Task. B2 level.
Write about 180-200 words. At the end of this post, you will find information about how to write a letter and its structure.
This was the exam that I took in February 2017 at the language school. Obviously, I do not have the wording, but it is easy to guess the context.
- Explain the situation.
- Describe the lost article.
- Request compensation.
And this could well be an example…
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am writing to express my strong dissatisfaction at the disgraceful treatment I received at your company.
Last week, 22nd January, I travelled from London to New York and as it is customary, I checked-in my baggage two hours before my flight took off. But once in New York, when I went to the baggage reclaim to collect it, surprisingly, one of my suitcases had disappeared.
Regarding my suitcase, just say that, it is a medium brown, wheeled and with stickers of various destinations. But the most important thing is that I have inside, all my photographic material for my work.
To make matters worse, when I tried to talk to your staff members, they were extremely rude with me. They told me that, I had forgotten my suitcase at the airport, but nothing could be further from the truth, and they insisted that in that case the company could not do anything for me.
As you can imagine, I am extremely upset and I am entitled to receive a written apology from your company. Furthermore, I would like to request a full return of my policy and a compensation for damages, or else, I shall be forced to take further actions.
I expect to hear from you as soon as possible.
Structure of a letter.
As you probably know, there are several kinds of letters such as:
- Letters of complaint.
- Letters of request.
- Letters asking for, giving, refusing or accepting information, an advice or an invitation.
- Letters expressing congratulations, thanks or regret.
- Letters of apology.
- Letters of application for a job.
- Letters to the editor or authorities, giving your opinion or suggestions.
The style of the letter depends on who it is addressed to. It is not the same to write a letter asking a university for information as it is to write an email to a friend. The passive voice can be used in formal letters, as well as complex sentences, no abbreviated forms, non-colloquial English and so on. Whilst informal letters can include, idioms, colloquial English, abbreviated forms, etc.
Be that as it may, a successful letter consists of:
- A suitable greeting, depending on the style: Dear Mr Smith, Dear Anne, Dear Sir or Madam…
- An introductory paragraph, where the reason for writing should be clearly exposed using expressions such as, I am writing to express my strong, I am writing in response to, I am writing to request, I was terribly sorry to receive…
- A main body, explaining the subject into separated paragraphs using, firstly, according to, as you can imagine, as we all know, for all that, not only, but also…
- A conclusion, in which you sum up the subject or express what you expect from them using, I expect to hear from you, I hope that this matter can be, without adding I would appreciate…
- An ending, depending on the style and the greeting. If you have begun a formal letter with “Dear Sir or Madam” as a greeting, you have to end with ”Yours faithfully” or alternatively, you decided to begin with “Dear Mr Smith”, you have to end with “Yours sincerely”. But there are others formal and informal endings such as: best wishes, with love, sincerely, regards, yours…
Here, you will find more examples of letters or click on Tag Cloud, in the sidebar menu.