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Drafting Of Correspondence

General Instructions/Rules in Drafting
External Correspondence


The third person form is generally preferred to the first person form unless it is more appropriate to use the latter. Phrases like "The Ministry" or "This Embassy" are preferred to "I", "We", "Us", and "Our".

Correct Usage

Officers shall be guided by the following when drafting communications:

In drafting correspondence, appropriate words should be given careful consideration and emphasis. It is advisible to use simple words and phrases most appropriate to the context. As much as possible, use the English words rather than French or Latin words.
B.Expression to be Sparingly Used.
The following words and phrases are over-used, redundant, or coloquial and should be sparingly used or avoided in the correspondence of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Foreign Service:

1. Advise (Preferred: Informed, unless advice is involved)
2. As follows
3. As stated
4. As you of course know
5. Assurances are given
6. Contact (verb, or noun referring to acquintance or source of information)
7. Contents noted
8. Due to (unless used wit verb "to be")
9. Echelon
10. Feel (verb)
11. Finalize
12. Firm (adjective)
13. Firm up
14. Fully aware
15. Herewith (with verb enclose)
16. High level
17. I am pleased
18. I beg to state
19. I can say
20. I have before me
21. I have pleasure in saying
22. I have to advise (inform) you
23. I may say
24. I shall not fail
25. I take pleasure
26. I want you to know that
27. I will say
28. I wish to acknowledge
29. I would say
30. In reply I would state
31. It is suggested that you may wish
32. It may be stated that
33. Implemented (verb)
34. Kindly
35. May I take this occasion to express
36. Of course
37. Our Mr. Cruz
38. Please (Preferred: Will you please)
39. Please be advised that
40. Please find enclosed (Preferred: I enclose)
41. Query (verb)
42. React
43. Reference (adjective)
44. Referenced (adjective)
45. Responding to your letter of (Preferred: In reply to your letter of)
46. Same, the same
47. Foreign Ministry (Preferred: Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
48. Subject (adjective)
49. Thanking you, I remain
50. The Ministry will appreciate
51. Thinking (noun)
52. We (I) feel
53. You may be assured
54. Your favor
55. Your letter at hand
56. Your letter of even date

Added Instructions on Usage

A.In Chapter 6. of the Revised Regulations of the Foreign Service of the Philippines (1962), the following important instructions on usage may be taken into consideration:
1.Years shall be referred to as either calendar or fiscal years.
2.The period covered by season, such as crop season, shall be specified by date, i.e., "the cotton year ended August 31, 1980."
3.Price increases may be stated as follows: "Increase from (amount of increase expressed by a figure) to (amount of price after increase)" or, if it is necessary to be more specific, the price before and after increase may be stated, together with the amount of increase. Price increases may also be expressed by a single average figure.
4.Terms of measure and weight of the metric system shall be used. If necessary, for purposes of explicitness, the exact or approximate equivalent in foreign terms shall be expressed.
5.Money shall be converted in Philippine currency on the basis of actual value, and the basis for conversion shall be expressly stated.
6.Price quotations, when stated in foreign units, shall also be expressed in terms of Philippine units. For example, the foreign price of 15 francs per lb. shall be stated in terms of the Philippine unit or in the amount of pesos per kilo. If the foreign units are expressed in round figures, equivalent round figures in Philippine terms shall be stated.
7.If a foreign term is identical with a term in the Philippines, it is still necessary to show the equivalent term used in the Philippines since the quantity or value designated by a term in one country may be different from the quantity or value designated by an identical term in another country. Where the term "pesos" is used, it shall be stated whether Philippine pesos or those of some other country is meant.
8.In countries where gold and paper money have different values, the type of money designated shall be stated by giving statistics.
9.The names of obscure towns and places may be identified by:

a. giving referrence to direction and distance from a well known point;
b. giving approximate latitude and longitude;
c. naming district, province or state where said place is located;
d. submitting maps.
B."Some Reminders on the Use of the English Language" by Mr. Rodolfo Severino Jr. is also good guide. Here are some of the reminders:
1.Inform is a transitive verb. It is always with a direct object when used in the active voice. Thus, "I am pleased to acknowledge the receipt of your despatch informing the Ministry" and never say "informing that".
2.When used in the active voice, "avail" is always followed by "oneself", "myself", "itself", etc. Thus, "I avail myself of this oportunity", or "the Government will avail itself of the preferred loan". Never say "avail of".
3.The word "last" when used in referrence to months or dates should not be written together with the year, since that would be a redundancy. So it is incorrect to say "Last March 1980". It should be "Last March" or "March 1980".
4.The use of the word "local" when one means "Filipino" or "Philippine" speaks of a colonial mentality. The Foreign Office should be the last office to use it in this context. Use instead the term "domestic", or "Filipino", or "Philippine" when you wish to distinguish things pertaining to one's country from something foreign.
5."Actuation" is not a synonym for "action" or "activities" or "behavior". A reason why many Filipinos use the word "actuation" in this context is that they confuse it with spanish "actuacion", which may mean either "action" or "motivation". The English "actuation" means "motivation" so, use "actuation" only to mean "motivation", but never use it as a synonym for "action" or "behavior". It is also suggested that the term be used sparingly.
6.Phrases or sentences which use preposition incorrectly does not sound good to the ear. Unfortunately, the English language has no specific rules in this regard. The following reminders serve as guidelines on the correct use of preposition:

a. "pursuant to" and "in pursuance of"
b. "according to" and "in accordance with"
c. "consequent to"
d. "concomitant with" (please note the spelling)
e. "result in" (not "result to")
f. "result from"
g. "originate in" (not "originate from")
h. "in the direction of" ("toward that direction" is a redundancy; it is also incorrect)
7.For a vigorous and precise tone, use the active rather than the passive voice. It is better to say "the Embassy of Spain has informed the Ministry", instead of saying "the Ministry has been informed". The latter statement would raise question and doubts, unless one wants deliberately to conceal his source of information. Avoid use of impersonal statements like "It is believed" or "It has been observed". One should be responsible for one's observation or belief rather than hide behind the use of the impersonal or the passive voice.
8.Except in formal legal documents, avoid using legalistic terms like "aforementioned" or "the said" or "the same" or "thereat". Repeat the antecend, instead. Avoid saying "I have the honor to transmit the list" etc., and then continuing "in the aforementioned list" or "in the said list". Another sample of this is the following statement: "The Ministry submitted its request last week and would appreciate action on it" instead of saying "would appreciate action on the same". Use "there" rather than "thereat". It is shorter, simpler, less pretentious, and refers to the same thing.
9.Avoid using the phrase "in this connection" since it does not add emphasis to the statement of the writer. Rewrite paragraphs which frequently use such a phrase.