Thursday, 28 November 2013

A picky post about HSBC wordsmiths

The opening sentence of the letter I received from HSBC says :

"We are writing to advise you that following a review of your accounts, we came to the decision that all of the accounts you hold with us needed to be closed."

When I saw the two grammatical errors in this sentence, my first reaction was that the letter was a hoax.

I don't have much ammunition to hand, but I can wield my English teacher credentials. So come on HSBC, get it right:

Use the present perfect of 'come' to indicate a past action that has a consequence in the present: we have come to the decision.

Use the present simple of 'need' to indicate a scheduled event in the near future: the accounts need to be closed.

My French students last summer could have done that with their eyes shut.

There, got that one off my chest.

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