So, someone’s sent you the wrong email by mistake. It happens to the best of us, and it would help us to know how to remain professional in these situations. This article will look at the best ways to reply if you are the wrong recipient of an email.
What Should You Reply If Someone Sent You An Email By Mistake?
There are some great ways to reply that allow you to stay professional in most cases. These are your best options:
- I believe this email was sent to me by mistake
- I wanted to make you aware that I am not the intended recipient of this email
- I do not think this email was intended for me, but I’m open to a discussion if so
- I think you meant to send this to somebody else, but you have included me
- I’m just replying to let you know that you’ve sent this to the wrong recipient
- Was this email meant for me?
- Is this email directed at somebody else?
- I am not responsible for the issue stated, and I believe you’ve got the wrong address
- I’m afraid I wasn’t meant to receive this
- Is it possible this email was meant for somebody else?
The preferred version is “I believe this email was sent to me by mistake. It’s a polite and formal way to tell someone that you are not the intended recipient. It does not accuse them of being incorrect, and it allows them to fix the situation quickly without further worry.
I Believe This Email Was Sent To Me By Mistake
Being sent an email meant for somebody else can certainly be challenging to reply to. It’s made worse if it contains confidential information that you should not be aware of. That’s why this sentence is one of the best ways to brush over the mistake and have it fixed.
It might also be wise (along with all of the following emails) to mention that you have deleted (or will delete) the contents. This is even more necessary when talking about more confidential information that you should not know about.
Here’s a good example to help you with it:
Dear sir, I believe this email was sent to me by mistake, and I have deleted it accordingly. Kind regards, John Adams
I Wanted To Make You Aware That I Am Not The Intended Recipient Of This Email
We could use this phrase if we want to be professional in our response. “Make you aware” is a good way to show that we do not want to cause offense, and it’s an easy oversight for somebody to make when sending an email.
Using common phrases like “intended recipient” early in the sentence also makes your point clear quickly in the email. If you’re only replying to an email to tell the sender they have the wrong address, you don’t want to waste any more of their time than necessary.
That’s why it makes more sense to get right to the point with a quick sentence like this one.
Here’s how you can get it to work:
Dear Mrs. Margaret, I wanted to make you aware that I am not the intended recipient of this email. I do hope you send it to the correct person in time, though. Thank you for your good wishes, Jordan Smith
I Do Not Think This Email Was Intended For Me, But I’m Open To A Discussion If So
We can also be a bit more obvious by saying that an email was not intended for us. If it’s made clear from the email’s content that we do not believe we should receive it, then we can usually leave it there.
However, sometimes, emails can be confusing, which is why we use the “Open to a discussion” part at the end of this phrase. We can say this just in case it turns out that the email was intended for us.
That way, we’re not completely rejecting the email or the original sender’s message. We’re simply stating that we’re confused about why we received it, but we’d be open to discussing more if it was truly supposed to be a message for us.
Here is an example of it in action:
Dear Adam, I do not think this email was intended for me, but I'm open to a discussion about its content if so. I look forward to hearing from you soon, Mr. Craigs
I Think You Meant To Send This To Somebody Else, But You Have Included Me
“I think you meant” is a good way to start an email when you want to get straight to the point. However, you need to be a bit more careful about the delivery of this one. Some people think it can sound a bit judgmental.
It’s still a strong professional option, but there certainly are better choices out there. If you know the sender well, you might find this one is more than suitable for the situation, though.
This example will show you what we mean:
Dear Charlotte, I think you meant to send this to somebody else, but you have included my email address in the chain. I'll delete it if it's not meant for me. Kind regards, Sam
I’m Just Replying To Let You Know That You’ve Sent This To The Wrong Recipient
Using “just” as the second word in an email is considered informal in some cases. However, it’s also a good way to take away some of the formality of the email without losing professionalism.
Think about it this way:
- I’m just replying to let you know that you did this wrong.
- I’m replying to let you know that you did this wrong.
The “just” in the above example makes a huge difference in the overall tone. The first sentence is much calmer and allows us to point out someone’s mistake. The second sentence sounds like we’re accusing someone of making a mistake and demanding that they do better.
This example will show you it in an email format:
Dear Maria, I'm just replying to let you know that you've sent this to the wrong recipient. I do not believe this issue pertains to me at all. Thank you, Michael
Was This Email Meant For Me?
A simple question like “was this email meant for me” works really well in many formal situations. It’s only six words long. You couldn’t get more to the point than that, and it can save the sender a lot of time in correcting the issue.
You don’t have to say anything else after the question. It’s usually more than enough. However, you should try and include a little more, as it will help you to build a bit more of a rapport with the sender. The question alone can sound blunt without a bit extra.
Here’s what we mean:
Dear Mr. Sanders, Was this email meant for me? None of the contents seems to be familiar, and I think it's meant for somebody else. I hope this doesn't cause any problems for you, Mrs. Peters
Is This Email Directed At Somebody Else?
This question is slightly longer, but it follows the same general idea. We can use it to show that we don’t think we were the intended target for the email. This will help the sender to quickly address the situation.
Check out this example:
Dear Marlon B., Is this email directed at somebody else? I can't find any relevant information that might apply to me. Thank you for your time, J. J. Frost
I Am Not Responsible For The Issue Stated, And I Believe You’ve Got The Wrong Address
If an issue has been stated that you do not take responsibility for, this sentence is a great way to show that. It shows the sender that you were not supposed to receive the message.
Check out how to use it correctly below:
Hey Marcus, I am not responsible for the issue stated, and I believe you've got the wrong address. Sorry about that. I hope all is well, Julia Lodi
I’m Afraid I Wasn’t Meant To Receive This
“I’m afraid” is a great way to show that we don’t agree with something. It’s an apologetic phrase, and it allows us to tell the sender that they’ve made a mistake without being too harsh.
This example will show you the best way to deliver this line:
Dear sir, I'm afraid I wasn't meant to receive this email. I think you have the wrong address listed, and I will delete it. Best wishes, Dara O'Brien
Is It Possible This Email Was Meant For Somebody Else?
Finally, we can go back to a question format to stay professional. While this question is slightly longer than the others we mentioned before, it still works when we want to demonstrate that there might have been an error with the chosen recipient address.
This example should demonstrate how to use this question correctly:
Dear ma'am, Is it possible this email was meant for somebody else? I think you've got the wrong address. All the best, Lady Wincastle
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.