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Business, Email Writing

3 Common Grammar Mistakes to Be Aware of in Professional Emails

A glaring writing error causes an otherwise perfect email to become less effective.

It shows carelessness and detracts from the message’s readability, which is why fixing a grammar issue can go a long way in being taken more seriously.

Find three mistakes to watch out for just below:

1. Calling an email “a mail”

Mail is defined as letters, documents, and packages sent through the postal system. In addition, the noun “mail” is uncountable. It is not possible to send “a mail” or “mails” because the word does not function this way.

Refer to an email as an email or a message.

Incorrect:

I received an important mail earlier. ❌

The boss will send a mail via email. ❌

Correct:

I received an important email earlier. ✔️

The boss will send a message via email. ✔️

2. Putting “Sir” or “Ma’am” before a person’s name

In an attempt to sound respectful, many English learners place these honorifics before surnames or even first names.

This is grammatically incorrect. Sir and ma’am are substitutes used in place of a name (often because the recipient’s identity is unknown).

The generic titles that go in front of a last name are “Mr.” and “Mrs./Ms./Miss”.

Incorrect:

Ma’am Lewis is here today. ❌

Sir Jones has a meeting to attend. ❌

Correct:

Ms. Lewis is here today. ✔️

Mr. Jones has a meeting to attend. ✔️ 

Note: Knighted British nationals are the exception to this rule (e.g., Sir Winston Churchill or Sir David Attenborough).

3. Mixing up “apologies” and “apologize”

Apologize is a verb that one uses to say sorry about something.

It goes with pronouns such as I, we, and they. Apologies is the plural form of the noun “apology”, and it is part of the phrase my apologies. “Apologies” pairs with possessive adjectives (my, our, their, etc.) instead of pronouns.

Incorrect:

We apologies for causing a disturbance.❌

Please accept my apologize for the trouble. ❌

Correct:

We apologize for causing a disturbance. ✔️

Please accept my apologies for the trouble. ✔️

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