English Usage

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Hello, I love english but I am not a native english speaker. So, it will be always difficult for me. I needed some clarifications.

 

For an example, if someone tells me that I am very grateful for your help, You have been amazing. I normally say it's my pleasure. I am glad that I could help. What else can i say to leave an impact?

 

Sometimes, people tell me that i am not a computer literate or technology friendly, I am new to this. I normally say I understand. What else I could say to address their point? Something like they should feel it's common problem and nothing to be sorry.

 

Sometimes, people tell me that I was confused. I say, I can understand the confusion. Is it correct English? What else could have been used?

 

1. Can you provide me some statements for best wishes like, I wish you best, have a good one, I hope you won't face this problem in future.

 

2. For empathy, like I know what you have gone through, I understand your problem, I wish I could do something to help you.

 

3. If I provide some steps what different statements can I use? Like, you can follow above steps. Above are the steps, let me walk you through the steps.

asked Feb 15 '13 at 11:39 Abhi Chris New member

3 answers


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Abhi, these are great questions, and I hope I, and perhaps others on this site, can help you.

 

First, let me edit your questions, to suggest better ways to say things, and grammatically-correct revisions:

 

Hello. I love English but I am not a native English speaker so it will always be difficult for me. I need some clarifications.

 

For example, if someone says to me, "I am very grateful for your help. You have been amazing," I normally say "It's my pleasure. I am glad that I could help." What else can I say to make an impact?

 

Sometimes, people tell me that I am not computer-literate or tech-savvy, because I am new to this. I normally say "I understand". What else could I say to address their point? Something that means they should feel it's a common problem and nothing to be sorry about.

 

Sometimes, people tell me that they are confused. I say that I can understand their confusion. Is it correct English? What else could I say?

 

1. Can you provide me some other expressions that encourage people, or wish them well, including farewell greetings, similar to "I wish you the best," "Have a good one," and "I hope you won't face this problem in the future"?

 

2. Can you suggest any other expressions that communicate empathy, like "I know what you have gone through", "I understand your problem", and "I wish I could do something to help you"?

 

 3. If I provide some steps to solve a problem or achieve a task, what different expressions can I use, similar to "You can follow the above steps," and "Let me walk you through the steps."

 

Please let me know if you have any questions about the changes I have made.

 

Now let me try to answer the three questions.

 

1.  Encouraging someone, wishing them well, and giving a farewell greeting are all quite, or at least somewhat, different.  I will suggest some alternative expressions for each.

 

Encouraging someone:  Other expressions would be Don't give up!Keep on truckin' (that one is very casual), Keep on keeping onYou can do it!, One step a time, Rome wasn't built in a day, Keep your eye on the prize, I hope everything works out, I hope you can sort it out, I hope things start looking up for you soon, and maybe there are many others.  Several of the expressions I have suggested here have different nuances, and would be used in some situations and not others.  Please let me know if you have any questions about those.

 

Wishing someone well: Good luck (with it), I wish you all the best, I hope everything goes/continues to go well, and Have a great time.  Again, there may be many others, and the ones I have suggested have different nuances.

 

Giving a farewell greetingTake care (of yourself), Have a good day/eveningSee you later, and Until next time.  There are probably many others.

 

2.  First of all, the present continuous version of your example, I know what you are going through is more common, but a revised version of yours would be appropriate if the problem has already been solved: I can relate to what you went through.  Other expressions: I can definitely relate, I've been there, and I've been in the same/a similar situation myself.

 

3.  Your first example sentence is only appropriate in a written text, like an email or procedure manual.  Even more importantly, can must definitely be changed to should, or the entire phrase should be rephrased in the imperative, Take the above steps, to make it sound stronger. (Using the imperative is probably the best option if you are describing rules.) Using above in an instruction is only appropriate when the steps have already been outlined.  If they have not already been outlined, and you are instead introducing them, the expression should instead be You should take/Take the following steps.   

 

Your second example is only appropriate in spoken English, or casual written communications like an informal email. (Email is becoming more and more informal...)

 

Alternative expressions in written English: Please conduct the above/following steps in sequence, and Please follow the above-noted/following procedure step-by-step.

 

Alternative expressions in spoken English: Let's review the steps/procedure, Let's go over the steps, Let me take you through the steps.

 

I hope this helps.

link edited Feb 15 '13 at 14:08 Shawn Mooney Expert

I appreciate all your help. I must clarify that I need answers only for written communication (chat and email). I think this will change your answer little bit. I should have clarified that I work in online customer support.

Abhi ChrisFeb 15 '13 at 16:13

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I can recommend Swan's book Practical English Usage. My bible when I was a teacher of EFL!

link answered Feb 15 '13 at 14:54 Peter Barlow New member

I will try to find this book. Thank you so much.

Abhi ChrisFeb 15 '13 at 16:20

Here's the link.

http://www.mediafire.com/?31g99cpvd8pbj0f

Abhi ChrisFeb 15 '13 at 16:20

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Abhi, your comment to Shawn’s answer didn’t surprise me at all.  When I read your post, I knew instantly that you were taking about online chat customer support.  I have read most of these responses before and we can call them “canned responses.”  I appreciate your effort here to improve your skills at work, and will offer my insights from the perspective of someone in the US.

 

First, I’ll explain what a canned response is.  This means that the writer or speaker is following a script, most often one that the employer has provided to ensure appropriate responses.  The phrase comes from the movie business, I believe.  When film was used in the early days, and the movie was completed and ready to be shipped to the movie theater, the reel was placed in a reel-shaped can.  Once the film is in the can, it won’t be changed.  The script will no longer be edited.  The words will always be the same, every time it is viewed.  It is in the can.  A canned response is one that has been scripted and does not change each time the question is asked. 

 

Native speakers can recognize when English is not the native language of the writer or speaker.  Though customer service people use scripted speech here in the US, many people don’t realize it because it sounds natural.  I’ll venture to say that the majority of people in the US do not want their customer service calls, chat, or emails to be answered by someone in India.  The main reasons for this are sentiments about unemployment levels here at home, and language barriers that make it difficult to understand the customer support agent.  I have had some terribly frustrating experiences myself. 

 

Your first question is “What else can I say to leave an impact?”  We have a frequent participant on this forum from India.  Whether he knows it or not, Sanjay has taught me a lot about your culture and manner.  One thing I have noticed is that the people of India tend to be very polite and complementary when communicating.  In fact, it feels much too polite and complementary to our American ears.  We call it “over the top” and it sounds forced and insincere.  You do not have to try to “leave an impact” on someone who has made the comments you have provided here. The person is telling you that you have already left an impact.  The replies of “It’s my pleasure” and “I am glad that I could help” are perfect.  They don’t sound canned, either.  Trying harder to leave a bigger impact will surely have a negative effect. We have a saying: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  These responses do not need improvement.

 

Your next question is a little confusing because of some missing punctuation.  I think that you mean the customer says, “I am not computer literate.”  Without the question marks, it seems that they are accusing you of not being computer literate.  In addition to Shawn’s suggestions, I imagine the book Peter suggested might help you become more conversational. 

It’s okay, let’s see if we can figure out your problem.

No problem, that’s why I’m here – to help you get this fixed.

 

If someone tells you that you are confused or that you don’t understand, Abhi, do NOT reply with “I understand the confusion.”  You have just argued with them.  This is a signal that the language barrier is too great and the customer will to get no help with their problem.  The anger and frustration level will rise immediately.  You will have one very dissatisfied customer on your hands.  While the sentence itself is grammatically correct, I don’t think it is what you mean to say.  Instead, apologize and show that you want to understand.  “I’m sorry, let’s try this again.”  Then, have the person go through the problem in smaller steps.  First this happened, then that, then I did this… Make sure you both understand each other for each step.  When you get to a step that is different than how you first understood it, you can say something like, “Oh, I see what you mean.” 

 

Shawn gave some good examples of sentiments for best wishes.  I would steer clear of “I hope you won’t face this problem in the future” in most cases.  It implies that you only helped them temporarily.  There are some times that it may certainly apply, though.  Let’s say there are two solutions. The permanent solution is expensive, but there is a temporary (“band-aid”) solution.  With the band-aid solution, the problem might stay resolved, but it might recur.  If the customer is aware of this, then hoping they won’t have the problem again is quite appropriate. 

 

For empathy, your responses are fine.  If you want it to sound less like scripted speech, you can add words like oh, wow, yikes or other informal language.  This will work better with the chat than in email. 
Wow. That has to be frustrating.  Yikes, let’s get this fixed for you. Oh, I understand what you are going through.

link comment answered Feb 16 '13 at 14:18 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

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