"urge"-gaijin input requested

Discussion started on English Language Teaching

Seconded. 'urge' is acceptable usage in a letter like that.
#4 - November 13, 2010, 09:42:52 AM
BrainDeath, Captain, The...

I totally agree with you, Louise.  The letter, with "ask" sounds very weak and not at all impelling.  "Urge" is not rude, but is forceful, so would be much better to be used in place of "ask" in this letter.

#3 - November 12, 2010, 03:28:16 PM

Hi gang.  Any opinions about the letter below?

Thanks a bunch,  louise
On Nov 9, 2010, at 12:29 AM, Kenji wrote:

I am developing materials for this coming writing marathon.
In the material, we usually put a  sample letter to the government.
In such letters, I think it is appropriate to use polite words.

So, I prefer to use "ask" instead of "urge" or "call for"
For example,

Dear Attorney General,

I am concerned that  a leader of a women's rights organization, Norma Cruz, has received numerous death threats for her work, and that despite an investigation into this the threats continue and nobody has yet been brought to justice.

I  would like to ask you to carry out a swift, full and impartial investigation into the death threats against human rights defender Norma Cruz, and to ensure those responsible are brought to justice.

I would like to ask you to ensure that human rights defenders including those campaigning on violence against women, are able to carry out their work without fear of reprisals.

I would like to ask you to adopt a Protocol of Investigation to ensure attacks on human rights defenders are investigated promptly and effectively, in consultation with human rights defenders in Guatemala.

Sincerely yours,


On Nov 9, 2010, at 8:25 AM, louise wrote:

About your question,  I think it's fine, although I personally would not use "would like to ask" because the feeling of the phrase is too weak.  "Urge" is not a rude word. It's direct, but not at all rude. It gives the feeling that the writer feels strongly, but is not pushing the other person.  I very often say in UA letters "I very strongly urge you to ......" however one way to make it direct but more polite might be to mix strong words with polite words, for example:  "I urge you to please......" or "I strongly urge you to please...."  I must leave right away to teach at the university. I will ask other "gaijin" at the university what their opinions are about your letter. There are a few minor grammar changes I would recommend in your letter below, but it's fine as it is if you are in a hurry.
#2 - November 11, 2010, 09:15:09 AM


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