How to insist in a letter

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Flying Colors

Member
Russian
Hi,

I am writing a business letter and I don't know how to politely insist in email. On one hand I want the reader to meet my request (I have a right for it) and on the other hand I don't want it to look too harsh. (I am making this request for the 2nd time, the 1st one wasn't satified)

I know I have to provide examples but I am at sea here. I was thinking about: "I respectfully request..." but I have no idea what native speakers will think out of it.

Can you help me, please?
 
  • Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    A British person would probably insist while apologising at the same time:

    "I'm sorry, but I really must insist that..."
    This is true, and not so far from what an American would do, except that we would probably be even less polite. On the most to least polite scale, which is unfortunately also the weakest to strongest scale:

    I request
    I insist
    I demand

    You can soften all of them with polite words:

    I humbly request
    I'm afraid I must insist
    With all due respect, I demand

    Be sure that you make your expectations clear.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    A British person would probably insist while apologising at the same time:
    It depends what it is that you are waiting for. If it's money or it's an overdue delivery that has already been paid for there's little point in being nice.

    Our invoice 123 remains overdue for payment. In accordance with our terms of business we demand immediate payment with interest.
     

    Truffula

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    I think you can use "require" rather than "demand" which means the same thing without the overtones of seeming to expect to encounter resistance.

    So Andygc's sentence would become "In accordance with our terms of business we require immediate payment with interest."

    You can somewhat soften "demand" and "insist" with "must" as Sparky has already mentioned above. So maybe "In accordance with our terms of business we must demand immediate payment with interest" because that implies you don't really expect resistance, but the rules say you have to demand it (at least that's my theory why it is politer sounding).

    You can also just tell them they have to do it using "must" without "demand" or "insist," too. You didn't say what the request was but here's a couple examples.

    "As specified in our contract, you must render payment by January 31st."
    "This letter is to inform you that you must vacate the property no later than April 3rd."
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    The word "demand" has a meaning in law (in Britain) when pursuing a debt. I was following the context provided from the perspective of debt recovery
    (I am making this request for the 2nd time, the 1st one wasn't satified)
    I used "demand" because this should, from the context and if referring to a debt, be a "final demand", which is the step before legal action. My email would open with the heading "Final demand for payment". Of course, if it's not a final demand then "require" would be fine.
     

    Flying Colors

    Member
    Russian
    Andygc, Truffula thank you for adding so much infromation, it is going to be very useful to me. :)

    Having read your examples I think I may have chosen the wrong words to describe my situation. It's not that grave.)
    I am sorry, I am still not very good with the formal language and its nuances.
    The thing is I need them to send me some documents.

    So, can I write one of these:
    • I am sorry but I must repeat my request for sending me the documents as I need them for ... .
    Or
    • I am sorry but I must require you to sent me the documents as I need them for ... .
    Or
    • I am sorry but I must require that you sent me the documents as I need them for ... .
    ?

    And I can add smth about my right to require these documents as an extra incentive.:rolleyes:
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    In that context?

    "I am sorry but I must repeat my request for you to send me the documents as I need them for ... ."
     

    Truffula

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Flying Colors - yes, you are right (about use of "I am sorry but I must require" or "I am sorry but I must repeat my request for")

    Also please heed what Andygc says: "require you to send" or "request for you to send" or "require that you send" should be there, rather than "request for sending" or "require you to sent" or "require that you sent"
     
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