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For your reference VS for your information


Kenny同志
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I think that in the way they are used, they are interchangeable.

If you analyse them from a linguistic point of view, then "for your information" would probably be for something that the recipient doesn't know about, and is being informed of. "for your reference" could be something that the recipient already knows about, but with further details, or something that the recipient is not necessarily required to know about, but the information is provided to be refered to if need be.

However, I don't think native speakers would really pay attention to the difference in this amount of detail. Which one one uses I guess would simply depend on personal habit.

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谢谢Anonymoose兄。真快!呵呵。

I was once told that “for reference” suggests that the information given is always considered authoritative and therefore cannot be translated as 供你参考 as what is for you to 参考 is not necessarily that authoritative. Is it true?

For example, when you ask me a question, I can certainly say “for your reference” when I give you the name of a book by Einstein, but what if I give you a certain link under 百度知道. Could I say the same thing?

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At work, when I simply want someone to know about something, I use "for your information". For example, telling a business contact about some personnel changes in my office. But if I provide some information to faciltate someone to make a decision/do some work for me or give me a reply, I usually use "for your reference". For example, providing a picture of a cover of an old publication to illustrate how the cover of a new publication should look.

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'for your reference' implies that the recipient may or may not be needing the information provided at a later date, or that you are reminding him of information he may have forgotten since your last correspondence. 'for your information' is used when you are sending someone a message to indicate you are merely making them aware of something, without expecting them to do anything about it.

I was once told that “for reference” suggests that the information given is always considered authoritative and therefore cannot be translated as 谢谢参考 as what is for you to 参考 is not necessarily that authoritative. Is it true?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't 謝謝參考 imply you would like the recipient to read whatever you are sending him? 'for your reference' is neutral as to whether you want them to do that. I think 供您参考 might be closer?

For example, when you ask me a question, I can certainly say “for your reference” when I give you the name of a book by Einstein, but what if I give you a certain link under 百度知道. Could I say the same thing?

Well, that depends. I don't think it matters whether you consider the source authoritative. If you say, for example, 'Lǐ Bái is a Táng dynasty poet', you could say 'For your reference, the Bǎidù page I took this information from is http://baike.baidu.com/view/2133.htm'. That may sound a little stiff, though.

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Thank you, Skylee, Daan.

Quote

I was once told that “for reference” suggests that the information given is always considered authoritative and therefore cannot be translated as 谢谢参考 as what is for you to 参考 is not necessarily that authoritative. Is it true?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't 謝謝參考 imply you would like the recipient to read whatever you are sending him? 'for your reference' is neutral as to whether you want them to do that. I think 供您参考 might be closer?

Oops, I made a typo. It should have been 供你参考.

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@kenny2006woo

Your questions are always so thought-provoking. They remind me how we all use our native language so "automatically".

I agree with what the others have said and my explanation here is just another way to answer your question, which may or may not help.

FYI, I would say, in common speech, FYI is far more frequently used.:rolleyes:

Generally, I would use FYI in providing someone a limited, specific piece of "intelligence" like a fact, an opinion, etc under the assumption that the hearer was not aware of this "information". The root of the phrase is "to inform" so you are telling someone about something.

On the other hand, I would use FYR in directing the hearer to some more extensive body of "facts", like a book, a new piece of legislation, an operating manual, etc. I don't think the referent (the thing being referred to) has to be "authoritative" in a strict sense (refereed, reviewed, etc) nor does it have to be unknown to hearer. The root here is "to refer" meaning to direct someone's attention to some other "thing" for consultation or guidance.

Some examples.

For your information, John left on vacation yesterday. (just one fact being conveyed).

For your reference, the enclosed bill provides all the details of your purchase. (directing the buyer to consult the invoice if they have questions)

That grammar book is for your reference when you have a question about Chinese grammar.

For your information, that particular grammar book is quite useful if you have questions about Chinese grammar.

Hope I didn't confuse more than help.

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I think when someone uses "For your information" it actually sounds a bit negative, irritated or patronising at times. Probably because I've only heard it being used in a negative manner. "For your reference" is a lot more neutral, and sounds helpful rather than dismissive.

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Tom will not be here for the whole next month, just for your information.

In my opinion, it's neither positive nor negative. It's just that I've never seen or heard "for your information" being used in this context before.

I think a suitable expression in this case would be something like:

Just to let you know, Tom will not be here for the whole of next month. :)

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  • 4 weeks later...

If it's typed as FYI: or even written it is probably fine.

If it's written on a memo like this:

FOR YOUR INFORMATION:

Bla bla bla, yackity yack, la la la di la la.

it should be fine.

However when used more casually (in my experience) "For your information" is usually used when correcting someone or trying to make them feel inferior, often both.

A "condescending corrective" I guess. <== I'll coin this new term.

Usually I'll dislike the kind of person who uses this phrase. (Exceptions made on a case to case basis)

"Thank you for your information" however would be considered fine and perfectly polite.

Here are some (not so polite) examples of people not knowing they would become an example: (Search for "for your information")

NOTE: I also took some extracts that are listed just below these links.

http://www.zeropaid.com/news/90343/supreme-court-petitioned-to-hear-innocent-infringer-case/

http://www.mydailymoment.com/gossip/the_gossip_wire/palin_s_hawaii_coverup.php

http://www.fanfiction.net/s/2839758/18/Bothering_Alagaesia

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/jh1365/repeat-after-me-we-cant-h_b_706090_60209710.html

http://www.booksie.com/romance/novel/lautnerluver1234567/love-is-the-only-option/chapter/5

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010/jul/18/how-race-has-turned-sour-sharron-angle/

http://sixthman.lohudblogs.com/2009/06/03/palmer-commits-to-west-virginia/

http://www.cr17.com/index.php?topic=14477.120

A few extracted quotes: (Maybe all)

“Um, no, I can read for your information. I'm asking to be polite.”
For your information (name here) is not Coach Moore’s Aunt. If anyone should know I would because I am her mother and if you are trying to imply that she was recruited by West Virginia because of her you are sadly mistaken.
Hey zoo, you probably dont pay any taxes at all, how many weeks of unemployment have you collected and many more do want? For your information I dont listen to either one plus I dont chew tobacky either. Thank you for not missing me either.
She looked hurt. “well, for your information, I was back there but I was too afraid to look at you when I knew that you were sick and maybe really hurt.”
And, just for your information, this was a civil case which does not involve criminal offence...
For your information SAM, she went to school there -
Are you that conceited? Do you assume everything that mentions the word Eragon is about you? For your information, O Rude Rider, this is about the elf Eragon, the first Rider.

There's a pattern emerging here I'm afraid and it's not the warm fuzzy feeling of a nice hug. If you're giving information verbally, I'd use "For your reference" or "just to let you know" (doraemon 20100525) to be safe, or at least be very careful with your tone and usage, I would only use it when trying to "condescendingly correct" someone.

doraemon's "just to let you know" is an excellent replacement.

Excuse any mistakes, my explanation is far from perfect and oversights, but I believe my examples should serve my purpose.

That's enough for now...

Reference list:

doraemon 20100525 : http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/27615-for-your-reference-vs-for-your-information/#comment-224379

Links : in text referencing

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I think ultimately it depends on the context, because if "for your information" in any of the examples provided by Matty were replaced by "for your reference" or "just to let you know", they would still be condescending.

I think regardless of whether you use "for your information", "for your reference" or "just to let you know", the impression they will give depends on the way they are used rather than these phrases themselves.

Nice examples provided by Matty, though.

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I think ultimately it depends on the context, because if "for your information" in any of the examples provided by Matty were replaced by "for your reference" or "just to let you know", they would still be condescending.

This is true, however I'm talking about common usage. I've never heard (or don't recall) "for your reference" or "just to let you know" being used in that way. They don't get my neck hairs up on end like "for your information". You're right in the respect that they could replace it, but the real questions are:

"why didn't they use the other terms? why use “for your information”? "

Perhaps it's that I searched for that in particular (well of course), but I believe there's also something more, though perhaps slightly culturally/location based if you haven't encountered it. I know it's used like this in Australia and I believe I've seen it on American TV too.

"For your reference" is a bit more deferential, as "for your information" does contain a possible suggestion that the person being addressed is not informed. One is provided as reference material, the other as information material. There is a slight difference in tone.

I like this, and when "for your information" is used as a "condescending informative" (I love big terms I make up on the spot) a person usually uses a heavier tone with an emphasis on "for" and emphasis on "information", however only about half that of "for".

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