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第17课 GOLDEN OLDIES?

2006-07-29 10:12

  The way havoc is used in good English is quite different. We can say “The terrorists planted a bomb in the building. This created havoc, as all the essential services were disrupted for the evacuation.”

  Jane receives this letter from her insurance company:

  GBLD INSURANCE PTE LTD

  (Office Tower, Singapore)

  Madam,

  EXTENSION OF YOUR EXISTING COMPREHENSIVE INSURANCE POLICY EXPIRING MIDNIGHT 30TH APRIL 2001

  1. Please refer to your discussion with one of the officers from this company on 1st April last.

  2. Please be advised that pursuant to the terms of the above mentioned insurance policy the insured is required to give 10 full days' notice in writing of any desire to extend that policy or any part of it.

  3. Insufficient information submitted would result in a refusal to grant such a request.

  4. The undersigned may be contacted at the number below.

  5. Please see form attached herewith.

  6. Kindly revert to the issuing office.

  7. For your perusal please.

  This is a computer generated letter and requires no signature.

  Jane: Nora - have you got a moment?

  Nora: Of course. What's wrong?

  Jane: (sighing) I've received this letter from my insurance company and - well, I can't make head or tail of it.

  Nora: What does it say?

  Jane: Oh it says plenty. But I don't know what it means. It's so full of long words and sentences. See if you can understand.

  Nora: (reading) “Madam…… Please refer to your discussion with one of the officers from this company on 1st April last regarding the above mentioned……”

  Jane: But I spoke to Mr Tan - we know each other very well. He promised to deal with this personally.

  Nora: Well, it doesn't seem as if he has. Look what it says at the end: (reading) “This is a computer generated letter and requires no signature.”

  Jane: It doesn't seem to be a letter at all. All the paragraphs have numbers. Could it be some sort of a notice?

  Nora: I don't think so. It's not very clear is it? Listen: (reading) “Please be advised that pursuant to the terms of the above mentioned insurance policy the insured is required to give 10 full days' notice in writing of any desire to extend that policy or any part of it.”

  Jane: It sounds like I've done something wrong. (Reading) “Insufficient information submitted would result in a refusal to grant such a request.”

  Nora: Well, you can always call them. It says that the undersigned may be contacted at the number below.

  Jane: But there is no undersigned!

  Nora: Wait a minute……(Reading) “Please see form attached herewith. Kindly revert to the issuing office”。

  Jane: Revert? How can I revert? Revert means going back to the way I was before. Are they suggesting I go back to England?

  Nora: No - they just mean send the form back. It's the old-fashioned style of writing.

  Jane: It's not just old-fashioned - it's wrong. And kindly - it's so sarcastic!

  Nora: They're trying to be polite.

  Jane: It finishes: (Reading) “For your perusal please”。

  Jane: Perusal? As that means reading it quickly without paying much attention, perhaps I'd better just throw it in the bin.

  Jaya arrives and overhears what Jane says……

  Jaya: If you do that, Jane, you won't get your insurance cover. You know, I used to write letters like that. I used to copy them from old ones I found in filing cabinets and old commerce books.

  Jane: And the old way isn't always the best, is it?

  Jaya: Certainly isn't. One of my friends showed me the Handbook of Written Communication. It's really very good - much more relevant for the Knowledge Economy. Perhaps we should send a copy to Mr Tan!

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