S2E6: Common Mistakes in Business Emails (Part 2)

S2E6: Common Mistakes in Business Emails (Part 2)

Let’s continue where we left off.

The next mistake is the difference between ‘bring’ and ‘fetch’.

These are two verbs that are constantly misunderstood. And understandably so. Look at the example below to understand the difference.

Sarah is sat by the window in the living room.

Colin is working in the kitchen.

Sarah says, ‘Colin, will you bring me a glass of water, please?’

Colin pours Sarah a glass of water. He then walks into the living room, over to the window (where Sarah is sitting) and gives her the glass of water.

Now, look at this example:

Colin and Sarah are both sitting by the window in the living room.

Sarah says, ‘Colin, will you fetch me a glass of water, please?’

Colin leaves the window and the living room to go into the kitchen. He then pours Sarah a glass of water, returns to the living room and gives it to her.

Do you see the difference? In the first example, Colin was at point A (the kitchen) whilst Sarah was at point B (the window). Sarah wanted Colin to get her a glass of water and, therefore, bring it to her.

In the second example, Colin and Sarah are both sat together, by the window at point A. Sarah asks Colin for a glass of water. He has to leave the room – and therefore Sarah – in order to get the water. He has to go to the kitchen and then return to the original spot (point A).

Here’s a simple way of remembering the difference:

Bring is for when a person is in a different place from you.

Fetch is for when a person is in the same place as you.

Now let’s look at our next example, which is the difference between ‘send’ and ‘take’.

‘Send’ means to cause to go or be taken to a particular destination. So, if you send your children to summer camp, you do not go with them.

‘Take’ means to move something/someone from one place to another. So, if you drive your children to summer camp – and therefore ‘drop them off’ – then you take them to summer camp.

We use ‘take’ when we are going to hand something to someone. For example: ‘I must take these files to the office immediately.’

We use ‘take’ when we are asking someone to do a delivery. For example: ‘Will you please take these files to the office?’ Well, I hope that’s prepared you for the mistakes ahead when writing emails.
Stay tuned for the final episode, episode 7, which is all about alternatives to overused phrases.