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A written chat is not a good channel of communication for no verbal language, hence, is quite easy to make mistakes because each side might add different context to the sentences. This might cause difficulties whenever a correction, a negative or a disagreement has to be said in a written chat.

As an example. Just now I was having a chat with a client. We're both located in a latin country. We know each other for a couple of years and we meet in person several times during the year. Neither of us are native english speakers, but often conversations might include english words or expressions whenever spanish does not have a known translation.

During our last conversation, he was busy with a class and tried to write (in spanish) "we have a coffee break in five minutes", where coffee break was written in english. But unfortunately he wrote instead "we have a coffee brake in five minutes", using the word brake.

I'm not sure if he just made a mistake and he actually knows the correct word, or maybe he has been using the wrong word for a long time. I'd like to spare him future jokes from others, while not being myself pedant about his mistake.

  • How often do these inaccuracies occur? Do you both often talk with native English-speakers? Your friend / client might appreciate the advice more if his business involves dealing with native English-speakers often. – user8671 Jan 18 at 14:56
  • My phone does that (not all the time, but very very (too) often...) even with the proper keyboard enabled to switch between languages, that should allow the proper speller-checker to be on/off. It might be such a problem too (using an english word in a spanish text), and no big deal ;) – OldPadawan Jan 18 at 15:06
  • How often do you see this sort of mistaken happen, where the mistake makes the meaning unclear? – Upper_Case Jan 18 at 15:22
  • For both comments above; The mistake is unusual, actually, is more common to see mistakes in spanish related to coloquial words that seldom times a person actually reads in text. So my goal is not to have a solution for this precise example, but instead for any kind of mistake in text. – Santiago Jan 18 at 17:39
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Sometimes in cases like this I reply using the correct spelling or phrase (or pronunciation), without explicitly pointing out that the person made a mistake. In this case you might reply with

Let me know when you are back from your coffee break

without saying "hey, you made a mistake there". Obviously he's going to understand that you saw a mistake, but you aren't rubbing his nose in it. If it's an occasional error, this is a gentle way to give information without it feeling like a correction.

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