Emails are a quick way to get a message across to lots of people at once. They can be sent on the bus to work, in a queue, on the toilet; anywhere there’s an internet connection. But herein lies the problem. It’s so easy to send an email these days, our inboxes quickly fill up and we rush to rid ourselves of our ever-increasing number of unopened emails.

Posted in: EmailingProofreading

In our haste to clear our inbox, many of us don’t leave time to read through our replies. This can lead to unprofessional and embarrassing errors.

Proofread your emails to avoid falling victim to these 5 common email mistakes:


1)      Using the wrong name

How to annoy somebody immediately: get their name wrong.

When replying to somebody, spell their name correctly. This may seem like stating the obvious, but it’s very easy to do. Getting someone’s name wrong shows you’re not paying attention and gives an immediate bad impression.

People can be quite sensitive about their name, or its spelling, for many reasons. Watch out if someone has a long name that they shorten, or if they use their middle name instead of their first name. For example, my ‘real name’ is Catherine but I only like it being shortened to Kate. Only school teachers have ever called me Catherine, so it feels a bit formal, and I can’t stand being called Katie. No offence to any Katies out there but I’m just definitely not a Katie. Always check which name people use in their email signature before you respond.

2)      Not attaching the attachment

Everyone has done this one before, but it doesn’t make it any less painful when it happens to you. When you promise an attachment in the email, make sure it’s attached. Maybe even attach the item before you write the body text. This will save you from having to highlight your mistake by sending a second email with the attachment.

Some email platforms pick up on the word ‘attached’ and remind you if you’ve not attached anything but, sadly, not all have this life saving feature to rely on.

On a similar note, check you’ve attached the correct document. Sending your weekly shopping list to a prospective client instead of your proposal may make you memorable, but not necessarily for the right reason. 

3)      Using the wrong tone

If you’re writing an email on your phone, it can be easy to forget you’re not Whatsapping your friends. Many people fall into the trap of sending a business email like they’d send a text, with no punctuation, no greeting and no sign off.

On the flip side of this, there’s being too formal and writing an email like you’d write a letter. Starting an email with ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ or ‘To whom it may concern’ is way too official for most email communication (and you should always try to write to a named person anyway). Think about which tone is appropriate for an email to your intended recipient before you press ‘send’.

Also, be careful when using humour, particularly in an email to somebody you don’t know very well. You may think a comment is light-hearted and fun but, when people can’t hear your voice, they can take things the wrong way or think you’re being rude. Everyone has a different sense of humour. 

4)      Obvious copying and pasting

Don’t be the person that sends an email saying ‘Hi, [insert name here]’.

If you’re copying and pasting information from a previous email, or using a template, make sure you change the name, dates and other relevant parts of the text to make your email personal to the recipient. Check the font size is all the same too. Random font types and sizes halfway through an email are a dead giveaway that you’ve carelessly copied and pasted information from a previous email.

Everyone uses templates to avoid having to write the same thing again and again but don’t make it obvious to your customers that your reply has been sent a million times before. We all like to feel individual and it’s nice to think someone has taken the time to reply specifically to us.

5)      Sending an email before it’s finis...

If you’re typing really quickly, it’s all too easy to hit the wrong key and accidently send a half-finished email that hasn’t been proofread. Avoid looking foolish by entering the recipient’s email address as the last thing you do when sending an email (once it’s been fully typed and checked through).


So, the next time you’re hastily replying to business emails, take a minute to read back through each email to make sure it looks and sounds professional.


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