The following is an example sentence from Oxford Learner's Dictionaries:

May I refer you to my letter of 14 May?

I thought the above sentence might mean one of the followings:

  1. Could you bring my letter to me?
  2. Could you read my letter?
  3. May I write down about you in my letter?

Which does the sentence mean, or does it mean other than the above?

1 Answer 1


refer to

to look at a book or similar record in order to find information and help:

Basically, it means, "Go look at this letter I sent you." (Only, more tactful.)

  • 1
    I just upvoted your answer. I guess "refer you to" is more tactful than saying "Did you even bother to read my letter dated 14 May?" I prefer to be more explicit while still being polite, "I am sorry that I was not clearer in my letter dated 14 May. As I said there, ..." May 6 at 0:26
  • "Refer to" means that the recipient should go read (or reread) the letter. Consequently, I would expect the writer to not repeat what was said in it.
    – Mary
    May 6 at 0:37
  • @JeffMorrow -I find that a grovelling apology from me (I do apologise for not having been clearer in my email of xxx) acts as a fairly stinging rebuke to an astute recipient, and if they aren't astute, well.... May 6 at 9:33
  • @MichaelHarvey I fear most of the recipients of my correspondence who required clarification tended not be astute. I literally had one interpret "may not" as "shall." May 6 at 14:33
  • @JeffMorrow Then you would be ill-advised to refer them to a prior letter.
    – Mary
    May 7 at 0:12

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