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Hi everybody,

I am wondering why it is possible to write in a business letter, e.g.:

a) I enclose a brochure of our full range of products (read this many times in sample letters)

but it sounds very odd to say something like

b) As the invoice amount is incorrect, we return the invoice to you.

I would actually write we are returning or we will return in this case.

I can justify the use of the continuous in sentence b) (we are doing it now) but I can't find any explanation for the use of the simple form in sentence a) although I've read this sentence quite often and it doesn't bother me

This is just my gut feeling though and I have no explanation whatsoever why sentence a) seems to be correct while sentence b) doesn't ...Emotion: sad

Anybody got an idea?

TiA

Sonja
Comments  
As the invoice amount is incorrect, we return the invoice to you

In main clauses, the simple present may suggest that a future event is certain to take place.
Hi Inchoateknowledge,

Thanks for your suggestion. Not sure whether this applies here though.

I think for the certainty of a future event to be expressed in present tense you would need a sentence like:

The train leaves at four o'clock or

Easter Sunday is (will be) on March 29th

Thanks

Sonja
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Sonja_mucHi everybody,

I am wondering why it is possible to write in a business letter, e.g.:

a) I enclose a brochure of our full range of products (read this many times in sample letters)"I am enclosing" is standard verbage.

but it sounds very odd to say something like

b) As the invoice amount is incorrect, we return the invoice to you.

I would actually write we are returning or we will return in this case. Correct!

I can justify the use of the continuous in sentence b) (we are doing it now) but I can't find any explanation for the use of the simple form in sentence a) although I've read this sentence quite often and it doesn't bother me

This is just my gut feeling though and I have no explanation whatsoever why sentence a) seems to be correct while sentence b) doesn't ...Emotion: sad

Anybody got an idea?

TiA

Sonja

Hi Sonja, and welcome to the forums. I answered with this in the other post you made on the same topic. For future reference, if you ever forget to sign on and make a post, you just have a wait a bit for it to appear. Please don't sign in and then post the same question, or you'll have different people answering the same question in different threads, like what happened here. (Meanwhile, I'm deleting the other, anonymous thread on the same question.)

Anyway, here's what I said before I knew anyone else had already answered:

Hi Sonja,

My gut feeling is the same as yours. I have written many, many business letters using U.S.-style, and I would write "I am enclosing" and "We are returning." The only exception would be when you are explaining an on-going process, but not the immediate action that is the purpose of the letter.

"As the invoice amount is incorrect, we return the invoice to you."

This use of the present tense is perfectly OK. It means "we are returning the invoice". It is often used in the phrase "we return herewith" (meaning "attached" or "enclosed").

If the writer means that he will (in the future) return the invoice, in a separate later post, then "we return" is incorrect.
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Sonja_mucHi everybody,

I am wondering why it is possible to write in a business letter, e.g.:

a) I enclose a brochure of our full range of products (read this many times in sample letters)"I am enclosing" is standard verbage.

but it sounds very odd to say something like

b) As the invoice amount is incorrect, we return the invoice to you.

I would actually write we are returning or we will return in this case. Correct!

I can justify the use of the continuous in sentence b) (we are doing it now) but I can't find any explanation for the use of the simple form in sentence a) although I've read this sentence quite often and it doesn't bother me

This is just my gut feeling though and I have no explanation whatsoever why sentence a) seems to be correct while sentence b) doesn't ...Emotion: sad

Anybody got an idea?

TiA

Sonja

Hi, I feel "I am enclosing" and "we are returning" sound good, but I was wondering if the simple future sounds good as well.

Ex: I' ll enclose a brochure of our full range of products. As the invoice amount is incorrect, we'll return the invoice to you.

The meaning is practically "present" though, the same as "That's too heavy for you, I'll help you..." (I'm about to help you).

Thanks Emotion: smile
Hi Kooyeen

The use of 'will' in this context would tend to suggest "I'm willing to do this at a later date".
The meaning is practically "present" though, the same as "That's too heavy for you, I'll help you..." (I'm about to help you).
Your sentence (above) has a different function: It is an offer to do something. As such, it theoretically requires agreement/acceptance by the other person before you do it and therefore there is still the possibility that the future activity will not happen (i.e. the other person has the option of saying something such as "Thanks, but that isn't necessary.").

Informing the recipient about an enclosure in a letter is not an offer. At the time you're writing the letter, the enclosure is a planned part of the letter-writing activity and when the person receives the letter, the enclosure is a done deal -- there is no opportunity for the recipient to say "No, thanks."

You can look at "I'm enclosing" two different ways:

- I'm currently in the process of doing everything necessary to complete this letter and the enclosure is part of that current activity.

OR

- I've already got a definite plan to enclose something with the letter.

Both of these are standard usage of the present continuous.