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30 April 2010

An Advanced Proposal

A sample of a Proposal from one of our Advanced students is now available on the download site. Please note the teacher's comments at the end: it's a great example of someone using what they've studied (and perhaps this website!) to do very good homework. Producing this level in an exam would be very difficult, but would certainly get a very high mark.

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28 April 2010

Language for Writing Complaints

Here's a selection of "complaining language" from the British Council, Madrid Adults. Particularly formal language is in italics.

Some introductory sentences:
I am writing to you to express my indignation/ outrage that
I feel I must complain about the manner in which
I am writing to you following a most regrettable incident
I am somewhat concerned about something which occurred
I am writing to you because I feel I can no longer put up with - direct!
I feel I must express my deep unease at the manner in which
I would just like to mention a little problem which has cropped up/ arisen concerning

Detailing the complaint:
I was absolutely outraged to learn that - direct!
I find it quite appalling/ most regrettable/ totally unacceptable that X should + verb - direct!
It is quite beyond belief that a grown adult should + verb - direct!
I was quite amazed to discover that - direct!
You can imagine my surprise when
It is rather unfortunate that he should + verb

Apportioning blame:
The whole thing was a cock-up (informal) of the first order - direct!
It is patently obvious that your company is to blame/ at fault in this matter - direct!
This was a gross discourtesy/ error on your part - direct!
Of course you yourself had no idea what was going on - direct!

Expressing your sense of personal injury:
This disagreeable incident has caused
I felt rather upset/ embarrassed about the whole thing
The whole thing has left rather a nasty taste in the mouth - direct!

Suggesting a solution:
I am sure you will agree that the whole business should never have happened in the first place
I feel that the least you can do now is to
I hope this business can be settled amicably
I sincerely hope a solution to this business can be found promptly
I look forward to receiving a prompt explanation as to what action you intend to take in this matter
I am sure that given good will on both sides a mutually-acceptable solution can be found
I would regret having to take this matter further
I would be most grateful if you could look into this matter and let me know what you intend to do about it
I believe I am entitled to a refund/ an apology.

26 April 2010

Reviewing More Complex Writing

Some tasks on paragraphs and organisation.

Go here for one on narrative organisation (useful for stories, review and writing about trips, travel etc, and here for another.

Go here for another on sentence transformation to develop more complex sentences.

Finally, go here for some complex sentence writing. COndense your ideas into fewer words to make a real impression.

25 April 2010

Are we alone in the Universe?

Hello everyone.
This is not a discussion of SETI, but homework!

You write your homework. You finish it. Hallelujah, you think. Done. Now let's hand it in and see how many yellow highlights I get this time!

But are you doing everything you can to reduce those highlights?

The reality is that some people do not check thier writing as much as they need to. One reason for this is because it is, if we're honest, not always that interesting and actually pretty difficult.

We can't check it for you, I'm afraid. But you could check it for each other. There are almost certainly one or two students in your group you know quite well now (hopefully more than that!). Why not agree to finish homework a couple of days early, and hand or send it to each other before you hand it or send it in? Email is rather useful for this...

You'll check thiers, they´ll check yours and you might both get some corrections, some opinions and even some ideas for how to do another one better in the future. If you'd like to find someone to share writing with, ask around your class, or have a chat with your teacher - they can ask the group for you if needs be.

Try it. You might like it.

Brian Smith

23 April 2010

Advanced: Application Letter

A sample formal letter - you don't need to speak Polish to use it!

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22 April 2010

Planning Practice

Helping you plan and organise your wriiting. Go here for 15 (yes, 15!) Fact Sheets, 8 worksheets and even a game to play.

The materials here are for all kinds of writing. Exam students should choose carefully for the kind of writing you will find more useful (notice all the work on letters!).

Concentrate on the topics you find most challenging.

15 April 2010

Useful Language for Reports and Proposals

A selection of expressions at a formal register.

Here's some things that might help your homework writing(s).

The purpose/intention/aim of this report/proposal is to outline / present / discuss / give a brief comment / suggest / sum up the last...
This report contains the relevant details concerning the problem as you required.
It's based on my observations/extracts from the questionaries / the feedback from participants...
As requested, I am submitting this report concerning...
This report is submitted in support of our request for...

Findings (Reports) /Suggestions (Proposals)
I suggest ... as it would result in...
Consideration should be given...
It would be prudent / inadvisable / advisable to ... on the grounds that it / owing to the fact that / due to the fact that...
I am opposed to the idea of...
It would be mutually advantageous
I suggest that the problem of... can be addressed through...
For the satisfaction of... the ... should be...
Another problem was that...
I would strongly recommend...
More steps also need to be taken to...

The obvious conclusion to be drawn from these facts is that...
I hope / believe / trust you will consider this proposal favourably / the proposal will be given due consideration / the proposal will receive due consideration.

Reports and Proposals: Headings & Subheadings

It may just be a personal thing, but I don't like proposals or reports (for example) referring to titles or headings in the body of the text.

For example, if you put this:

Food is one of the most...

I would suggest you change it to:

This is one of the most...

Miles Brickman

09 April 2010

Writing Tip: Vocabulary in Homework

Make sure your vocabulary in your homework is showing you can talk about the topic. Identify the topic(s) in the question, then use your coursebook.

Find the chapter(s) in your coursebook that refer to the topic(s) and look out some useful words. At FCE aim for six-plus, ideally a mix fo verbs, nouns and, best of all, some combinations and, if the formality is right, a phrasal verb or two are very wise.

At CAE it's similar, but you're probably looking for ten words/phrases or more. Check your formality carefully, and be on the look out for synonyms at all times.

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