, it is also often preferable to avoid using personal pronouns, such as I or we, in order to make the text more impersonal.

Exercise 2:

Connect five informal sentences written in spoken English1-2() with sentences (a-b) that are written in correct formal English.

Idioms and phrases

4.1 Diplomacy

In addition to formal written style, English also has a unique diplomatic spoken style. Native speakers often try not to sound too direct. Examples of this tactful style include using I'd like instead of I want, eg “I'd like to hear your proposals“, rather than “I want to hear your proposals...“. Another example is “Perhaps we should now consider...“ rather than “Now, it's time to consider...“.

Native speakers also try to avoid giving an unnecessarily negative impression. For example, instead of saying “That is impossible“ they say “That is not very likely“. Or, instead of saying, “Wednesday is impossible“ they might

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