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In a formal letter, is it polite to ask information about dates and cost information by saying something like "I want to make sure that..."?

Further, I want to make sure the dates of the courses that will not conflict with my other appointments. It would be appreciated if you could supply more details about the arrangements and what cost it would be.

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  • To be more polite, I would replace "I want to" with "I would like to." – kiamlaluno May 3 '13 at 14:19
  • This is kind of culture-dependent and would be an excellent fit for the proposed Etiquette site (not that it's off-topic here). I advise you to follow it, recommend it to friends and contribute to it when it makes it to beta. :) – starsplusplus May 9 '14 at 11:59
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There's nothing at all wrong with the "I want to make sure that" part of your sentence; the part that I find a bit obnoxious from a politeness aspect is the passive construction "it would be appreciated." You'd be much better off expressing your appreciation directly rather than simply allowing for the possibility that some unknown object somewhere will be gratified:

Further, I'd like to make sure that the dates of the courses will not conflict with my other appointments, so I'd be grateful if you could supply more details about the arrangements and what their costs would be.

(There are also a few other minor things that I've tweaked, particularly the placement of "that" in the first phrase, and the use of the singular pronoun "it" to refer back to the plural "arrangements".)

There's a bit of a disconnect in that you've specified that you care only about the dates but then you go on to explicitly request cost information as well; but if you've mentioned the cost aspect prior to this sentence, it's not a problem.

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  • Is it also polite to say "I would appreciate it if ..."? – canoe May 3 '13 at 14:39
  • Sure, that's fine too. – Hellion May 3 '13 at 14:47

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