How to send a correction email
Admit it; we all make mistakes. Whether at home, at home, or in our relationships – we can't always be perfect. If you've made a mistake, you'll want to put things write quickly and clearly – and that's the purpose of this guide.
As well as showing you how to correct your mistakes, we'll show you how to correct someone else sensitively. This can help provide a solution and safeguard their feelings. It's a real win/win.
Whatever your reasons for sending a correction email, we'll show you how to do it better. Next, we explain the formal format for correcting mistakes in emails and why accuracy is critically important.
Finally, we finish with 4 correction email examples.
1. Correcting yourself in an email
Let's say you've sent a meeting invite out with the wrong date. (We've all done this, right?)
You can try and recall the email, but this isn't the nineties. Half of your recipients will have opened it already.
Firstly, take a deep breath and don't worry. We all do these things. It's what you do next that matters.
It's totally fine to send a follow-up email to correct your mistake.
Correcting a mistake involves following this message structure:
- Acknowledging your mistake – Admit it, put your hands up, and take it on the chin. You made a mistake!
- Apologize for any inconvenience caused – In most cases, the impact won't be major – but it's important to apologize if it could have an impact.
- Take responsibility – You did the (very minor) email crime; now it's time to do time and take responsibility.
- Provide a solution – Acknowledging a mistake is crucial, but you must suggest a solution. If you've sent the wrong product, for example, tell the customer they'll soon receive the correct one.
- Outline the next steps you will take to solve the problem – This is the critical part of your message. If it's a meeting invite, for example, provide the correct date/time/location.
Don't worry if this seems a lot to take in; it's pretty simple to put into practice. In fact, you can achieve this in just a few lines. Don't believe us? Skip straight to the samples!
2. Correcting someone else in an email
Sometimes you'll pick up an error in an email that could cause inconvenience, embarrassment, upset, or offense. Correcting someone in an email is a sensitive issue that can have a massive impact on the individual who has made the error.
Before we get to what to say in a correction email, here's what not to say in a correction email. "Pls fix, thx." This email (or any variation on it) is the typical 90s-style managerial B.S. that's as outdated as a Microsoft web browser. If you're going to correct someone, understand that it could impact their emotions, and be a pro about it.
- Be polite and professional – Even if someone has made a grave error, politeness pays. Don't upset or offend someone with a rude email. It says a lot about you (and it's not good).
- If it's urgent, say so – You can be polite, but push for a solution if the issue is critical.
- Point out mistakes to just one person (if possible!) – Whether it's correcting a mistake, delivering negative feedback, or sending a reminder, try not to hit "Reply All." A personal message delivered directly is much more effective and appropriate.
- Offer support – Sometimes, the person will need a chance to chat about their error. Or, they may need extra training on systems. As well as pointing out the error, offering support can
Correcting a mistake someone else has made involves following this message structure:
- Politely point out the mistake – Describe what they've done that's wrong.
- Provide context – Explain the impact of the error. The wrong date on a meeting is low-risk; the incorrect price to a customer is high-risk, for example.
- Offer a solution – If you can offer a solution, now's the time to do it.
- Add some words of encouragement – We've all made mistakes, so add some words of encouragement at the end of your email. This can help restore some lost confidence. It's what a good customer, colleague, or boss would do (so do it!).
The length, detail, and specifics of your correction email to another person will depend on your circumstances. But following these principles provides an excellent basis for any email.
You can see how that works in our correction samples below.
Correction email subject line
Correction subject lines must grab attention to limit damage and deliver a rapid solution. You must indicate it's a correction email and should include all the relevant information in the subject line.
Here are some examples of subject lines you could use when correcting something on your behalf:
- Error: my previous email contained a mistake
- Correction: I sent the last email in error
- N.B. updated document attached
- Meeting update – please find the correct dates!
- Price correction – now updated with the correct prices
- Please ignore my previous email and read this one!
If you need some more inspiration, you can grab and customize one of these subject lines:
- Email correction: (What you want to correct!)
- Updated meeting dates – (Meeting name, date, location, etc.)
- Please ignore my last email – (Correct information)
- Action needed: please find the correct (date, location, time, prices, etc.)
Here are some subject lines you should send someone who has made an error.
- Hey, there's an error in your last email
- Urgent: Error in your last email!
- Please Read* Your last email contained an error!
- We need to recall that last email
- Are the dates correct?
4 correction email examples
Here are several different scenarios that require a correction email, including errors you've made or they have. Of course, we can't cover all types of mistakes that need correction, but our samples are fully customizable!
You'll see how we demonstrate a professional and courteous tone, even when dealing with some serious problems. Ready? Let's smash into the samples!
1. Sample email correcting a mistake you made
This sample is suitable for correcting all types of errors. In this example, we're contacting a group of meeting participants to update the date, time, and location of a meeting.
Meeting corrections are common, so you won't need to apologize too much – but double-check the details before sending again!
2. Correcting an incorrect invoice email sample
Issues with an invoice are going to be a bit more sensitive. You're either asking for more money or less, so tread carefully to protect your relationship!
You'll see the same format where we acknowledge the error, apologize for it, and propose a solution.
3. Sample email for correction of a mistake made by someone else
Let's say someone in your company has emailed a customer with an incorrect price. Of course, you'll want to be polite and non-judgemental in your reply, but you'll want the error corrected immediately.
This is the situation in this sample, and here's how we deal with it...
4. Email sample to correct someone on your name
People getting your name wrong may be frustrating, but a polite follow-up email can stop it from happening again. Here's how to correct someone who has misspelled your name in an email...
Correction email template
There are loads of reasons why you might need to send a correction email for a mistake you've made. But this correction template is a single solution!
This customizable template should help you structure the email correctly. You can work through it from top to bottom and ensure you include all relevant information in an email.
This template should also demonstrate how to use a professional tone in an email.
The best way to use this email is as a guide. Add content where there are gaps and customize it until it suits your style and intention.
Making a mistake is common, so don't worry if it happens. Just deal with it promptly, politely, and professionally.
If you're stuck on how to respond, our templates and samples are a great place to start. You can use these as they are or as the basis for developing your messages. We hope you'll need to use them, but if you do, you're covered.
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