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The latest TCS recruitment test pattern includes a Verbal Section of 10 minutes duration.
The Verbal Section is essentially a Written Ability Test (WAT) wherein the test taker has to
incorporate specific words and phrases given to draft a meaningful business e-mail.



Besides being pivotal to the effective functioning of an organisation, strong written

communication conveys intelligence, professionalism and attention to detail qualities that
any company seeks in its employees.

Minimum Word Count
The foremost criterion in TCS Verbal section is to meet the minimum word count. Writing
falling short of the minimum word count will automatically NOT be evaluated regardless of
the quality of the content.



Inclusion of
all key

Use of
Effect on language
reader and


Range of
Register structures
and format and

of ideas


1. Use a proper salutation.

Dont just start with your text while writing an e-mail. Address the recipient. If you dont
know the person well, you may be confused about how to address him/her (What do I call
my boss?). When in doubt, address someone more formally to avoid offending them.

Use the person's title (Mr. Mrs. Ms. or Dr.) with their last name, followed by a comma or a
colon. Optionally, you can precede the salutation with "Dear... or "Hello...". If you don't
know the name of the person you're writing to, use "Dear Sir/Madam" followed by a comma
or colon.

Some common ways to address your reader are:

Dear Sir,
Dear Professor Smith,
Hello Ms. Sheela,

If the e-mail addresses a diverse group, try something generic, yet polite:

To whom it may concern,

Dear HR Team Members,
Hello everyone,


First Name vs. Last Name

In the west, the standard way of addressing people in the formal context is to use title and
last name. For example,
Dear Dr. Smith
X Dear Dr. Rhonda Smith

However, in the Indian context, since many people use initials and not always have a family
name, it is acceptable to use title and first name or full name.
Dear Mr. Haridas
Dear Mr. Haridas Kumar Pal

Unless you are on a first-name basis or on very friendly terms with the recipient, it is safer
to use titles. Use Mr. for adult males and Ms. for adult females (Ms. is applicable for married
and unmarried females and therefore better for professional use.), unless the person has an
academic (Dr. or Prof.) or military title (Col., Lt., Major, etc.).

2. Introduce yourself in the first paragraph (if necessary).

If you are writing to someone for the first time (for instance, a prospective customer or
vendor) or someone who may not be very familiar with you (like your top boss or old
contact), it makes sense to briefly introduce yourself.

My name is Anita Ravi. I obtained your e-mail address from the advertisement published
in The Hindu last week. I am interested in getting a quotation from you for

When you write to your immediate boss or supervisor, team members, usual clients or
vendors with whom you regularly correspond, it is not be necessary to introduce yourself.
So you can straight get to WHY you are writing.

Your opening sentence could be:

I hope you are well.

Thank you very much for your email. I am glad to hear that
Thank you for your prompt reply.
I apologise for not replying sooner, but I have been very busy these last few weeks.
Thank you for your email of [date]. Please find my reply to your query below.


I am writing with regard to XXXX.

Thank you for contacting us regarding XXXX.
With reference to your email of [date], I would like to bring the following to your attention.
As a follow-up to our phone call this morning, I would like summarise the key issues.
In reply to your query regarding XXXX, I would like to make the following points.

3. Write the actual message.

Be sure to get your point across without rambling. Try to break up the message into
paragraphs to make your message more logical and digestible.

4. Sum up with a closing line.

Your closing line could be:

I look forward to hearing from you.

I look forward to receiving your reply.
I look forward to meeting you.
I look forward to speaking to you on this matter.
Thank you for your understanding.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Please let me know a convenient time for us to meet.
If you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Please feel free to call me any time on my mobile: 0099 999 999 999
I would appreciate your immediate attention to this matter.
As this matter is urgent, I would be grateful for a swift response.

5. Use the correct form of leave-taking.

For your closing, something brief but friendly will do for most correspondence:

Thank you,
Best wishes,
See you tomorrow,

For a very formal message, such as a job application or request to your top boss, use the
kind of closing that you might see in a business letter:

Respectfully yours,


6. Sign with your full name.

Your signing off is extremely important because it lets the reader know who is contacting
them. Always sign off with your name at the end of your e-mail.

If you are writing an internal mail to people who know you well, just your name in full is

However, if you dont know the reader well, you might also consider including your title
and the organization you belong to; for example:

Haridas Kumar Pal

Junior Research Associate
X Company


If your writing task requires you to write as someone else possibly specifying a name be
sure to sign off in that name and not your real name!
Similarly, check the question to see if your job title is mentioned in which case be sure to
sign off with your question name and job title.


1. Put your main point in the opening sentence. Most readers won't stick around for a
surprise ending.
2. Don't use ALL CAPITALS (no shouting!), or all lower-case letters either.
3. Remember to say "please" and "thank you."
4. Avoid the use of contractions in formal mails. Common contractions include Im, were,
youre, wont, wasnt.
5. Use exclamation points sparingly: The maximum number of exclamation points in a
business e-mail? Only one. Otherwise, you risk looking unprofessional.
6. Avoid using shortcuts to real words, emoticons, jargon, or slang: messaging language
or using shortcuts such as "4 u" (instead of "for you"), "Gr8" (for great) in business-
related e-mail is not acceptable. Also, you shouldn't put a smiley face or emoticon on
your business correspondence. Use for your information, as soon as possible instead
of FYI, ASAP etc. Avoid contractions instead of cant, full form of it (cannot) can
be used.



Read the key words and phrases to determine

(a) the purpose of the e-mail
(b) what outcome is expected from it
Think about (c) the audience and what he/she/they may need in order for your e-
your message mail to have the intended result.
before writing

Jot down brief notes about what information you need to convey, what
questions you have, etc., then organize your thoughts in a logical
Organise your
Lists and mapping may help.

When you are communicating via e-mail, your words are not supported
by gestures, voice inflections, or other cues, so it may be easier for
someone to misread your tone.
Reflect on the Caution: When in doubt, err on the side of formality.
tone of your

Briefly state your purpose for writing the e-mail in the very beginning of
your message.
Use paragraphs to separate thoughts.
Strive for clarity
and brevity Finally, state the desired outcome at the end of your message.

Use line space to separate paragraphs into separate blocks.

Bullet important details so that they are easy to pick out.
Use bold face type or capital letters to highlight critical information, such as
Format your
due dates. (But do not type your entire message in capital letters or
message so that
boldfaceit may be perceived as shouting)
it is easy to read

Re-read the e-mail write-up before submission. Use proper grammar,

spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.


Exercise on Proofreading

1. Find two spelling mistakes in the email.

2. Find three grammatical mistakes in the email.

3. Informal expressions in two places in the mail are not appropriate. Find the expressions.
Can you make them more appropriate?

State the desired outcome at the end of your message.

If youre requesting a response, let the reader know what type of response you require
(for example, an e-mail reply, possible times for a meeting, a recommendation letter,
etc.) If youre requesting something that has a due date, be sure to highlight that due
date in a prominent position in your e-mail. Ending your e-mail with the next step can
be really useful, especially in work settings (for example, you might write I will follow
this e-mail up with a phone call to you in the next day or so or Lets plan to further
discuss this at the meeting on Wednesday).

If you want a reply from the person you are writing to, then the best and most
universally acceptable sentences to use are either, "I look forward to hearing from you
soon", or "I hope to hear back from you within the next few days".



Directions: For each question, draft an e-mail with a minimum of 50 words using the outline
given. If the outline is not strictly followed (including the specific words used) or correct
English (including spelling and grammar) is not used, the grade in this section will be poor.
You may however add other sentences if you like. The e-mail must contain a minimum of
fifty words, or it will not be graded at all.
Duration: 10 minutes

1. You are a Team Leader and you have to write an e-mail to one of your team members
appreciating his work.
Thank you efforts - hard worker - week end work - timeliness - client appreciating -
successful work - extra work hours - good skill - keep it up

2. Ben is a Team Member. Margaret is the Team Leader. As the Team Leader, you have to
write an e-mail to Ben appreciating his success.
Thank Efforts Academic resource project Hard work late evenings - weekend off
deadlines Client - appreciation keep it up

3. You are a Team member. Write an e-mail to Ben, your Team Leader requesting him to
conduct a training session for your team members.
Training 18 associates three days tenth twelfth august personality development
Norway client telephone etiquette email format send us email clarification

4. Write an e-mail to Ms.Susan, your Team Leader apologizing for the project delay due to
your illness.
Accounts payable project 3weeks ill expert cholera project delay need -

5. Write an e-mail to your Manager requesting him to conduct a meeting.

Associate in a company not assigned wants manager to be specific Wednesday
evening tomorrow task Management system abruptly

6. Use the given outline to write an e-mail to your client, Margaret, explaining that the
Accounts receivable project is late. Sign the e-mail as Sandra.
Accounts Receivable project delayed project leader ill hepatitis three weeks
expect delay project one week me know if need clarifications




1. Verbs should agree with their subjects.

The students has an English class every week.
The students have an English class every week.
Students is a plural subject which should be in concord with a plural verb i.e. have.

(i) Phrases and clauses in commas between the subject and the verb
To make the test question more complicated, the subject and verb could be
separated with large amounts of text in between making it difficult to recognize if
they are agreeing or not.
The students, having gained admission into the countrys top technical institution,
is jubilant.
The students, having gained admission into the countrys top technical institution,
are jubilant.
Here, the countrys top technical institution can be mistaken as the subject while
the real subject is students. Hence verb should also be plural i.e. are.

(ii) Sentences where the subject is separated from the verb by words such as along
with, as well as, besides, or not.
Ignore these expressions when determining whether to use a singular or plural verb.
E.g.: The headmistress, along with the teachers, is expected shortly.
The main subject is headmistress which is singular.

(iii) Subjects joined by either/or, neither/nor and not only/but also

Here, you should apply the rule of nearness to determine which subject is closer to
the verb and then check if the verb is agreeing with the nearer subject.
Either my aunt or my uncles is coming tomorrow.
Either my aunt or my uncles are coming tomorrow.
Uncles is closer to the verb, The nearer subject being plural, the verb should be

(iv) Sentences in which verb precedes the subject

Here is the messages for which we were waiting.
Here are the messages for which we were waiting.
For the subject messages, the agreeing verb is are.


(v) Sentences with words that indicate portions percent, fraction, part, majority,
some, all, none, remainder, and so forth
Look at the noun in your of phrase (object of the preposition) to determine whether
to use a singular or plural verb. If the object of the preposition is singular, use a
singular verb. If the object of preposition is plural, use a plural verb.
Fifty percent of the pie has disappeared.
Fifty percent of the pies have disappeared.
One-third of the city is unemployed.
One-third of the people are unemployed.

(vi) Use of pronouns like each, everyone, everybody, anyone, anybody, someone,
and somebody
These pronouns are singular and require singular verbs. Do not be misled by what
follows of.
E.g.: Each of the candidates is to report at 8 a.m.

(vii) Collective nouns

A collective noun is a word used to define a group of objects. They are generally
The class are listening to the trainer.
The class is listening to the trainer.
There are exceptions in the case some words which are usually singular but
sometimes plural.
The committee has approved expenditure of hundred crores.
(Committee is treated as singular because all the people on the committee acted as
The committee have gone on holiday.
(Committee is plural here, because the people acted as separate individuals.)

(viii) Subjects which cannot be easily distinguished as singular or plural.

E.g.: Aircraft, data, information

(ix) Some subjects seem plural but in certain kinds of sentences are really singular.
E.g.: Thousand rupees is sufficient.
Two litres is a lot to drink.
Five hours is all I have to complete the report.

2. Verb tenses must agree and they must reflect the correct sequence of events. For this
(i) Check the tense of all verbs
(ii) Check that the sequence of events is clear.


3. Ensure parallelism i.e. items in pairs or series must agree. Check for list of items or
series of events, expressions like both A and B, either A or B, prefers A to B, etc.
Andy likes cooking, reading and housework.
Andy likes cooking, reading and doing housework.

4. Make sure the modifier is as close as possible to the word or clause it modifies.
Misplaced or dangling modifiers can alter the intended meaning drastically.
I learnt for weeks to play the piano without success.
I learnt for weeks without success to play the piano.
In the above example, the first sentence seems to convey that I wanted to learn to
play the piano unsuccessfully, when what I intended to convey is that I was not
successful in learning to play the piano!
Also, be cautious of sentences beginning or ending with descriptive phrases,
that/which clauses (esp. At the end of the sentence).

5. Check each pronoun. Pronouns should refer to specific nouns or pronouns. Find out
if the pronoun in the sentence is referring to the subject or object. Pronouns should
also agree in person or number.

Subject Object
1st person I Me
2nd person You You
3rd person He/She/They/Who Him/Her/Them/Whom
How could she blame you and he for the accident?
How could she blame you and him for the accident?

In this example you and he are objects. Hence, pronoun should be him.
The benefits of democracy are much greater than that of other forms of government.
The benefits of democracy are much greater than those of other forms of government.
Benefits is plural while that is singular. Therefore, it should be those not that.
Indians generally perceive Pakistan as its enemy although most Indians have never
met a single Pakistani.
Indians generally perceive Pakistan as their enemy although most Indians have
never met a single Pakistani.
Often it and they, its and their are misused. Similarly, be clear as to where to
use who, that and which.

6. Comparisons should always be between like things.

Roys height is more than Rekha.
Roys height is more than that of Rekha.
Look at the sentence closely. Roys height cannot be compared with Rekha. It can
only be compared with Rekhas height.


7. Check for correct prepositions, phrasal verbs and idioms. In quite some cases, there
is no underlying rule for the right usage. It has to be acquired over time through
sufficient exposure to the language.
Most people put in with Rajas tantrums solely because his father is a big-wig.
Most people put up with Rajas tantrums solely because his father is a big-wig.
The meaning of a phrasal verb sometimes changes dramatically with different
prepositions, as illustrated above. Put in means install (E.g.: They put in a
centralised air-conditioning system.) while put up means tolerate.

8. Eliminate unnecessary words or repetitions.

The assignment is more perfect.
The assignment is perfect.
Perfect by itself is absolute. So there is no question of degree of perfection here.
Tagore is considered as a brilliant poet.
Togore is considered a brilliant poet.
The word considered is sufficient. Use of as is incorrect.

9. Make certain that adjectives and adverbs are used correctly. Adjectives describe
nouns while adverbs describe verbs and adjectives.
Last night, Qasim spoke good.
Last night, Qasim spoke well.
Spoke is a verb, good is an adjective. Only an adverb can describe a verb. So it
should be well.

Speaking of adjectives, ensure that the degrees of comparison are correct. While
comparing two things, use comparative degree. Only for more than two things, use
superlative degree.
E.g.: Aruna is faster than her friend.
Between the two friends, Aruna is faster.
Aruna is the fastest among all her friends.

Remove double forms of comparatives and superlatives, if any.

Aruna is the most fastest among all her friends.
Aruna is the fastest among all her friends.
Most is superlative and fastest is also superlative. So remove most.

10. Other popular errors to watch out for are the use of:
(i) between vs. among
Between is a preposition used with two persons or things.
Among is the preposition used with three or more persons or things.
E.g.: Between maths and history, I prefer maths.
Among all the subjects, I prefer maths.


(ii) for vs. since

We often use for and since when talking about time.
For Since
a period (from start to end) a point (up to now)
for 20 minutes; for three days; since 9 a.m.; since Monday; since January;
for 6 months; for 4 years; since 1997; since 1500; since I left school;
for 2 centuries; for a long time; for since the beginning of the time etc.
All tenses Perfect tenses only

(iii) been vs. gone vs. went

The verb go has two present perfect forms: have/has gone and have/has been.
We use have/has been when the person has made a visit and come back.
Dave has been to America. (=He has visited America but he has now returned.)
You look very brown! Have you been on holiday?
We use have/has gone when the person has not returned.
She has gone to China. (=She is in China. She isnt here.)
Is Annie in her bedroom? No. Shes gone to work.
Remember gone (past participle) uses a helping verb (am, is, are, be, was, were,
has, had, have). Went stands alone.

(iv) bring vs. take

When you are viewing the movement of something from the point of arrival, use
E.g.: When you come to the party, please bring a bottle of wine.
When you are viewing the movement of something from the point of departure, use
E.g.: When we go to the party, lets take a bottle of wine.

(v) fewer vs. less

If you can count the items, use fewer. For uncountable substances, use less.
E.g.: There are fewer students in this crowd.
There is less information on the criminals whereabouts.

(vi) double negatives

Avoid double negatives as they make no sense in English.
We dont have no books.
We dont have books.
Also, do not use words like but, hardly and scarcely with other negatives as they
already have a negative connotation.
I hardly didnt see him in the class.
I hardly saw him in the class.


Exercise on Spotting Grammar Errors

Each sentence below has an error in it. Work with your faculty to spot the error and
understand the rule behind it.

1. Just ask John or myself . . .

2. Irregardless of the outcome, I plan to continue working hard.

3. Im doing good in my new job.

4. At the same time I assured him that no evidence, either paper documents or electronic
devices, was not taken away from the firm.

5. Where is it at?

6. Between you, me, and the supervisor, I think Lily is going to make a mess of her

7. Can I see that report?

8. I need to bring this book back to the library by tomorrow.

9. I imply from what Stan said in the meeting that there is going to be no annual bonus
this year.

10. He wants to meet with Haridas and I after work on Tuesday.

11. The Draft Report was prepared solely for the use of the Company; however it was not
clearly stated what was the purpose of the Report.

12. He absented from the school yesterday.

13. The climate of India is hotter than England.

14. We requested the Management for some trainings on interpersonal skills and

15. Our team has been working on the Artificial Intelligence project since the last three



Watch out for spelling mistakes as they can eat away your scores despite good content!

Correct spelling Spelling advice Common misspelling

accommodate, two cs, two ms accomodate,
accommodation accomodation
achieve i before e acheive
aggressive, two gs agressive, agression
apparently -ent not -ant apparantly
appearance ends with -ance appearence
argument no e after the u arguement
basically ends with -ally basicly
beginning double n before the -ing begining
believe i before e beleive, belive
business begins with busi- buisness
calendar -ar not -er calender
colleague -ea- in the middle collegue
coming one m comming
committee double m, double t, doublee commitee
completely ends with -ely completly
conscious -sc- in the middle concious
definitely -ite- not ate- definately
dilemma -mm- not -mn- dilemna
disappear one s, two ps dissapear
disappoint one s, two ps dissapoint
embarrass two rs, two ss embarass
environment n before the m enviroment
existence ends with -ence existance
familiar ends with -iar familar
finally two ls finaly
foreign e before i foriegn
foreseeable begins with fore- forseeable
forty begins with for- fourty
forward begins with for- foward
further begins with fur- futher
gist begins with g- jist
government n before the m goverment
guard begins with gua- gaurd
happened ends with -ened happend
harass, harassment one r, two ss harrass, harrassment


honorary -nor- in the middle honourary

immediately ends with -ely immediatly
incidentally ends with -ally incidently
independent ends with -ent independant
interrupt two rs interupt
knowledge remember the d knowlege
liaise, liaison remember the second i: liais- liase, liason
millennium, double l, doublen millenium, millenia
necessary one c, two ss neccessary
noticeable remember the middle e noticable
occasion two cs, one s ocassion, occassion
occurred, occurring two cs, two rs occured, occuring
occurrence two cs, two rs, -ence not - occurance,
ance occurence
persistent ends with -ent persistant
piece i before e peice
possession two ss in the middle and two posession
at the end
preferred, preferring two rs prefered, prefering
propaganda begins withpropa- propoganda
publicly ends with cly publically
really two ls realy
receive e before i recieve
referred, referring two rs refered, refering
remember -mem- in the middle rember, remeber
resistance ends with -ance resistence
separate -par- in the middle seperate
successful two cs, two ss succesful
supersede ends with -sede supercede
surprise begins with sur- suprise
tendency ends with -ency tendancy
therefore ends with -fore therefor
threshold one h in the middle threshhold
tomorrow one m, two rs tommorow,
truly no e truely
unforeseen remember the eafter the r unforseen
unfortunately ends with -ely unfortunatly
until one l at the end untill
wherever one e in the middle whereever



Punctuation Mark Name Example

full stop or period I like English.

If you need further assistance, call
comma the helpline.
I don't suggest TR Solutions; I prefer
semi-colon Global Group.
You have two choices: finish the work
colon today or lose the contract.

hyphen This is a rather out-of-date report.

In each townLondon, Paris and
dash Romewe had meetings to attend.

question mark Where is Shangri-La?

"Help!" she cried. "My systems
exclamation mark crashing!"
slash, forward slash Please press your browser's
or oblique Refresh/Reload button.

backslash C:\Users\Files\jse.doc
double quotation
marks "You are late," she said.

apostrophe This is John's car.

Have you read the Annual Sales

underline report?

underscore arun_kumar@gmail.com
I went to Bangkok (my favourite city)
round brackets and stayed there for two weeks.
One happy customer wrote: "This is
the best programme...that I have ever
ellipsis mark seen."