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In business writing and especially email, the phrase is often used as:

Please find enclosed our price list.

Please find attached the updated contract.

Please find herewith my expense report for ice cream.

While I often use it myself, I find that it sounds a bit off. How did this sentence construction come to be? The grammar doesn't seem to add up: what are the parts of this sentence?

The words enclosed, attached, or herewith looks like it should be a separate clause, perhaps:

Please find (enclosed) the photo of my cat.

Please find, enclosed, the photo of my cat.

Is it more correct with the use of a comma?

Another variant I've seen is with the reverse word order:

Attached please find your daughter's report card.

Does this word order make it any better?

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My preferred version is "Enclosed, please find..." –  onomatomaniak Oct 2 '11 at 6:59
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1 Answer 1

“To find x y” is a common construction in English, though it usually takes an object pronoun:

I find him quite dashing.

I find myself lost for words.

This presumably comes from a shortening of “to find that x is y”.

I think that analysis applies equally well to “find x enclosed/attached/herewith”. I think we can attribute the fronting of the adjective—whether before the object or further before the verb—to the usual shifts in word order that accompany formal language.

Following please find your examples, reordered:

Please find our price list enclosed.

Please find the updated contract attached.

Please find my expense report for ice cream herewith.

Please find your daughter's report card attached.

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I find much better your reordered examples. A great Jedi you will be! If the fronted construction comes from a shortening of "find that...", it still doesn't explain the position of the object in the sentence: "I find quite dashing him" doesn't fly. I don't understand the "usual shifts in word order that accompany formal language" -- which way is more formal? –  Andrew Vit Oct 16 '11 at 20:49
    
If I understand what you are saying correctly "to find that x is y" would orginally have been "I find that he is quite dashing." So in that form the please find enclosed would be "Please find that our price list is enclosed". It still doesn't work the same because in the dashing statement x is the subject and dashing is an adjective describing the subject. But "price list" is the subject and, I guess "is enclosed" is the adjective. I believe my confusion is with the phrase "please find." This is not a request. I think it should be something along the lines of "for your convenience/records". –  user20560 Apr 26 '12 at 17:59
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protected by Jasper Loy Apr 26 '12 at 19:49

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