In part 1 you may have to write a letter or an e-mail requesting information or services; this type of letter is called a letter of inquiry. You may have to ask a friend to put you up at his house during your visit to his hometown. You can use indirect questions as you don't want to impose.
Example: Can I stay at your house for the weekend? Indirect question: Do you think I can stay at your house for the weekend? Would you mind if I stayed at your house for the weekend?
Practice: Transform the following direct questions into indirect questions by adding the following expressions:
Do you know if...? Could you tell me...? Can you tell me...? Do you think you could ...? Do you think you can...? Would you mind ...ing...? I was wondering if you could... I wonder if you can/it is possible to ... Do you know where/when/if...?
Notice word order changes and auxiliary verbs in direct vs. indirect questions:
Where is the nearest bus station?
Could you tell me where the nearest bus station is?
Do you have free time on the weekends?
Do you think you have free time on the weekends?
Can you book the hotel room for me? Is there a bus stop near your house? Can I come and stay with you next weekend? Can I use your car? How is the weather at this time of year? Could you help me with my exams? Can you pick me up at the airport? What's the name of the village where your father was born? Can you give me a ride to the airport? When are you free on Tuesday? Do you know how to operate this photocopier? Are you free next week? Does your brother like surprise birthday parties? Are students allowed in the teachers' lounge?
Your next assignment consists of writing a letter of application for Paper 2 (Writing) Part 2:
When you have finished, go through the following checklist:
(1) Have you included all the notes? (2) Have you used paragraphs? (3) Have you written the right number of words? (4) Have you linked the points clearly? (5) Have you made any mistakes in grammar or spelling? (6) Have you used a range of vocabulary? Are there any words you have used too many times? Don't use adjectives such as 'good' or 'bad,' for example. Be more specific! (7) Have you started the letter or email correctly? (8) Have you used the right style for the person you are writing to?
Remember that it's going to be your first draft and that you may have to rewrite it!
5. Which group of expressions should you avoid in a letter of application?
(a) In addition / happy / I am certain that ... , will, (b) Although / not / I am afraid ... (c) too (small / expensive), might, may, could
6. The following should not be used in formal letters:
(a) adjectives (friendly, passionate, etc.) (b) contracted forms (don’t, isn’t, wouldn’t, etc.) (c) indirect questions (Could you tell me how I can get to the hotel?)
7. Cross out the informal expression in each pair:
(a) I’m writing about / I am writing in response to your advertisement... (b) I also have some queries / a couple of questions regarding costs (c) Could you also let me know / indicate whether the cost of excursions is included? (e) I want /would like further information about your courses. (d) I’m looking /I look forward to receiving your reply / getting your answer
Soon you'll find the answers to the Word formation exercise here!
Key to Worksheet - formal letter writing
Addressing the recipient Dear Mr Sanches (for a man) Dear Mrs Sanches (for a married woman) Dear Ms Sanches (for a woman whose marital status is unknown) Dear Miss Sanches (for a single woman)
Dear Sir or Madam: (if you don't know who your recipient is)
Note that the title is followed by a last name; Miss is rarely used nowadays as it is considered sexist to discriminate a woman based on her marital status; Ms is widely used nowadays as it addresses a woman regardless of marital status (married, single, divorced, etc).
I have just read your advertisement for (occupation) published in (newspaper) I am writing in response (1) to your letter of 12th May. I am writing to let (2) you know that I’ll be glad to attend the course. I am writing with (3) reference to your letter/advertisement Concerning your advertisement posted on 17th May, which I saw in the Guardian… I am writing to apply for the job of waitress advertised last Sunday. Thank you for your prompt (4) reply. Sorry I have taken so long to get back to you. Just to let (5) you know that I won’t be able to make it to your graduation ceremony. I am writing to let (6) you know that I’ll be out of town next month. It’s so nice to hear (7) from you again.
I would like to know what time the class starts. I wonder/was wondering/would like to know (8) if you could possibly tell me what I should wear to the dinner party. I would be grateful if you could book the tickets for me. I would appreciate (9) if you could tell me how much cash I should have on me during my stay in Edinburgh. I would appreciate (10) if you could give me more information on hotel prices in Edinburgh. Could you send me a brochure? Could you send me any literature you have on American history? I would be most grateful to receive information on your college. Which dates best suit you? I am pleased (11) with the invitation to your graduation ceremony. I have always been interested in working as a librarian and this is one of the main reasons why I am applying for this job. I have recently been working for my school lab for 3 months. I have already taken German classes, so I am quite familiar with both the culture and the language. Last year I attended a summer course at the University of Westminster. I really appreciate (12) working with pre-school children.
I can speak three languages. I have a lot of experience of skiing.
Being helpful I am available (13) for an interview on Monday, 17th March. I am available (14) to start work on Monday, 17th March. Please don’t hesitate (15) to contact me at (your number) if you need any further information on prices. Let (16) me know what’s good for you. Let (17) me know what you think. Please let (18) me know if that is suitable for you.
Closing I look forward (19) to receiving your reply. I am looking forward (20) to your reply. I hope to hear (21) from you soon. I will be waiting for your reply. I look forward (22) to seeing you in April. Thank you in advance (23). Thank you very much.
Love, Best wishes (24), Best regards, All the best, Yours sincerely, (if you begin your letter with the person’s name) Yours faithfully, (if you don’t know the person’s name)
HOMEWORK CORNER -- Here's your chance to catch up with homework!
Assignment 1: Write an essay to introduce yourself. Tell us about your previous experience as an English learner, why you are taking the FCE prep course and what you expect from this course. Remember that the compositions must be handwritten --- do not type them.
Assignment 2: Letter of enquiry between 120 and 150 words based on the ad given in class. Use the expressions from the exercise sheet.
Assignment 3: If you have already bought our coursebook, do the PAPER 1 in TEST 1 (reading). It takes 1 hour and the keys are in the back of the book. Check your answers and bring your doubts to class. You can also post any doubts you might have in the blog.
Assignment 4: Our book test1 paper 2 (Writing) Part 2. Choose one of the assignments to do. It's due next class. Remember that it's just the first draft.
Assignment 5: If you already have the book go to TEST 1, PAPER 2, PART 1. There you will find the first task of the writing paper. Don't forget to include all the information requested in the rubrics.
Assignment 6: TEST 1 - Paper 2 / PART 2 - task 4 - I suggest that you take a look at websites about hotels for specific vocabulary. You should also read some reviews of hotels. There are several websites that can help you with both register and format (reviews) and lexis (hotel websites). Remember that it's the first draft. At this point you should focus primarily on the content (relevant information you can include in your review) and vocabulary.
Assignment (Monday, May 18) Reading: Test 4 paper 1 Don't forget to do the suggested online exercises. Just go to the links on this site!
Assignment (Monday June 8) - Last Monday we talked about glossaries and how we can benefit from them. The very preparation stage is a great way to learn new vocabulary and get it organized. Choose an area of your interest: food, health, travel, hotelling, media, transportation, education in England, or any other area that might interest your classmates! Prepare a glossary with useful words and expressions for Paper 2. You can send it to me by e-mail.
FCE Certificate holder Mônica Saraiva tells us about her experience with the FCE course
Good Evening. Today is a day to be remembered, because it is a day to be proud of ourselves. We should not be shy. This achievement is a result of our effort, capacity and knowledge. But we should not forget those who have helped us to be here tonight: family, parents, friends, teachers and Cultura Inglesa. Cultura Inglesa deserves a special mention: a language school of recognized excellence in all areas. We had all the tools we needed to get here: well trained teachers, support from employees of all branches, kindness and efficient help from everybody and teaching materials supported by new technology. Nowadays, we all know the importance of English. It gives us the chance to be one step ahead, and opens up wider opportunities in a competitive job market and allows us to make choices and to develop, both personally and professionally, in a world where English is the international language of communication. When I decided to take the preparation course for the FCE exam, I wanted the best. I had the best and that’s why I can tell you that I am an A student. Yes, I have got an A. The preparation course gave me everything, but mostly the conditions to know exactly what I was going to face during all exams. The key of my success was not to be surprised. I wanted to challenge myself with the FCE exam. At my age, I’m 44 years old, you have to create challenges to overcome. Going back to a classroom, having homework to do, making new friends, having doubts, feeling scared, was a wonderful challenge that I have overcome with merit. I hope you feel proud of yourselves as I do of myself. You can only give your best when you are asked to do so. We all did. Let’s celebrate. Let’s be proud of it. We have a certificate from Cambridge University, which everybody knows is one of the oldest and most respected Universities in the world. Let’s create another challenge? Let’s just continue. Knowledge never ends and Cultura Inglesa will be here to give us all the support we need. Good night and good luck for all.