Thursday, October 20, 2011

Transactional Letter 1

 In Part 1 of Paper 2 of FCE you are usually asked to write a letter asking for or giving information. This task is compulsory. 

1. Register.

The first thing you have to decide is whether the letter is formal (to someone you do not know very well or do not know at all; i.e., to an organization) or informal (to a friend or family). 

Which of the phrases below are formal (F) and which are informal (I)?

1. Dear Sir / Madam  __

2. Love,
     Elena  __

3. See you next week! I can hardly wait!  __

4. I look forward to receiving your reply.  __

5. Yours faithfully,
     Ana Garcia Herrera  __

6. I am writing in reply to your letter of 15 May.  __

7. Give my love to your parents.  __

8. Should you require any further information, do not hesitate to contact us at the above address.  __

9. Write back soon and tell me all your news.  __

10. I’m sorry I haven’t written for such a long time, but I’ve been really busy.

11. I would be most grateful if you could send me any further relevant information.  __

Building up a stock of fixed phrases and expressions will help you sound more natural. Avoid translating from your own language into English. 
Look at the task below and decide what is your letter supposed to be, formal or informal?

Some young people you met last summer are planning to visit your country on holiday and have asked you to suggest some places of interest to see. Write a letter of reply using the notes below.

- when?      - how long?   - come and stay?

2. Planning
Planning may sound like a waste of time but it's not! It helps you stay focused and organize your thoughts. You are expected to divide the letter into clearly marked, three or four, paragraphs.

Look at the following plan and number the point in a logical order from 1 to 7.

Apologise for not writing sooner.  __
Thank them for their letter.  __
Ask when they will be coming.  __
Tell them to write again.  __
Invite them to stay for a few days.  __
Suggest places to visit and things to do. __
Say why you haven’t replied sooner.  __

Think of ways to extend your ideas adequately: give a reason for not replying; possible ideas of spending their time - activities, entertainment; best time of year to visit.

Useful phrases to remember:

Thank you for your letter.
It was great to hear from you.
Sorry I haven’t written back for so long.
Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply.
I’ve been really busy recently.
I’ve been working really hard.
I’ve been studying like mad for my final exams.
I’m really pleased you’re coming to Italy.
It’s great that you’re coming here soon.
When exactly will you be coming?
Do you know when you’re coming?
When are you going to be here?
Why don’t you come and stay with me for a few days?
I’d love to put you up for a few days.
Would you like to stay with me for a few days?
You could visit Lerici and Portovenere.
The Cinque Terre are well worth a visit.
I’m sure you’d really love the Museo Lia.
You can swim and sunbathe on the sandy beaches.
We could go for walks in the countryside together.
Write back soon and tell me your plans.
Write and tell me exactly when you are planning to come.

Now write your letter in about 150 words.

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