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11 Grammar Mistakes to Avoid in Your Next Work E-Mail

Before you press "send to all."
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Make a good impression in person and in writing. A professional and well-written e-mail tells the person you are communicating with that she deserves your effort. It's always a good idea to proofread every e-mail you send to colleagues, business partners, and clients. Here's a useful guide.


Words such as “mail,” “luggage,” and “furniture” are never spelled with an extra “s.” Switch to a count noun that has a plural form instead.


“Case in point” means that you are proving your point with an example. You are not stating a case and a point separately.


“Advice” is a noun and “advise” is a verb. “Advice” usually pertains to offered guidance or recommendations, such as in “Please take my advice,” whereas “to advise” means to give someone advice or formally inform someone.


Use “fewer” when referring to a number of items. Clue: They should be countable, such as grocery items. (Yes, some shops make the same mistake in their cashier signs.) For things that are measured like water and oil, use “less” as in 500 liters or less.


“Everyday” is an adjective used to describe a typical or ordinary object or occurrence. An example: List everyday expenses on Excel.

“Every day” means “each day.” A good guide is to replace “every” with “each.” If the sentence makes sense, then have a space between “every” and “day.”


“You’re” is a contraction for “you are.” The apostrophe is used in place of the missing letter, which in this case is the “a” in “are.” “Your” is the possessive form of "you."

When read without the contraction, the incorrect sentence means: Thank you for you are consideration. That makes no sense at all.

Likewise, “it’s” is a shortened version of “it is,” while “its” is the possessive form of “it.”

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“Follow-up” is a noun referring to something that is done again or after an activity. “Follow up” is a verb that commonly means “to remind someone or pursue an effort previously agreed upon.”


There are many arguments on the interchangeability of “on behalf of” and “in behalf of.” According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the main difference between the two is that “on behalf of” means you are representing someone or something, while “in behalf of” refers to “the interest of; as a friend or defender of; for the benefit of.”


A good litmus test for this is to imagine that “there” is not there and the verb is after the subject of the sentence. “Samples” is in plural form and therefore requires the plural verb “are.” You may also reconsider the use of “there." You may just say “Good samples are in the closet.”

 


“For all intents and purposes” is used to drive home the point that a thing is similar to something else. “Intensive purposes” cannot be used in the same context.


While the word "alright" may be used to mean "satisfactory," it should never be used in formal writing. In the case of work-related dialogue, always use its two-word form "all right."

Technology Terms

Here at Town&Country, we use “e-mail.” But Merriam-Webster Dictionary, which has been updated to include technology jargon, accepts the common spelling “email.”

In our technology articles, we use “Internet” as a proper noun. But note that other publications have been using “internet” with a lowercase “i” widely.

On Salutations

Closing your e-mail with “Thanks,” in any given message is informal. This might seem come off as insincere or premature unless you really are thanking the recipient in response. When signing off, you would be right to use the more formal “Sincerely,” “All the best,” and “Best regards,” before affixing your complete signature, which includes your name and brief contact details.

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You're welcome. ("You're" not "your.")

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About The Author
Hannah Lazatin
Senior Staff Writer
Hannah is a communications graduate from Ateneo de Manila University. She’s originally from Pampanga and from a big, close-knit family who likes to find a reason to get together at the dinner table. Experiences inspire her. “Once, at a restaurant, I received an interpretation of my second name ‘Celina,’ and it meant 'someone who tries everything once' and that is me through and through,” she says. As for the job, she wants her “readers to be inspired by the stories of the people we feature and to move them to reach for greater things.”
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Kwyn Kenaz Aquino
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