Please be informed

Discussion in 'English Only' started by irjemmy, Sep 16, 2009.

  1. irjemmy Senior Member

    English
    Hi all,

    In a recent article in my local paper, a linguist avers this phrase is wrong.

    All along I thought it was just a rather formal (if not stuffy) sounding phrase.

    Can anyone clarify?
     
  2. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    The phrase by itself could be a request that someone keep themselves up to date. "Please be informed that" seems odd to me. I can't say that I know it's wrong but it seems counter-intuitive. We use "please be aware that" all the time, so I suppose "please be informed" could work, but I can't follow the logic of it.

    If I'm informing you of something I can't see how I can ask you to be informed of it. By reading it you will be informed. If you don't read it you won't see my request to be informed. Some might argue the same for "please be aware", but to me that phrase means "please be mindful/cognizant" and assumes that you will be mindful/cognizant/aware of something over a period of time. With "informed" you are either informed or you aren't. Once you are informed it's over.

    I don't think it's wrong grammatically, but it seems twisted in its logic to me.
     
  3. mplsray Senior Member

    It seems an odd thing for a linguist to say. Do you have more details?
     
  4. sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    I've often seen "Please be informed" in formal correspondence. Its use in that context doesn't strike me as eccentric or wrong.
     
  5. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima

    Singapore
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Not eccentric or wrong, but it sounds officious to me and therefore rubs me the wrong way. I would prefer someone to write 'It might be useful for you to know that ...' or 'For your information, ...'
     
  6. sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    It doesn't sound officious to me, merely formal.
     
  7. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
    It's the kind of phrase I would expect to be followed by something like:
    ... because you did not pay your gas bill within 35 minutes of receiving it, your supply will be cut off on [yesterday's date] ...
    or:
    ... because you were overdrawn on your bank account by 50p for 20 minutes on 13/09/09, we are about to charge you £25.00 for this letter plus £800.00 interest
    etc.

    Certainly not 'wrong' in any way ... it just has unpleasant associations (for me, at least).
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2009
  8. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    It would help if you tell us in which country your "local paper" is published. It seems to me to reflect that stuffiness that we colonials associate with British documents.

    It is not wrong, however. I don't know what the qualifications of the self-professed linguist might be but if he or she doesn't like "Please be informed," they might find the even more common "Please be seated," a positive pain in the bum.
     
  9. pickarooney

    pickarooney Senior Member

    Provence, France
    English (Ireland)
    I'm with JamesM. Requesting that someone have an action carried out on them seems paradoxical.
     
  10. mplsray Senior Member

    From a linguistics point of view, however, paradoxical isn't "wrong." For example, the expression head over heels in love indicates that the position of the head is no different from that which it ordinarily is, namely, over the heels, but this seeming logical hiccup does not make the expression wrong. On the contrary, as an idiom it is standard, which would normally be thought of as "right."

    That's why I wanted more information about what exactly the linguist said, because calling please be informed "wrong" seems so odd a judgment coming from that point of view.
     
  11. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    I have elected to disregard your unfounded asseveration, Mr.Graham:D

    Yes, it would be more than nice to hear back from Jemmy regarding the credentials of this 'expert'.
     
  12. sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
  13. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London
    English - England
    Please be informed that please be informed is not only stuffy - it is generally redundant. What does Please be informed that the cat sat on the mat add to The cat sat on the mat?

    I fear that nowhere is immune to woffle - which is why we so enjoy the Golden Bull Awards. http://www.plainenglish.co.uk/golden_bull_awards/
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2009
  14. DrKnowsAlot New Member

    American English
    It sounds fine to me, just a little formal.
     

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