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Trying to write a mail in English I have a problem with the following sentence:

Only free shipping of the product will be asked

I tried many ways to tell that using other words, other formulations … but I still can’t figure if there is some ambiguity or not about the fact that both the shipping itself and the product should be free and not just the delivery.

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closed as too localized by MετάEd, FumbleFingers, Lynn, Robusto, tchrist Aug 13 '12 at 17:58

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I hope that this question is not off-topic here. If it is, let me know and I'll remove it. –  user24641 Aug 8 '12 at 11:27
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I'm afraid there is way more ambiguity than that. "Only free shipping of the product will be asked" is not a sentence that makes sense to me, even with your explanation. –  RegDwigнt Aug 8 '12 at 11:31
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Oh, thanks. I wanted to say "The only thing that will be asked is that the product must be given for free as well as his shipping". Any way to say it more correctly ? –  user24641 Aug 8 '12 at 11:38
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You can cover everything unambiguously in six words: "Product and shipping are both free." –  Robusto Aug 8 '12 at 12:11
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@Robusto's sentence is consistent with "We offer the product and its delivery free", while the original is consistent with "We request that the product and its delivery be free". Note, "consistent with" is not the same as "equivalent to". –  jwpat7 Aug 8 '12 at 17:27
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1 Answer 1

up vote 0 down vote accepted

We request that you provide the product without charge, including shipping.

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That means don't charge for the product, but include the cost of shipping in our bill, right? –  jwpat7 Aug 8 '12 at 17:28
    
I don't think it would be read like that. Including shipping is a modifier of without charge. But if you can read it differently, it probably is not totally free of ambiguity. –  bib Aug 8 '12 at 17:48
    
Although I'm not a native speaker, I read it as it seems intended to be read ( that is: both are free ). But "We request" seems a bit too imperative, like an order. Or maybe not ? I'm not sure if I'm right. Anyway, thank you ! –  user24641 Aug 9 '12 at 9:57
    
We request would seem polite to most native speakers. You could make it even softer by making it a question - Would you please provide the product without charge, including shipping? –  bib Aug 9 '12 at 12:46
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