Paper 2 (Writing Exam) - Part 2 (Writing letters)

Lesson 10 – Paper 2: Part 2 - Writing a letter or email

 

In Part 2, there may sometimes be a question that asks you to write a letter or an email.  There are numerous types of letters or emails that you might be asked to complete.  For example:

 

A formal letter or email

An informal letter or email

A letter or email of application

 

We are going to focus on how to write each of these letters in this lesson. 

 

Formal letters and emails

A.      Can you think of any reasons why you might write a formal letter or email?

 

Check your answers.

 

 

Advice from your teacher (Recording 10.1)

Listen to your teacher give you some advice about writing formal letters and emails. 

Make notes.

_____________________________________________

_____________________________________________

_____________________________________________

_____________________________________________

_____________________________________________

 

 

Greetings

B.      Decide whether the greeting is formal or informal.  Put the phrases into the correct category.

 

To John

Dear Madam

Dear Sir

Dear John

Hi John

Dear Mr Brown

 

Formal

Informal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reasons for writing

C.      Decide whether the reason for writing is formal or informal.  Put the phrases into the correct category.

How are things?

I am writing in response to your letter…

I am writing on behalf of…

I’m really glad to hear about

Sorry I haven’t written for ages

I am writing regarding your article…   

 

Formal

Informal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ending the letter or email

D.     Decide whether the ending of the letter is formal or informal.  Put the phrases into the correct category.

All the best

Yours faithfully

I look forward to hearing from you.

Take care of yourself

Write soon

Yours sincerely

 

Formal

Informal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read the following exam question.

You recently went to Ben’s restaurant for your birthday.  The service was awful and the food a complete disaster.

Write a letter of complaint to the restaurant manager.

Here are your notes.

------------------------------------------------------

 

Greeting

Paragraph 1 – Explain why I’m writing

Paragraph 2 – Give reasons why the service was awful

Paragraph 3 – Give reasons why the food was a complete disaster

Paragraph 4 – Ask the manager for a refund

End the letter

 

----------------------------------------------------

Now write your letter of complaint

 

 

 

 

E. Compare your letter of complaint to the model below and answer the questions. 

1. What similarities are there?

2. What differences do you notice?

3. Are there any words or phrases that you could perhaps use in your own letter?

4. Having read the model letter, do you feel you could improve your own letter of complaint? How?

 

 

Model letter of complaint

Dear Mr Jones,

I am writing to complain about the poor service and food that I received on Thursday 4th January in your restaurant.

My family and I were expecting a reasonable level of service.  We were however extremely disappointed.  We had to wait approximately twenty minutes before a waiter came over to take our order.  Then when he brought the drinks to our table, he brought over another table’s drinks.  Following this, we had to wait forty minutes for our main courses to arrive. 

The service was not the only disappointment.  The food was also terrible.  My sister ordered a house salad and when the salad arrived, the salad looked out of date and it only had lettuce and tomato, when on the menu the house salad says that it comes with egg, onions, olives and cucumber.  She was really upset as she is vegetarian and she couldn’t eat anything else. 

Due to the bad service and terrible food, I am requesting a refund. 

I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Tom Brown

(177 words)

 

 

Informal letter or email

F.       Answer the following questions. 

1. Who do you typically write informal letters of emails to?

2. What are the main differences between writing a formal and an informal letter or email?

 

 

We have already looked at some useful phrases that you can use when writing in an informal style.  So, we are now going to look at an exam type question. 

 

 

Exam question

Your English friend, Sam has written you an email, part of which says:

My parents have given me some money for passing my exams.  I don’t know what to do with the money.  What do you think? Can you give me some options?

 

Write an email in reply in 120-180 words. 

 

 

 

Before you begin

G.     Make some notes under each heading. 

Greeting __________________________________________________________

Paragraph 1 – (reason for writing) _____________________________________

Paragraph 2 – (Option 1) _____________________________________________

Paragraph 3 – (Option 2) _____________________________________________

Paragraph 4 – (closing comment) ______________________________________

Ending ___________________________________________________________

Name

 

Now write your email. 

If you can, get your teacher to check it. 

 

 

 

 

 

Letter of application

You typically write a letter of application when you would like to apply for a job.  A letter of application is a good place to sell your positive characteristics and state why you are the suitable person for the job. 

 

H.     Before we look at an exam type question, fill in the gaps below:

 

Positive adjectives about yourself

________________________________________________________

 

Phrases to introduce positive things about yourself

________________________________________________________

 

Phrases to start a letter of application

________________________________________________________

 

-    Greetings

________________________________________________________

 

-     First line (purpose of letter)

________________________________________________________

 

Phrases to end a letter of application

________________________________________________________

 

 

Check your answers!

 

 

 

Example question

Read the following exam type question. 

You are interested in applying for the holiday job described in the advertisement below.

A large department store needs English speaking assistants to work in the store during the summer.  The store is very popular with tourists. 

You should have a good level of spoken English.  If you are interested, please write explaining why you think you are a suitable person for the job. 

Write your letter of application in 120-180 words.  Do not include any addresses. 

 

 

 

 

I.        How would you organise this letter?

Check your answers with the model letter below. 

 

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing to apply for the position of English speaking assistant which I saw advertised on your website.

I feel that I am a suitable candidate for the job because, not only am I bilingual (Spanish-English), but also most people describe me as enthusiastic and sociable.  These characteristics are extremely important when working in a large department store.

In addition to this, three years ago, for one year I worked in a medium-sized shop near my house.  This taught me how to interact with customers and how important it is to smile. The more you smile, the more customers appreciate you and the more sales you make.  

Please find my CV attached.  If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely,

Katie Jenson

 

135 words

 

 

Extra practice

Write your answer to each of the following questions in 120-180 words

1.

A relative of yours got married last week.  Your aunt, who currently lives abroad, was unable to go to the wedding.  Write a letter to your aunt describing the wedding.  Describe the day and include some details about the people who came to the wedding celebrations.

Write your letter.

 

 

2.

Your English penfriend wants to start learning your language.  Write a letter to your penfriend giving advice about how to learn your language, telling him/her what he/she might find difficult and easy.

Write your letter.

 

 

3.

You have recently been to the cinema.  Write a letter to a friend encouraging him/her to see the film you have just seen.  Give several reasons why you think he/she would enjoy the film.

Write your letter.  

Answers

A.

To make a complaint or a suggestion, to request information, to give information, to request permission, to disagree with something/someone. 

 

B.

Formal

·         Dear Sir

·         Dear Madam

·         Dear Mr Brown

 

Informal

·         To John

·         Dear John

·         Hi John

 

C.

Formal

·         I am writing in response to your letter…

·         I am writing regarding your article…   

·         I am writing on behalf of…

 

Informal

·         I’m really glad to hear about

·         How are things?

·         Sorry I haven’t written for ages

 

D.

Formal

·         I look forward to hearing from you.

·         Yours sincerely

·         Yours faithfully

 

Informal

·         Write soon

·         Take care of yourself

·         All the best

 

E.     Own answers

 

F.

1. Friends and relatives

2. The language used tends to more friendly.  Often you can use abbreviations (although this is probably not a very good idea in the FCE writing exam).

 

 

G. Own answers

 

H.

Positive adjectives about yourself (Some examples) 

Adaptable

Ambitious

Bilingual

Creative

Determined

Enthusiastic

Flexible

Sociable

Hardworking

Organized

Reliable

 

Phrases to introduce positive things about yourself

I am particularly interested in this job due to…

I would be able to…

I believe I am a good candidate for this job because…

I have a lot of experience of…

I have always been interested in…

I have detailed knowledge of…

I’m good at…

I’m able to…

My ambition is to…

 

Phrases to start a letter of application

-    Greetings

Dear Sir or Madam

Dear Mr/Ms/Mrs + family name

 

-          First line (purpose of letter)

I am writing to apply for the position of…which I saw advertised in…

 

Phrases to end a letter of application

If you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely / Yours faithfully 

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