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Tulsa, OK
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I work in the construction industry and "Please advise" is a common term used when writing an RFI (Request for Information). The RFI is question or confirmation sent to the architect for clarification, elaboration, direction, confirmation, etc. in order modify the contract/bid documents the contractor/subcontractor have bid or are bidding. So after writing thousands of RFI's throughout my career, I finally wondered why is there a squiggly green line under advise and then found this blog entry. I believe "Please advise." is less personal and more professional, which is why it works well for the construction industry. Depending on the matter we'll use "Please clarify" or "Please confirm", which are grammatically incorrect. However, because the RFI becomes a matter of record in the documents, it seems like personal pronouns are not appropriate. I understand it is needed in a majority of other situations. In any case, "Please advise/confirm/clarify" all express a level of professionalism when requesting a formal response just by how it sounds. In the construction industry and most other businesses, excluding personal pronouns is avoiding a conflict with an architect's or engineer's ego. By simply using impersonal pronouns, we bypass the potential for drama. EXAMPLE: Reference 4/CS502 – The detail references CS301 for the retaining wall’s profile, but the sheet is not included within the Bid Documents. Please advise. If I were to follow with "Please advise us of the missing page", it may be construed as criticism, thereby triggering an ego. I do not have time for egos. Many professional writing instructors teach otherwise, but I believe maintaining a rigid, professional writing style and structure goes a long way. With that said, by not personalizing "Please advise", the writer is required to provide enough information for the architect or engineer to deduce what is being requested.
Toggle Commented Jul 18, 2013 on The "Please Advise" Habit at Business Writing
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Jul 18, 2013