Since there are so many instant messaging apps nowadays like whatsapp and facebook, we seldom communicate with our friends by email. However, when we communicate with our colleagues or professors in writing, we often use emails which is a more acceptable method for formal occasions.


Therefore, we will learn about a few common mistakes found in emails nowadays.


1. Writing the recipients’ full name

Sometimes we write the recipient’s full name in an email e.g. Dear John Chan/ Dear Mr. John Chan, but we usually only write either Dear John or Dear Mr. Chan in English. Try to remember to write the correct format since it gives others an important impression.


2. Repeated wordings when signing-off

People in Hong Kong often use ‘Regards’; ‘Warm Regards’ or ‘Best Regards’ to finish an email.

There are actually many more ways to do so, for example, ‘Thanks’ and ‘Have a good day’. These last two options may not seem that formal, but it could show friendliness too.


3. The difference between ‘Yours faithfully’ and ‘Yours sincerely’

‘Yours faithfully’ is best used when you don’t know the recipient. The email usually starts with ‘Dear Sir’ or ‘Dear Madam’. If you are familiar with or know the recipient, use ‘Yours sincerely’.


4. The difference between BCC and CC

BCC is blind carbon copy and CC is carbon copy. If you want the recipient to know the email will also be sent to others or you have mentioned that you will send the email to a third party, then you can use CC. If not, it is better to use BCC.


5. Don’t overuse “I am writing to…”

When we want to mention our aim for writing the email, we usually use ‘I am writing to…’ for example, ‘I am writing to lodge a complaint about staff impoliteness’, or ‘I am writing to let you know that I have just passed the exam’. There is actually an informal version, e.g. ‘Just to let you know that I have passed the exam’. So, when deciding which phrase to use, it will depend on whether the email is formal, semi-formal or informal.



After learning the above common mistakes, we hope you won’t repeat any mistakes next time!