English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What does "to this effect" in the following sentence mean? (This sentence is in a reply of an application).

However, if you are not successful, we will inform you to this effect.

Does this mean, if I failed I will still get informed(by a mail or phone-call) or if I failed, I will have no idea that I have failed already?

share|improve this question
It means: if you fail, then they will inform you that you fail. – GEdgar Apr 27 '12 at 14:44
@GEdgar hi, i searched the internet for definition, it seems that "to that effect", "to the effect" has a defined meaning, but not "to this effect". A friend told me that it means: "in this sense", would you agree with this meaning? – Sheldon Apr 27 '12 at 14:47
I'm not quite sure how it could mean the latter. Could you explain your reasoning? "We will inform you X" can only mean "we will not inform you" if the X somehow amounts to "not", and I'm not quite sure how "to this effect" can leave such an impression on you. – RegDwigнt Apr 27 '12 at 14:49
@RegDwightΒВBẞ8 Hi, sorry, English is not my first language, so maybe I am not aware of this. I am asking because it's been quite some time since my applcation, and I haven't received any interview message nor rejection letter. SO i was wondering if they won't even inform me when I fail. (Like a double check.) :) – Sheldon Apr 27 '12 at 14:52
In this example: "this effect" is "you are not successful". So "you are not successful" is what you will be informed of (if in fact you are not successful). – GEdgar Apr 27 '12 at 14:53
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Here, "to this effect" is a specific instance of "to the effect" where "this" refers to the demonstrated meaning in the sentence.

Really, the phrase could be replaced with "thus" - ie "we will inform you thus", even more plainly, "we will inform you that you were not successful"

share|improve this answer

I think OP's example is someone's misguided idea of "formal" writing style. Google Books reports barely a couple of dozen written instances. But it just looks stilted and clumsy to me. The addition of to this effect conveys nothing at all here, since the statement already says you'll be informed if you're unsuccessful.

The standard formal usage "to this effect we will [do sth]" means in order to effect (achieve) this.

share|improve this answer

If I'm not mistakening , they meant with this result we will inform you.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.