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In reviewing graduate school applications, I have a letter of recommendation that consists of two paragraphs. The first one is very detailed and personalised. The second one I think is standard and used for all students. The problem is that on the second paragraph, another name is used. I guess the professor copied and pasted it from another letter of recommendation and forgot to correct the name.

How do I ask the professor, politely, to change that name?

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7  
Why do you need the professor to change the name? I would have thought communication from the professor would be sufficient. – emory Jan 4 at 19:04
2  
It's good to know that while prospective graduate students often mess up the school name, this problem cuts both ways. – March Ho Jan 4 at 22:37
10  
@MarchHo I'm going to start my own university called [SCHOOL NAME HERE] just to throw everyone off. – corsiKa Jan 4 at 22:50
22  
@corsiKa: Is that before or after the University of '); DROP TABLE Schools;-- ? – Steve Jessop Jan 5 at 0:59
1  
You should extend an invitation to the student named in the second paragraph, as evidently the professor considers him also deserving of a letter of recommendation. – A. I. Breveleri Jan 5 at 2:47
up vote 55 down vote accepted

No need to be anything but simple, polite, and direct:

Dear Professor Careless:

Pardon me, but the second paragraph of your letter has the name of a different student, which I assume to be a mistake. Would you care to provide a corrected version of your letter?

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164  
(Make sure to replace "Professor Careless" with the actual professor's name when copying and pasting this text.) – Dan Romik Jan 4 at 15:42
31  
@DanRomik Actually, it would seem fitting not to. – Kimball Jan 4 at 15:57
29  
+1 but I'd be more inclined to write "could you please" or "would you please" rather than "would you care to". – Andreas Blass Jan 4 at 16:10
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@user121256 I'd rephrase it too, if only because "would you care to" isn't said very often where I live. It does seem slightly confrontational-ish in the same sense that "do you wanna fix the mistake?" would. "Could you please" sounds more polite to me. I don't think it's a big deal though (source: phdcomics.com/comics.php?f=1047). – Milo Price Jan 4 at 16:52
28  
Behold, my glorious bikeshed. – jakebeal Jan 4 at 19:00

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