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an example of parallel structure

Common Writing Challenges


This is one time when face-to-face communication may be more sincere than a written letter or note. If an apology is due to a neighbor, a friend, a colleague, or other acquaintance, the apology should be delivered in person and certainly not by email. An oral apology also offers the apology recipient a convenient opportunity to react to the apology in some way.

As a rule of thumb, use a written apology when you do not expect a reaction or a reply from the recipient.

A written apology does not have to be more than two or three paragraphs. The examples of apologies here are business related and may be typed and mailed to a recipient.


• What happened to you is unacceptable.

• We apologize for our part in this mix-up.

• I know that this caused you a lot of grief. I am sincerely sorry.

• Thank you for letting us know about your experience at East Area Hospital. I am writing to apologize for the incident that you described in your letter to the Hospital Board.

• The handling of your order was far from our policy, and I apologize for the inconvenience to you.

• I am sorry to learn about your bad experience with one of our products.

• Please let me apologize for the careless and rude treatment you were given by one of our employees.

• We are sorry that the product you purchased over our website did not meet your expectations. Our policy, in cases like this, is to offer an equal exchange coupon. That is you may return the product you purchased, and the value of that product can be applied to a different product. The equal exchange coupon is valid for one year after receipt.

• I want to apologize for my poor behavior in the classroom. It showed poor judgment on my part, and I know it disturbed you and my classmates.

• I was disappointed to learn about the unacceptable error on your checking account that you hold with First County Bank. Please accept my apology as well as that of my staff.

• I have read your letter to our marketing manager about your wedding dress, and I am replying in her stead. Let me start off by apologizing for the condition in which you received your gown.

• I am embarrassed that I did that, and I apologize.




Dear ———,

Thank you for bringing to my attention your unfortunate experience while staying at the Big Island Hotel in Hilo on 20 May. Please let me apologize for the problem you had dealing with one of our clerks at the front desk.

I can tell you it is certainly not a policy or habit of hotel staff to treat customers the way you have described in your encounter, and I have informed all of our employees about your complaint.

If you would be willing to stop and see me the next time you are in Hilo, I would like to apologize to you in person.




Dear ———,

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has notified us that you have written to the them about work done by Sunny Day Porches at your home.

I understand that you reported our crew had broken a dinning room chair and scarred the top of a dinning room table in the process of their work, and that our crew did not inform you of that. What is more, they apparently did not clean up after they completed their work.

I was sorry to get this report about our crew because I stress to our employees that their reputation builds important customer relations. What makes matters worse is that your letter to the BBB states you called Sunny Day Porches on two occasions to inform us of your experience, and promises to visit you and examine the damage were not kept. I sincerely apologize for the damage reported and the inconvenience you experienced.

I have arranged for Jay Tibbets, vice president at Sunny Day Porches, to be in touch with you to arrange a visit and to look at the damaged chair and table to repair or replace it. Once again I apologize for the inconvenience and damage. I have included my mobile phone number at the top of this letter. Please call me if I can be of any further assistance.




Dear ———,

I am sorry that your advertisement in our publication did not run on the days that you had requested. This was a serious and embarrassing mistake on our part.

I am refunding your fee for the placement of the advertisement. Please find a check for the entire amount enclosed.

We do hope, however, that our oversight will not prevent you from advertising with us in the future.





Dear ———,

We are sorry that you did not get the toaster model that you had ordered from Popular Kitchens.com on 3 December. I can assure you that if an item model is not in stock, it is not our policy to substitute an order with a different model.

I do not have a good explanation for why you were sent the wrong toaster, and a cheaper one at that! The holiday season, however, is our busiest time of year, and I can only suggest it was human error that put the wrong toaster model in the mail to you.

I am sending the correct model to you by UPS. That should reach you within three days. I am also enclosing a coupon for ten percent off your next purchase at Popular Kitchens.com.

Sincerely yours,




Dear Colleagues:

I know this is going to inconvenience many of you, but I regret that I have to change the date of our annual sales meeting. The company that prepares the data we need informs us that it will not be able provide the data to us on the date promised. The new date for our sales meeting is December 17.

I apologize to everyone, and especially to those who made special arrangements to be able to attend the meeting on the date previously set.

I regret I cannot postpone the meeting until after the holidays. It is essential that I discuss with you important corporate developments on the new meeting date.

Once again, my apologies.