Email mistake search race
Starting with Text A only, with your partner try to find one mistake somewhere in the text as quickly as possible. When you are sure you have found it, put up your hand and the teacher will ask everyone (including you) to turn over your sheets. Tell the class what you think the mistake is and see if the other students and teacher agree.
If you are correct you score one point and the game continues with Text B etc. If you are incorrect you lose one point and cannot guess again for the same text. The other students can then turn over their texts again and continue looking.
If you are doing this task on your own at home, time yourself until you are sure you have found the one mistake in Text A. Then check with the answer key and score one point if you guessed correctly and take away one point if you guessed wrongly. Add one extra point if you guessed right in less than one minute. Continue with Text B etc.
How are things? Busy as usual?
Are you still okay for Friday evening? Will try to give you a call tomorrow anyway.
Dear Mr Jones
With reference to your letter of the 17 January, please accept our apologies for the mistake. You can rest assured that we will make sure that it does not happen again.
We will deliver 100 new items free of charge by the end of next week, if that is acceptable to you. Please let us know as soon as possible if that is okay, and we can put the order through for you straightaway to save any further delay.
The mistake happened because of communication problems with one of our suppliers, but we have now fully fixed this problem.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me
Alex Case, Director of Sales, TEFLtastic Plastics
Dear Sir/ Madam:
I am very interested in the job of Technical Assistant to the Assistant Technician as it is a natural step forward from my present position and would allow me to utilize the knowledge I have gained through my MSc. studies.
I think I would be suitable for the job as I have lots of experience in the field of advertising and am a motivated and sociable employee, as you can see in the attached CV.
I look forward to hearing from you soon
Dear Dr MacDonald
Thank you for the letter of 12 March. We regret to inform you there is some additional information we had asked for that was not enclosed with the letter. We would be very grateful if you could send us the documents listed below as soon as possible.
Firstly, could you send us the results of the blood analysis for the first quarter of this year? Secondly, we would appreciate it if you could send medical records for the 50 to 60 age group as well as the over 60s. Finally, would it be possible for you to type out a brief biography of the members of staff involved in the research for the in house magazine?
Thank you in advance
A. Case, PhD (Philosophy, Ox.)
Dear Sir Mountbatten
I hope you and your family are well and that the recent flooding has not affected you to much.
I was saddened to hear about the death of your champion race horse and was wondering if I could be of any assistance.
Alexander Case, Managing Director, Fido’s Pet Funeral Parlour
Dear Mr Phalang
With reference to your email of 16 September, please see the comments below. The numbering system relates to the numbers used in your email.
1.2 Your data is incomplete
1.5 Please recheck the delivery times provided by your local suppliers. These times are not acceptable.
3.3 We did not request this information. Please provide only the information requested.
4.2 A local supplier of this key component is not possible. We propose using German equipment to guarantee quality.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Which of the mistakes in the English emails above could be because of a cultural difference?
Text A: Yours sincerely is too formal. It should be something like “Best wishes”, “Yours, “CU” or “All the best”
Text B: Paragraphs 2 and 3 are in the wrong order. We always give the reason before the action.
Text C: There should be one more paragraph at the beginning saying why the person is writing, something like “I am writing to apply for the position of Technical Assistant to the Assistant Technician advertised on the TEFLtastic blog on 25 April (Reference number TA 23).”
Text D: “We regret to inform you..” is too strong as they are really complaining politely rather than giving bad news. “Unfortunately…” would be better.
Text E: It needs a closing line, something like “Please contact me at any time if you need any help”
Text F: It is too abrupt and direct, especially to an Asian.
The mistakes in texts B, C, D, E and F could have been made for cultural reasons.
PDF for easy saving and printing:EmailErrorsRace
Alternative error correction techniques and materials
Over 300 pages of other emailing materials, including a polished up version of this worksheet and over 70 pages on avoiding typical emailing mistakes, available here.