Compliments slip

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A compliments slip (or with compliments slip) is a slip of paper that contains the same name and address information that would be on a letterhead of formal letter stationery, the pre-printed salutation "with compliments" or "with our/my compliments", and space afterwards for a short handwritten message to be added.[1][2][3][4] It is used in correspondence, as an enclosure for other material.[3]

Compliments slips, which are informal, can sometimes substitute for more formal letters of reply.[3] For example, the response to a request for a product catalogue or a price list may simply be the price list or catalogue, with a compliments slip attached, rather than with a formal letter of reply.[4][5] The inclusion of compliments slips in responses to such routine requests is often seen by businesses as a necessary step in maintaining good public relations.[3]

There is no fixed size for compliments slips. They may vary in size from the size of a business or visiting card, from which compliments slips originally evolved, to the size of a whole sheet of letter writing paper.[3] Eric Bain recommends that they be of a size suitable for placing inside an envelope without more than one fold, and large enough to be noticed when included in a parcel.[6] (Standard letter stationery outside the U.S. often requires folding twice in order to be placed inside envelopes.[7]) To this end he recommends that compliments slips be size A6 paper.[6] Miller recommends size A5 for stationery that doubles up as both compliments slip and headed letter paper.[8]

Since they are informal, compliments slips are not substitutes in those cases where a formal letter is required for legal reasons. In building contract work, for example, a drawing or a copy letter sent to a contractor with a compliments slip attached is not a formal instruction to perform the work on the drawing or letter. It is at most an invitation to perform that work, at no charge to the employer. A valid instruction would be a formal letter of instruction, or an instruction provided on a printed "Architect's Instruction" form (signed by the architect).[9]

Falconer states that a compliments slip should never be sent instead of a personal letter, and that it is better to send a personal letter in response to a customer enquiry, because it provides a personal touch.[10] Hailey recommends an alternative strategy for providing a personal touch: removing the salutation from compliments slips, thus forcing the entire note to be hand-written.[11]


  1. ^ David Whitbread (2001). The design manual. UNSW Press. p. 73. ISBN 9780868406589.
  2. ^ Mark Slim (2003). Explore Essential English. A.D.R. London Limited. p. 461. ISBN 9781901197129.
  3. ^ a b c d e Maurice Rickards; Michael Twyman; Sally De Beaumont; Amoret Tanner (2000). "compliments slip". The encyclopedia of ephemera. Routledge. p. 103. ISBN 9780415926485.
  4. ^ a b Diane Canwell; Jonathan Sutherland (2003). Edexcel leisure and tourism GCSE. Nelson Thornes. p. 231. ISBN 9780748780310.
  5. ^ Shirley Taylor; Leonard Gartside (2004). Model business letters, e-mails & other business documents. Pearson Education. p. 64. ISBN 9780273675242.
  6. ^ a b Eric K. Bain (1970). The theory and practice of typographic design. Hastings House. p. 95.
  7. ^ Graham Davis (2007). The Designer's Toolkit. Chronicle Books. p. 88. ISBN 9780811860512.
  8. ^ Stephen Miller (2002). Starting and running a sandwich-coffee bar. How To Books Ltd. p. 72. ISBN 9781857038057.
  9. ^ David Chappell, Vincent Powell-Smith, Derek Marshall, and Simon Cavender (2001). "Instructions". Building Contract Dictionary. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 219. ISBN 9780632039647.{{cite encyclopedia}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ Angus D. Falconer (2008). "Business latters and how to write them". Good English—How to Speak and Write It. READ BOOKS. p. 376. ISBN 9781443702904.
  11. ^ Linda Hailey (2001). Kickstart Marketing. Allen & Unwin. p. 234. ISBN 1-86508-387-9.

Further reading[edit]

  • Alessandra Salvaggio; Gabriella Franchi (2006). "Risposte". Lettere commerciali in inglese (in Italian). Milano: Edizioni FAG Srl. pp. 61–63.