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Business, Communication, Email Writing

5 Costly Mistakes to Avoid in Workplace Emails

Composing a business email is just like penning a business letter.

Certain norms are expected, such as polite etiquette, concision, and clarity.

Therefore, it is best to err on the side of formality to keep from confusing or upsetting the reader. Steer clear of awkward missteps by taking note of the five points below.

Refrain from…

Too many contractions

Contractions are combinations like “I’m” (I am), “here’s” (here is), and “don’t” (do not). They join two words with an apostrophe, which is mostly suited for speech. In a work-related message, it is advisable to write out the full version and only use shortened forms sparingly.
Recommendation: Keep contractions to a minimum.


Emoticons can be an effective tool to get across a specific feeling or mood, but they do not belong in professional conversations. To convey emotion, you can always rely on feeling adjectives (e.g., “surprised”, “elated”, and “grateful”).
Recommendation: Save emojis for informal messages.


As one of the worst mistakes to make in formal communication, using slang is a surefire way to give any reader the impression that the sender lacks professionalism. Words such as “yo”, “dude”, and “gonna” should be reserved for SMS texts and social media.
Recommendation: Avoid slang terms at all costs.

Sentence fragments

Far too often, writers rush to get an email sent without ensuring to complete all the sentences. Statements without a subject noun, for example, create ambiguity and invite misunderstanding. The SVO format (subject-verb-object) is a useful guideline to follow for this.
Recommendation: Include necessary parts of grammar (nouns, verbs, punctuation, articles, etc.).

Writing numbers under 10 as numerals

Many do not know this rule, which is why it is being highlighted as the final point. Writing single digits like ‘5’ or ‘6’ is considered a faux pas, especially to start a sentence. It does not impact meaning, but they should be spelled out as “five” and “six”.


Spell numbers zero through nine in word form.

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