You may be very surprised!
Look at the General Training Task 1 responses below. Can you guess which one got the highest score?
Your friend wants to visit you but it’s not possible. Apologise, say why it’s not possible and suggest another arrangement.
Task 1 Model A
I was pleased to receive a letter from you, informing me of your upcoming visit to my hometown.
I sincerely apologise but I will be unable to accommodate you during the week you requested, as I will not be available. I am sorry to inform you that I have been requested to complete a training course at my company. However, I will be happy to rearrange a mutually convenient date in the near future.
What is your opinion on the matter? Please let me know your availability. I propose next week if that is suitable for you. Please accept my unreserved apologies.
I look forward to hearing from you,
Task 1 Model B
Great to hear from you at long last. Sorry to hear about your job but at least you’ll be able to relax and travel until you find something else.
Speaking of which… I’d really love to have you come and stay at mine for a while, but next week’s not great timing – I’ve got loads of stuff to do at work and I’m on that training course I’ve been wanting to do for ages. It’s a bit tricky to rearrange unfortunately – you know what these things are like.
How about the week after though? The training will be over by then and I’ll have much more time to show you around. Let me know what day’s best for you and I’ll come and pick you up at the station. Can’t wait!
All for now,
Yes, Model A is beautifully written, but what’s the problem? It’s much too formal of course, and this will seriously lose you marks if Task 1 asks you to write to a friend. Stay as informal as you possibly can, like Model B:
- ask direct questions – you know what I mean?
- put a few exclamation marks!
- use tons of phrasal verbs and a slang word and/or idiom if you’re confident it’s the right one
- choose an informal way of starting and finishing the letter
- use contractions (I’m, I’d, I can’t etc)
- use direct commands (Let me know!)
- don’t be too polite – remember you’re talking to a friend
- adopt a ‘spoken’ style by dropping unnecessary words (
That’sall for now = All for now) ( It wasgreat to hear from you = Great to hear from you).
Read plenty of ‘informal’ letters like this one to get more familiar with this style of letter.
Finally, remember to always check who you’re writing to – don’t use this style if you’re writing a Letter of Complaint or Job Application!