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Is it frowned upon to use “S'il vous plaît” instead of SVP or S.V.P. in formal letters?

  • Where exactly in a formal letter ? I'd answer no, as I would ask the opposite question : Is it frowned upon to abreviate it instead of using the full form ? — but I'm no good at formal letters. – Nikana Reklawyks Jan 30 '13 at 22:41
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    An abbreviated SVP is often found at the end of tactless authoritative requests. I believe it could be considered rude, unless a real lack of space can explain it. – Stéphane Gimenez Jan 30 '13 at 23:19
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If you're going to write some form of it, use “s'il vous plaît ”. Abbreviating it would appear like authoritative rudeness in full text (unlike in formulas like “Tournez SVP” near the bottom of the page, for instance).

Now, depending on how you phrase it, it can easily seem you're begging for someone's will, which may not be what you want to express. Alternatives could go :

  • Pourriez-vous …
  • Je vous serai(s) obligé de bien vouloir …
  • Veuillez … [, s'il vous plaît]

depending on how formal it is, and especially on the balance of powers.

  • Yeah I ended up going with "Veuillez...". It sounds nice and doesn't seem too "needy" ... if that makes sense. Thanks. – n0pe Jan 31 '13 at 12:08
  • Veuillez should come with very big warnings ! Veuillez accepter ceci is fine but Veuillez faire ceci sounds very very authoritative. For example “Veuillez me répondre rapidement.” alone is a commandment, “s'il vous plaît” would only make it slightly less painful to read. (If a reason is provided though, it might become acceptable.) – Stéphane Gimenez Jan 31 '13 at 20:35
  • @StéphaneGimenez: Indeed, all depends on what comes after. There's “ Veillez remplir (whatnot)”, in the authoritative but acceptable domain, also. Depending on situations, sounding needy can be just as undesirable as sounding authoritative, so it's hard to go further whithout being more specific. – Nikana Reklawyks Jan 31 '13 at 20:57
  • Je pense qu'il y a deux exceptions: * TSVP écrit seul en fin de page * RSVP comme statut de réponse à une invitation – rds Apr 19 '13 at 8:48
3

In formal letters, I don't use “s'il vous plait” nor any abbreviate form. “S'il vous plait” is in my opinion more frequently used in oral conversations, for example when you buy bread. Possibly in an e-mail…

  • I must say I agree with this answer. However, peut-être auriez-vous l'aimable obligence de proposer des alternatives ? – Stéphane Gimenez Jan 30 '13 at 23:28

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