My boss and I have disagreements over the following sentence (both of us are not native English-speaking persons.)

He insists: "Please be reminded that the privilege is limited to company staff only, and the property right is respected." He believes that passive form is "softer" and less commanding.

I suggests: "Please be reminded that the privilege is limited to company staff only, and please respect the property right." I think "please" is polite already and I dislike passive forms.

Can anyone help? Thank you in advance.
New Member06
Hi Ruby,

Welcome to the Forum.

My boss and I have disagreements over the following sentence (both of us are not native English-speaking persons.)

He insists: "Please be reminded that the privilege is limited to company staff only, and the property right is respected." He believes that passive form is "softer" and less commanding.

I suggests: "Please be reminded that the privilege is limited to company staff only, and please respect the property right." I think "please" is polite already and I dislike passive forms.

You are both right in your understanding. It's really a matter of using your judgement to make a choice.

However, both your sentences are incorrect in the highlighted parts. I don't know what 'Please respect the property right' means. 'Rights' is normally used in the plural in this kind of context. 'Rights' belong to people, or perhaps in this case to the company. Do you mean 'Please respect the company's property rights'? Why don't you just say 'Please respect the company's property', since I think that's what you mean? (In other words, don't damage it).

I have the same comment about the passive version.

Best wishes, Clive
Veteran Member69,356
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CliveI don't know what 'Please respect the property right' means. 'Rights' is normally used in the plural in this kind of context. 'Rights' belong to people, or perhaps in this case to the company. Do you mean 'Please respect the company's property rights'? Why don't you just say 'Please respect the company's property', since I think that's what you mean? (In other words, don't damage it).

Thank you Clive! Now I know I should use "rights" instead of "right."

However the case is we bought a corporate license of an online service. So my company does not really own the property, right? Can I use "please respect the copyright?"

Besides, is passive form really more polite (in our case)?

best regards,

Ruby
Hi Ruby,

OK. So, your choices are basically these.

Choice A: "Please be reminded that the privilege is limited to company staff only, and the copyright is to be respected."

Choice B: "Please be reminded that the privilege is limited to company staff only, and please respect the copyright."

Like you, I favour version B. The second 'please' makes it seem more polite to me, more of a request and less of an order than version A.

I have a couple more suggestions. Why not just say 'staff' or 'employees' instead of 'company staff'? Is there any other kind of staff in your office?

Also, I don't like the passive phrase 'Please be reminded'. Why not just say 'Please remember'? That's more direct, less 'jargon-y' and more friendly. It also matches the active phrase 'and please respect . . .'

Best wishes again, Clive

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Thank you Clive, and thank you for your vote.

Though my boss insists that the passive form is more formal and polite (he quotes that many sample letters use "please be reminded..."), at least you make it clear for me.
Hi,

Though my boss insists that the passive form is more formal and polite (he quotes that many sample letters use "please be reminded..."), at least you make it clear for me. Yes, it's business jargon, but to be simple and clear is better. But . . . you can't argue too much with the boss, can you?

Good luck, Clive
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