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I am not very comfortable with English and had a question about what this line in an email might mean. I had to take a break from playing on a team and have been medically cleared.

"Request a typed letter of medical support directly to my attention"

What does the phrase "directly to my attention" mean? I think it means that the letter has to be addressed to the sender of the email, or it could mean that the letter must be sent from the doctor to the sender of the email without me involved as a middle man (to deliver the letter) Or it could indicate that I bring the letter to the sender of the email? I'm confused. Does this mean that I cannot read the contents of the email? It does not suggest that at all.

migrated from english.stackexchange.com Nov 23 '17 at 6:52

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This isn't very well-worded, but the meaning's roots are in the conventions for addressing mail to a business. If you were sending mail to a company, and wanted it to get to a specific person who works at the company, you would address it like this:

XYZ Company
Attention: Some Person
123 Street
Some City, Some Country

That line that says "Attention" gets translated into, "send it to my attention."

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You are correct. The requester wants the medical letter to be sent directly to him. You will probably not get a copy of the letter, and may not be allowed to see its contents. The letter will be a private communication between (presumably) your doctor and whoever is requesting it.

"Directly to my attention" means that the letter will be addressed "F.A.O. [for the attention of] Mr. X", and it will probably be marked "Private and Confidential", so only Mr. X will read it.

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In business English, it is a clear defined phrase. The required or ordered information or a result should be "immediately" handed out or send to the head / boss ect.

You can also ask to get a copy too.

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"directly to my attention" is an idiom (arguably) which could be paraphrased as "in front of me, and made obvious, as soon as possible".

For example, if you were working with someone and they said "If Steve phones about the car, bring it directly to my attention", it's like saying "If Steve phones about the car, make sure that I know about the call as soon as possible.". You might want to phone your colleague and tell them.

"directly" here means "by the shortest or quickest possible route", and "to my attention" means "made obvious to me".

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