So You Think You Can Email?

Avoid these six common email mistakes and you’ll be on your way to email super stardom.

Electronic mail – what a world we live in! It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s convenient. I can’t even imagine how people communicated with each other before email. Talking face to face? That’s a scary thought. Especially if you have a face for email.Person typing an email on a laptop

Everyone has their own personal style and flair when it comes to emailing. Although some of the emails I’ve read make me want to return to sender. There’s just a certain art form to it. When done correctly, emails can be visually stunning. I want to highlight the instances when good emails go bad. The following are my email pet peeves.

Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

1. The Space Case

Sentence after sentence after sentence can be tough to read when it’s all one big paragraph. Hi, is your paragraph running? Well, you better go catch it!





Be selfish and use your friends! They’ll be there for you. Even when it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year.

2. The Nobody

This is where a person writes the email in the subject line and leaves the body blank. We are just not wired up to process that. Whenever I open up an email with no body text, it startles me. I don’t expect it and end up needing to reread the subject line. Emails should read like a 1-page book, where the subject line is the title of the book. Use this golden rule: No body for nobody!

3. The Group Replier

Jennifer just added Bruce to a group email chain to get his opinion on the subject. Mike replies all to the very first email in the chain. Bruce was not on the very first email in the chain. Bruce does not see Mike’s email. Bruce is mad. You wouldn’t like Bruce when he’s mad. Please don’t make Bruce mad. Reply to the latest and greatest email.

4. The Texter

Dexter: R u coming 2 the meeting 2morrow?

My eyes, they burn! I don’t even want to read texts written like this, let alone emails. Take the two seconds you saved by writing in shorthand, and think about how unprofessional you come across. Let me spell it out for you: spell out your words.

5. The Shouter

This is where a person writes the entire email in all caps. Please stop shouting at me! Unless your email starts with “SORRY, MY CAPS LOCK KEY IS STUCK,” you have no excuse. Of course, my grandma gets an exception to this rule. Shout out to my grandma!

6. The VIP

This is where a person consistently overuses the “High Importance” email flag. You have officially become the boy who cried high importance. How important is the email if you have no intention to follow up by calling or talking face to face? Personally, I regard all emails as equal in terms of importance, even those from Nigerian princes who need money.

With the number of emails we send at work, it’s tough to not have fallen into one of the email scenarios above at some point. Regardless of how you write your email, the one thing everyone should do is reread your email before sending it! Unless, of course, you like that rush you get when you notice a spelling or grammatical error immediately after hitting send.

What are your email pet peeves?


  1. This is great. My manager just told me I needed email writing there should be an online webinar on this subject

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