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I'm not an English native, and as it often happens, I've lost something in translation. I asked a travel agent to 'send me a quote' for a travel we've worked on, and in response I got his logo and company's mission statement. uh ?

Needless to say, this sent me a while back in time, trying to figure out when I started to use 'quote'... There's probably quite a few people (I worked in sales back then) who wrongly thought I was asking for an extra-pinch of wit during our email correspondence.

So my question to you is the following: should I say 'Cloud you please send me a quote' or 'Could you please send me a quotation' ?

More generally, should I say 'get a quote' or 'get a quotation' ? Does that depends on the country ?

thank you !

PS: And when you type 'quote' in the stack exchange keyword box, it says 'questions related to semi-famous quotations' (!)

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    "quote" is 100% OK. if the person sent you a "mission statement" it was nothing more than an accident, or they are silly. "quote" is 100% ok. – Fattie Jun 10 '15 at 13:28
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    Who the hell down-voted my question ? It's a real one, and Cambridge dictionary says 'Informal for quotation'. English is all about usage, has many variations across countries, so it makes sense to ask. – Alex Jun 10 '15 at 13:41
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    For the "pricing" context, quote has definitely become the preferred form in recent decades. – FumbleFingers Jun 10 '15 at 14:51
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    Just in passing, I work in journalism, so if I ask someone for a "quote" then what I'm expecting to get back is a few well-chosen words. I can just about imagine a situation where I'd end up hilariously at cross-purposes with someone whose mind jumped to the other meaning. But in this case, it sounds most likely to me that they simply attached the wrong file. – Morton Jun 13 '15 at 18:52
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    That's exactly what the person did, 'a few well-chosen words' hence the company's logo and mission's statement :) He had done it in good faith, I checked with him later. – Alex Jun 14 '15 at 19:47
2

Quote or quotation is the same thing... I work in purchasing and generally request a "quote" (RFQ)

  • And that will be my answer, with a pinch of attention to the English flavour. Are you British ? – Alex Jun 15 '15 at 20:39
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I have never heard anyone ask for a "quotation" on a product or service here in America. Things may be different over the pond, but here you usually just ask for a "quote." A "quotation" is usually something for which you would consult Bartlett's (a book of famous people's words), not your insurance company (for a price estimate on a policy).

  • That explains why Quora as a US company uses 'quotations' for 'semi-famous people's words' while British would use quote. American English vs British English. Ok, I feel better now. – Alex Jun 15 '15 at 20:38
  • @Alex: Americans also use "quote" with the meaning of "semi-famous people's words". – sumelic Jun 15 '15 at 22:05
0

Your correspondent's decision not to send a quote/ quotation may reflect volatility in the price of fuel, or other complications in the travel arrangements.

A British business advice site observes:

A quotation is a fixed price offer that can't be changed once accepted by the customer. This holds true even if you have to carry out much more work than you expected.
An estimate is an educated guess at what a job may cost - but it isn't binding.

Is it possible that your request was refused, even though it was quite clear?

  • If the correspondent couldn't fulfill the request, wouldn't you expect him to say so, rather than just send a generic form letter? – Barmar Jun 10 '15 at 22:19
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    The correspondent could fulfil the request, but he understood something different and sent me a quotation when I later added context to my request. So the whole quiproquo was about quote = quotation (and not estimate) vs quote = 'phrase/sentence '. Just to say that even for stack exchange 'quotes' (as in semi-famous sentences') is equal to 'quotations'. English is the most context-sensitive western language I know, which makes it hard for non english speakers like me to get its subtleties. – Alex Jun 14 '15 at 19:31
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I've never heard "quotation" used in this context in the States, but in Australia, I have seen/heard both "quote" and "quotation". Therefore, I assume that "quotation" is a British thing, but everyone should understand "quote" because most accounting software that generates these things is written in American English.

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Quote* is a verb and Quotation* is a noun (because it has been modified into one from quote by a suffix). Verbs* signify actions, which are what people do. Nouns* signify things whether they're actual material things or immaterial abstract concepts.

An action usually can not be sent to another person. Every actor must perform an action by themselves. This makes "Would you please send me a quote?" technically incorrect, unless you want him to come over to you, while writing up the bill and leave before giving you a price.

You can send a thing like a letter or a concept put into tangible words, like a number. Your proposed sentence you should be stated as "Would you please send me a quotation?" You may also say:

"Would you please quote the bill for me?"

Although traditional and widely understood, these are somewhat informal and technically ambiguous idiomatic usages. A quote is first and foremost, a repetition of what somebody already said or wrote beforehand. I believe the idea is that in order for the price to be reliably quotable, it should be made into a fixed/unalterable statement.

*All referenced definitions are from Noah Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language (1828).

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    However, we don't live in 1828. In modern English, quote can be used a verb, but it's also a generally-accepted shortening of the noun quotation (citation: MW). As a noun, either quote or quotation can refer to either something that somebody has said, or to a price being specified for work (citation: MW). Claiming otherwise just obfuscates the issue. – Morton Jun 13 '15 at 18:46
  • thanks @Tonepoet. 'Bill' wasn't appropriate in that case, as it was about getting a price, fixed by contractual obligations. I think I'll side with everyone - Language is usage - and take quote = quotation when the context supports that one side is asking for a fixed price. cheers ! – Alex Jun 14 '15 at 19:36
  • I don't think anyone would ever say "Would you please quote the bill for me?" these days. I've never said it, and I've never heard it. Quote is universal for a proposed price of something. I haven't even heard quotation used as an alternative in this context. – sjsyrek Jun 15 '15 at 11:24
  • The actual issue had been addressed so I opted to ignore it in favor of the linguistic one relevant to this website. The imperative statement "Quote me." would be more common but it's inapt for formal correspondence. The choice of lexicons is deliberate, since I pay due deference to the recollective and specifying purpose of words and think people are too careless now. Noah Webster played a crucial role in standardizing how English is spoken today and without standards, who can say what qualities a word has? Nevertheless I'll add another citation to alleviate the concerns of modern relevance. – Tonepoet Jun 16 '15 at 4:43
  • Sideburns are out of fashion, and so is the quote/quotation distinction. – user3932000 Jun 17 '17 at 23:15

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