4

I hope the question is not too silly, but I think it may help others too.

I want to thank the professors that are writing reference letters to me. I thought I'd put this at the end of my email requesting the aforementioned letters:

1) Thank you for taking the time to write this letter.
2) Thank you for taking the time and effort in writing this letter.
3) Thank you for dedicating your time and energy into this.

Are these options acceptable? What would be a more natural way of saying this stressing not only the time they took to write it, but also the pains they took, having to lose time writing this?

I think this question has the benefit of being useful in other cases. I just realized I don't really know how to thank people for something like this formally in English.

Related questions:
How to say thank you for the ....?
'Thank you for taking your time writing' or 'Thank you for taking your time to write' ?
Should I say "Thank you for your kindly attention" or "Thank you for you kind attention"

EDIT: I should have emphasized this better, but I felt it was very important to thank the referees for the effort (not only the time spent) put into writing the letter. So I wanted that the answer to this question could highlight this desire. And thank you for your answers! All of them are excellent, it's a shame I can pick only one as the correct answer.

  • One more idea (might help someone in the future): "I want to thank you for taking the time to write a letter of recommendation for me. I really appreciate the thought and effort you put into this letter" – flen Jan 31 '18 at 9:58
4

Instead of ending the letter with these sentences, a correspondence reply letter usually start with these lines.

"Thank you for taking the time to write this letter..."

This is perfectly natural and a very commonly used sentence, used to start off a reply letter.

"Thank you for taking the time and effort in writing this letter."

This would be more suitable if the initial letter was very long, and may have given you the impression that the writer took a great deal of effort to write it.

"Thank you for dedicating your time and energy into this."

Although not wrong, this sounds a little too dramatic. Thanking him for spending 'energy' on writing letters (although he may have), sounds awkward and very dramatic.

  • Thanks a lot for the answer! I agree with you, but I wanted to point out to the referee that I'm very grateful not only for the time (s)he spent, but also for the "energy" (indeed, bad word choice) spent (I feel the pain, because I'm sure (s)he has better things to do than writing this letter). This is probably silly of me, but I feel I'd breathe easier if I could thank them for that too. Do you think that adding "consideration", as in "thank you for your time and consideration in writing this letter", could better reflect that? – flen Jan 31 '18 at 9:57
  • 'Thank you for the consideration..' - This is mostly useful when your letter was selected from a group of letters, or you were selected among a group of possible candidates. – Varun Nair Jan 31 '18 at 11:22
  • Also, a quick note on writing letters of appreciation- you must avoid overdoing it with words of gratitude. The key is to find the perfect balance between gratitude and humility. – Varun Nair Jan 31 '18 at 11:24
  • @flen - Those clarifications would have been better included in your original question, not added as a comment below an answer. – J.R. Jan 31 '18 at 15:18
  • @J.R. I'll edit the question to include them – flen Jan 31 '18 at 22:07
2

ORIGINAL: Thank you for taking the time and effort in writing this letter.

I don't like this one. We don't "take the effort in" writing a letter, we "put effort into" writing a letter. I suggest removing the word taking:

REVISED: Thank you for your time and effort in writing this letter.


ORIGINAL: Thank you for dedicating your time and energy into this.

I agree completely with the earlier answer – I think that sounds too flowery.


As for getting your point across simply, I'd suggest adding a second sentence to your first:

Thank you for taking the time to write this letter. I know you are busy, so I really appreciate your time and effort.

I thinks that flows more natural than trying to express both gratitude and "pains" in the same opening sentence.

  • It can't be: thank you for writing this letter. – Lambie Feb 1 '18 at 19:06
  • @Lambie - That's not really what the OP was asking about, but I agree it sounds a little awkward, and determiners such as my, your, that, or the would be better. – J.R. Feb 1 '18 at 19:47
2
  • I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for writing this reference on my behalf.
  • Thank you so very much for writing this reference on my behalf.
  • Thank you for taking the time to write this reference on my behalf.

I would avoid time and effort, etc. It's patronizing in my opinion in this context.

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