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I have just written a sentence on an e-mail which looks like weird to me:

provide the following details in order to enable us to provide you a proper service.

Is the structure of the sentence correct? if not, what would be the alternative to express the message?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The closer synonym for the context is to allow, so it would be like:

[...] provide the following details in order to allow us to provide you a proper service.

But, although it's a synonym of to enable, it has a slightly different meaning.

  • To allow someone has the acception of "to permit someone to do something/to give permission".
  • To enable is similar, but it has the acception of "make it possible/facilitate".

In the end, I think your choice was the best one.


Here are the other synonyms, in case you want to have a wider view, although I think none seems specifically fit for the given context:

Allow, permit, let, give the means, equip, empower, make able, fit; make possible, facilitate; authorize, entitle, qualify.

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cool. thanks ! –  tugberk May 15 '11 at 11:26
    
@tugberk: No problem! :) –  Alenanno May 15 '11 at 11:32
    
@tugberk Why did you un-accepted my answer? Something's wrong with it? –  Alenanno Oct 8 '11 at 10:10
    
did I do that? By mistake I guess, I was checking the answer today to use it in a sentence. Sorry :) –  tugberk Oct 8 '11 at 10:29
    
@tugberk No problem! I thought you changed your mind. :D –  Alenanno Oct 8 '11 at 10:36

The sentence above is a little wordy. Wile the phrase in order to can usually be edited to to, the phrase in order to enable may be edited down to "for."

provide the following details in order to enable us to provide you a proper service.

Edited:

"...provide the following details to enable us to provide you a proper service."

or

"...provide the following details for us to provide you a proper service."

-B

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@barru second one sounds great : "...provide the following details for us to provide you a proper service." thanks ! –  tugberk May 15 '11 at 14:38
1  
You can also swap out in order to enable us with so that we may. That would give you: "...provide the following details so that we may provide you with proper service." –  ajk May 15 '11 at 16:12
    
@AJ01 that is cool as well, thanks. –  tugberk May 15 '11 at 18:32

It's the end of the sentence that's wrong, note that @AJ01 corrected it to "with proper service", without comment, in his comment.

The reason is that the verb "provide" already has an object in this sentence, namely "you".

It would be correct to say "provide a service to you" or "provide you with a service", but "provide you a service" is very awkward, and "provide you a proper service" ridiculously so.

It also feels like service is being used in an uncountable way here.

In any case "serve you properly" would be far superior, and "Please provide the following details to enable us to serve you properly" feels perfectly natural.

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