Writing for Business

Oct 23 2009   12:11PM GMT

Please RSVP?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
We’re planning a festive meal and special surprises for employees and their guests, so _______.
b. please RSVP

Answer: a

RSVP stands for repondez s’il vous plait, which translates to please reply. So if you include please here, you’re saying “please, please reply.” Unless you’re begging, one please is probably enough.

(Of course, as many administrative staff members know, it sometimes seems like you do have to beg to get a response from employees. But that’s another issue.)

Another tip: It’s okay to say “RSVP by Friday” but don’t say “RSVP in advance.” If we can’t assume that people will respond to invitations before the events in question — rather than after they’re over — it pretty much defeats the purpose.

Grammar Girl offers more examples of annoying redundancies.

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5  Comments on this Post

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  • lindaa
    most people dont know the real meaning of RSVP, they assume RSVP means response to the event etc, in that case, "we are having an event, so RSVP" can sound very rude without a word "please"
    10 pointsBadges:
  • abadvany
    It's like Chai tea.   It's so ignorant to say Chai tea because Chai means tea.  It would be MUCH more proper to call it "south Asian spiced tea".
    30 pointsBadges:
  • yodadadude
    It might be worth noting that "repondez s’il vous plait" literally means "respond, if you please", as far as I know. Perhaps "repondez", in context, is better translated as "reply".
    It seems to me that this rather-elegant wording is representative of usage in the pre-Revolutionary French Court.

    50 pointsBadges:
  • trlrprkcon
    How's about..... "RSVP......... Damn it"   =)
    BTW, RSVP is pronounced "C-VOO-PLay" 
    30 pointsBadges:
  • trlrprkcon
    HEHEHE....ooops, i forgot to give the phonetic spelling of the "R" in RSVP, I live in Cajun country so we use the "SVP" part of "RSVP" fairly often so I came back to correct my "RA-PON-DEH",... C-VOO-PLAY?
    30 pointsBadges:

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