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?

  • 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, 2016 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, 2016 at 22:37
  • 11
    @MarchHo I'm going to start my own university called [SCHOOL NAME HERE] just to throw everyone off.
    – corsiKa
    Jan 4, 2016 at 22:50
  • 23
    @corsiKa: Is that before or after the University of '); DROP TABLE Schools;-- ? Jan 5, 2016 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. Jan 5, 2016 at 2:47

1 Answer 1


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?

  • 173
    (Make sure to replace "Professor Careless" with the actual professor's name when copying and pasting this text.)
    – Dan Romik
    Jan 4, 2016 at 15:42
  • 31
    @DanRomik Actually, it would seem fitting not to.
    – Kimball
    Jan 4, 2016 at 15:57
  • 30
    +1 but I'd be more inclined to write "could you please" or "would you please" rather than "would you care to". Jan 4, 2016 at 16:10
  • 10
    @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 P
    Jan 4, 2016 at 16:52
  • 31
    Behold, my glorious bikeshed.
    – jakebeal
    Jan 4, 2016 at 19:00

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