Suppose that the recipient overlooked or misunderstood (part of) a short, truly succinct email because he didn't read carefully, not because the sender flubbed anything (like bad writing).

The email is so readable that any repeating or rephrasing in a new email is redunant.

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    What have you tried in the past and what about those attempts did not suit your needs? What communication methods do you have available? Also, is this the first time you have asked this person to do so or is it habitual?
    – Em C
    Apr 12, 2018 at 20:11
  • @EmC I'd write something like : 'Can I suggest rereading my email please?'. But this sounds brusque, because rereading assumes lack of care.
    – user2423
    Apr 12, 2018 at 20:15
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    I already VTC as "unclear" due to lack of details, but what about this makes it not a duplicate of this earlier question you asked?
    – Em C
    Apr 12, 2018 at 20:21
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    @EmC These questions are distinct. That question assumes the recipient to have the answer who ought reply. This question assumes the sender to have the information.
    – user2423
    Apr 12, 2018 at 20:37
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    I understand that they are not completely identical situations, but what about the answer there does not also answer this question? (See this meta regarding duplicates.) The differences seem trivial to me; they are both about how to tactfully clarify a miscommunication in email.
    – Em C
    Apr 12, 2018 at 20:41

1 Answer 1


I think the mistake here may be to assume that your email was indeed as readable as you believe. Many times I've written a letter or email and felt the message was clear, only to re-read it at some later point and see that it could have been interpreted in a different way.

Regardless, the only resolution I could see being effective is a response along the lines of:

If you would read my email again, you will see that I said "{quote the misinterpreted part of the email}", therefore your response "{possibly quote the part of the reply which is misunderstood}" seems rather out of place.

The recipient only has two options at this point: a) acknowledge their error and concede the response was misguided, or b) clarify their different interpretation of your statement and why they feel their response is justified.

That seems about as tactful as you can be, whilst actually seeking to clarify the point.