Wednesday, March 19, 2008

英文商業書信的簽名是放在信的右下角還是左下角?

我1980年代開始學英文,和一般人沒有什麼二樣。在台灣上了國中英文,高中英文,大一英文,後來出國唸書,自己看英文雜誌學習,但是我並沒有修過英文商業書信這一堂課。

這7 年來我發覺一個很有趣的現象: 我看到很多信用卡公司,廣告公司寄帳單或資料給我時,他們cover letter 的簽名都放在左下角,只有少數公司的簽名是放在右下角。我感到很困惑。為何? 因為在台灣,那時我遇到的國中老師和高中老師的英文教學都是教簽名要放在右下角, 因為這是標準格式。我那時覺得到底誰對誰錯?感覺好像都可以,但是我覺得 90% 的信都放在左下角的簽名居多。後來久而久之也就習慣了,也沒有去探討原因為何?

有一次問斯汀這個問題,她在西雅圖大學有修過商用英文的課。她和我說: 她有看過這二種方式,只不過是格式不同。我感到很訝異。難道英文的商業書信的簽名也有分格式嗎?幸好她還有那本書,我看完之後完全解決我的疑惑!

台灣國中老師和高中老師的英文教學都是教簽名要放在右下角是對的嗎? 答案對。那簽名放在左下角也對嗎? 答案也對。這二個答案也讓我感到訝異!

書中說: 如果你是 1970 年代學英文的話,現今稱做 Modified Semi-Block 格式的商業書信,那時較嚴謹。但現在商業潮流已朝向簡單化邁進,提供了很多的選擇。作者提了六種格式,我不需要把格式列出來,因為基本上是大同小異。我發覺一個很有趣的現象:

1. Block 格式: 日期在左上角, 簽名在左下角。
2. Modified Block 格式: 日期在右上角, 簽名在右下角。
3. Modified Semi-Block格式 : 日期在右上角, 簽名在右下角。
4. Simplified格式: 日期在左上角, 簽名在左下角。
5. Hanging Indented格式: 日期在右上角, 簽名在右下角。
6. Memorandum格式: 日期在左上角, 簽名在右下角。

第 3 種就是我國中,高中學的-日期在右上角, 簽名在右下角。但是作者全書後面的範例 (催收信函,銷售和促銷信函,感謝信函..等) 幾乎100% 都是日期在左上角, 簽名在左下角。真是有趣,也解決我疑惑! 是不是還有其他的格式呢? 我並沒有興趣知道,因為我只要懂一種就可以了。

為何作者的範例幾乎100% 都是日期在左上角, 簽名在左下角呢?我猜應該是受到電腦如MS Office 的影響。你認為呢?

下次有機會的話,不妨看看你的廣告信函的簽名是放在信的右下角還是左下角呢? 難道會出現上述6種格式之外的情況嗎? 你會將簽名放在信的右下角還是左下角呢?

延伸閱讀:
為何很多美國同事寫Email 英文時都不喜歡加逗點?

6 comments:

MoleWisdom.M said...

Having the signature on the lower left is much more popular now. With most people using email (where having to align the signature to the lower right is difficult), lower left is becoming the norm.

I think lower right looks better but lower left looks more uniform.

Ray said...

I totally agree with you. Using email with the lower right signature is too weird in my mind.
The popular one is on the lower left now.

Crystal Tseng said...

A memorandum is not considered as a letter, so it does not really need a signature to close the communication. You can sign the intials of your name next to your name, which is in the top of the memorandum.


Memorandum
To:
From: Frank Lee <<---sign "F.L." here.
Date:
Subject:

bodytext balabala...

Ray said...

Crystal,
Your reply is interesting. I can't say the author is wrong in his book. I think he regards a memorandum as a business letter. He also mentions your way on the top of the letter and it has the signature too.

I just google it and I find the signature in memorandum is optional. In some cases, it is a letter like Bill Clinton's memo to the government. Bill signed his name too.

You are am excellent student. Why not ask your professors and share their opinions with us? That would be so great.

Crystal Tseng said...

Hi Ray,

I am sorry. I guess I did not say it clearly. I was not trying to correct you; I just shared you with the common format for "now." As you have also known, the format for business letters or any other communications change with time. And the format I mentioned earlier was the very format that my professor taught in our class. If any more questions, please let me know.

(哈哈....這台電腦能打中文,我打中文好了)
還有我同意那個大人物愛怎麼簽就怎麼簽。我個人認為書信的細節格式都是規定給我們這些菜鳥用的,很多上頭的人會依菜鳥有沒有照規則走而判斷他們被尊重的程度。我想就跟一個資深作家如果寫了一堆所謂文法上稱fragement的東西,也沒有人會覺得他不懂或不會寫,反而會被視為是該作家的風格。

anyway, newbrand還是要留意一下當時的潮流。^^

Ray said...

Crystal,
The format I mentioned earlier was the very format that my professor taught in our class.
--- It seems that we are getting old now. hehe

We should learn something new now because time changes fast and rules change too.

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