Writing. Formal letters

May Writing: do the cover(ing) email/letter for a CV first and I’ll give you a handout on complaints for April.

Intermediate: 3 main types*

—-Polite, impersonal tone (don’t be too personal at least, use a passive if you can).

—-Formal style:

  • no contractions
  • vocabulary: ask for – request; ask – enquire; want – would like
  • formal linkers: So – Consequently, ; but – However, ; Then – Therefore, ; that’s why – For this reason
  • passive voice: I can be contacted/reached at…

—-Start with Dear Sir/Madam, Dear Ms Martin

—-State reason why you are writing (using the present cont. preferably!)

-One or a few paragraphs on the topics you need to address / tackle

-Saying good-bye in a few steps, depending on kind of letter:

  • complaints: (What you expect from them and you’ll do if they ignore you) + Thank your for your prompt reply + Looking forward to hearing from you + Yours faithfully, / Yours sincerely, + Your FULL name
  • job-applications: Mention being available for interview when and contact info + Thank you for considering my application + Yours… + FULL name [NB: Attached CV]


  1. 1.     Letters requesting / giving information
  2. 2.     Letters of complaint


  3. 3.     Job-application letters (Cover(ing) letter or emails with an attached CV) or applying for a course.

Letters by students:

*Expansion: Upper-intermediate – remember to buy Successful Writing, because you will be using it in Y4 and Y5!

  1. asking for/giving information
  2. requesting info, goods or services
  3. asking for/giving advice: I need some advice.
  4. inviting: We would like to invite you to…
  5. accepting/refusing an invitation: I will be delighted to attend to your wedding.
  6. congratulating: Congratulations for having passed your finals!
  7. apologizing/apologising, regretting: I am writing to apologize for not being able to attend yesterday’s lesson.
  8. thanking: I would like to thank you for making my stay in England such an amazing experience.
  9. expressing sympathy, condolescense: My condolences. / I am sorry to hear that your father passed away.
  10. giving news
  11. (avanzado) letters to the editor (solutions, suggestions) – see EOI Getafe’s Avanzado 2 examples.

1 Response to Writing. Formal letters

  1. Pingback: May & April Y3 Writing Assignments | Plans & What We Did In Class

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