Email- Paragraphing Mistakes


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Mistakes with email paragraphing
Which of the emails below has correct paragraphing? (There is more than one which is
correct, and more than one with wrong paragraphing, including problems with opening and
closing lines and greetings)

Dear Mr Jones

Thank you for your email asking for information about our summer courses.

In answer to your first question, the courses start at various times from the last week of
July to the third week of August.
Some courses run at more than one date.

You also asked us about methods of payment.
We accept bank transfers as well as credit cards, but please note that you must cover any
international transfer fees.

If you have any further questions, please do hesitate to contact us.


Alex Case (Mr)

Dear Ms Hamed
Thank you for your email about your stay in our university halls.
I was very sorry to hear about your problems with noise from neighbouring rooms. I will
telephone the building management
I hope that is acceptable with you and please let me know if these problems reoccur.
Best regards
Alex Case
Head of Student Accommodation

Dear Jane

I am writing to you about the next series of workshops, which will take place in September.

I was wondering if this time it might be possible to use the Chancellor’s Office.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

All the best


Written by Alex Case for © 2014

Dear all

Hope you all had a good weekend.

This is just a brief reminder of the earlier than usual date for expense claims this month.

The deadline this month is 23



This is because of the public holidays at the end of the month.

Please let me know if you have any queries about this policy.



Hi Steve

Hope you had a good time in Stockholm.

I’ll be in Daytona the week after next and was hoping you might be available to meet up. I’ll
be there from the 14


to the 17


. Looking forward to your reply.

Best wishes


Dear Ms Cho

The deadline for payment of course fees was the day before yesterday, so please come to
our office and pay as soon as possible to secure your place on the course. Please note
that at this late stage payment must be in cash.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Alex Case

Written by Alex Case for © 2014

Dear Dr Hassan

Thanks again for putting my article up on your website. I have just linked to it on my blog.

Unfortunately, one detail in the accompanying bio is not quite correct. “Department of
Physics” should be “Department of Astrophysics”. Could you possibly change that part?

Thanks in advance.

Alex Case

Dear Sir or Madam

I am writing to you in order to ask for information about your new range of lab equipment.
My three main questions are below.

First of all, I’d like to ask about your discount policy. Would the equipment be cheaper if we
bought several at the same time? Secondly, I have a question about your after sales
service. Is it free as long as we own the products or do we have to pay for it on a regular

Lastly, could you tell me how long it will be before the next update to these products? We
are very keen not to buy products which will shortly become out of date.

I look forward to your reply.

Yours faithfully
Alex Case (Mr)

Dear Sir/ Madam,

I am writing to you about the robotics and artificial conference which you organised in

Oslo last month.

Although overall I enjoyed the experience, there were a couple of things which the

people from here agreed could have been improved, which I have described below.

Our first complaint was about the amount of space available in the time out area,

which was barely enough to relax in, let alone to network as we planned to. We were also
less than happy with the fact we had to leave the conference space straight after the last

Unless these factors are fixed by next year, I’m afraid we have decided we won’t

attend the same event next year. Could you let us know what action is likely to be taken?

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best regards,
Alex Case

Written by Alex Case for © 2014

Hi Jaime

Thanks for your email. It’s great to hear that you can come.

Our office is quite difficult to find, so thought I’d explain how to get here. After you get out
of the train at Mita Station, take Exit 3B. Cross the road straightaway and go through the
entrance opposite you. It’s the only brick building so should be quite easy spot.

Please let me know if anything isn’t clear, or of course give us a ring if you get lost.

Best wishes


Dear Sir or Madam

I’m writing to order some supplies for our graduation party next week. Can you provide us
with 4000 of your plastic wine glasses, code number 54GG? The red ones are best, but
your website says these are out of stock, in which case beige is fine.

We’d also like to order paper tablecloths and napkins. If possible, could you check what
our last order was and supply us with the same?

Please let me know if there are any problems with that order of if you need more

Sincerely yours

Alex Case

Dear Professor Hardwick

Thanks for your talk on Globalisation and the Modern University yesterday. It gave me a
completely different perspective on this topic.

If it is not too much trouble, could you possibly send me a copy of your PowerPoint from
the presentation? This is because several of my colleagues are interested in hearing more
about your views after hearing from people who attended.

Yours sincerely

Alex Case

Hint: Only two above are okay. The other ten all have different problems.

Write descriptions of the paragraphing problems with the other 10 next to them.

Written by Alex Case for © 2014

Match the problems below to the emails above. There is one of each.

Closing line not separated from the main paragraph


Missing closing greeting


Missing closing line


Missing opening line


New line for each sentence inside paragraphs (so it looks like a poem or song lyrics)


No blank line or indent between paragraphs


Not starting a new paragraph with a new topic


One-sentence paragraph(s) in the body of the email.


Opening line not separated from the main paragraph(s).

10 Starting a new paragraph even though it’s the same topic

Split and combine paragraphs in the ones which aren’t split in the right places.

Put triangles showing where blank lines should be.

Put arrows showing where other things which are in the wrong place should go.

Add the opening and closing lines to the ones which don’t have them.

Define a good and bad use of paragraphs in emails using the table below.




Define the things below as good, okay and bad.
1 An opening line.
2 A space or indent between the opening line and the main body of the email.
3 A one-sentence opening line.
4 One-sentence paragraphs in the body of the email.
5 Start a new paragraph when you change topics.
6 A space or indent between each paragraph in the main body of the email.
7 Start a new line with each sentence in a paragraph.
8 One topic per paragraph.
9 A space or indent between the main body of the email and the closing line.
10 A one-sentence closing line.

Label the emails above with their functions.

Written by Alex Case for © 2014

Use the list of functions below to help you. One function is not used.


Answering questions/ Giving information


Apologising/ Responding to complaints


Asking for payment


Asking for permission to do something


Correcting wrong information


Enquiries (= Asking for information)


Giving directions


Instructions/ Commands/ Demanding action (= Telling someone to do something)


Making arrangements (suggesting and fixing appointments, meetings, etc)

10 Making complaints (= Complaining)
11 Making enquiries/ Asking for information
12 Ordering/ Booking/ Applications
13 Requesting (= Asking for something or asking for help)

Written by Alex Case for © 2014

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