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  • Topic

    Verwendung von "kindly"

    Wenn ich höflich bitte verwende ich oft "kindly". Ist das so eigentlich korrekt? Beispiel:

    Wir moechten sie höflichst bitten, dieses oder jenes zu tuen.

    We kindly ask you to ....?
    AuthorThiloC (122557) 07 Mar 08, 12:29
    I'd suggest that if you're using it often, then you're using it too much. Try formulating the sentence with 'please' 90% and 'kindly' 10%! That said, "We kindly ask you to..." is acceptable.
    #1AuthorJo UK07 Mar 08, 15:48
    Good question. For some reason, a lot of German speakers seem to want to use 'kindly' a lot. I have the feeling it used to be taught in 'business English' courses. But in modern English, it almost always sounds very wrong to me.

    I would go even farther than Jo and say that 'We kindly ask you' is wrong, at least, not at all idiomatic. It is probably not particularly kind of us to ask you; otherwise we wouldn't have to be especially polite about it, would we? And we are not asking in a particularly kind way or manner; that doesn't even really make sense, unless we want to suggest that we usually ask people meanly or rudely.

    The real point is that we want you to be kind and do as we ask. To my ears, the grammatically and logically correct way to use the word 'kind' in this context is

    Would you be so kind as to (do sth.)?

    (I've put the word 'as' in boldface because it's a mistake to leave it out.)

    However, that phrasing is usually less polite, because it's so very formal and stiff. It's really more like 'Würden Sie gefälligst ... ' It could be polite, if you were speaking to a person and it was clear from your tone of voice that you meant it in a nice way, but it's not a phrase you would normally use in a letter.

    So how do you simply ask someone politely to do something, in a normal way? I agree with Jo: the word you need is 'Please' (and at the end, 'Thank you.') If you want to be more polite, add a phrase with the word 'appreciate':

    Please return the signed forms as soon as possible. Thank you.
    We would appreciate it if you would/could return the signed forms as soon as possible. Thank you very much (for your attention to this matter).

    (I've put the word 'it' in boldface because it's a mistake to leave it out.)

    Hope that helps. (-:

    #2Author hm -- us (236141) 07 Mar 08, 20:16
    I'm trying to think of other contexts where you might want to ask people something. For example, in a public place, you often soften statements by starting with 'would like to':

    We would like to ask you to turn off all cell phones and chiming watches. Thank you, and enjoy the performance.

    But if you were printing that on a sign or in a program, you would just write 'Please (be sure to) turn off ...'

    If none of that seems right for your context, give us another example. (-:
    #3Author hm -- us (236141) 07 Mar 08, 20:21
    @ hm-us

    (I've put the word 'it' in boldface because it's a mistake to leave it out.)

    Hm, there are quite a few UK pages, and among them many "" sites that use the phrase "would appreciate if you could...". Are you sure that this is not another BE/AE issue?

    #4Authorpuffin nicht eingeloggt07 Mar 08, 22:27
    Interesting question; I don't know, sorry. I would have imagined it was more of a sloppy thinking or typing issue. It does seem possible that even native speakers (AE as well as BE) might have only heard the phrase spoken quickly and indistinctly, so they just haven't consciously heard the word and may not realize it needs to be there.

    I would be interested to know whether Mike (BE), Marianne, Phillipp, Anne (GB), etc. are bugged by it. If not, you could be right.

    But logically, I can't really think why. After all, you can't just say 'I appreciate'; you have to say 'I appreciate it,' 'I appreciate that,' 'I appreciate your help,' etc. It's a transitive verb. (Unless it means to increase in value, but that's not relevant here.)
    #5Author hm -- us (236141) 07 Mar 08, 22:38
    I just wondered because when I returned from the States I always used the phrase the same way as you suggested "would appreciate it if ...". Then, starting to work as a translator for a German authority I was told by my colleagues to leave out the "it". A Google check verified that both versions are possible, and if "their" version was good enough for the BBC and The Guardian and various governmental agencies and authorities, who was I to disagree?

    #6Authorpuffin nicht eingeloggt07 Mar 08, 22:54
    In my businness correspondence class (30 years ago, American high school) , we were taught:

    Would you please be so kind as to...

    I used this "standard phrase" until about 8 years ago, when I realized that the rest of the US had quit doing so :-)) (although I made an exception when corresponding with my French colleagues in English, because they used it, too)

    #7Author Carly-AE (237428) 07 Mar 08, 23:32
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