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24 November 2011

Sentence Transformations...

Sentence Transformation Advice

Some basic things to think about in part 4 of FCE and part 5 of CAE. Questions and comments (and additions) welcome!

18 November 2011

Report Shopping List

What to include in your report.

Article Shopping List

Things to Include in your Article
  • vocabulary connected to the topic
  • grammar to do the action in the question ("give advice" >>> should, if I were you, etc.)
  • stay within 10% of the word limit
  • write sufficient clear paragrpahs
  • connect your sentences
  • try to be interesting
  • show some personality
  • don't forget a title
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16 November 2011

First Writing Part 1. Two Samples.

Two First Formal Letters.

Take a look at these two letters answering the same Part 1 question. Decide which you think is better and why. You'll find corrections underneath. 

Letter 1

Dear Sir or Madam,
I am writing to apply to the [m1] Adrenalin Adventure whichü I have seen the advertisement in a magazine. I am thinking in[m2]  the possibility of surfing or horse-riding. Could it be possible?

 We are a group of seven[m3] . We would like to know ifü |+| is possible to sleep in single rooms, just becauseü |+| is not very confortable[m4]  to share the room with other people. Could you search if there are places avaliable on 12-13 august[m5] ?

I would be grateful if you could tell me ifü the prize [m6] includes meals and hire of equipment[m7] ? We are also worried about the lower age limit since I have a friend who is only 17. Could he come?
I look forward to hearing from you[m8]  ü.
Yours faithfully,

Elizabeth Mark.

You need to add a bit more interest in the language to convince that it deserves the higher mark.

Letter 2

Dear sir/ madam

I am writing to enquire about the üadvertisement I have seen in a magazine. I was consideringü some options to spend an amusing weekend  with my friends and I think the Adrenalin Adventure is the best one.

With regards to our permanence[m9]  there I was wondering if you have single rooms instead of the wooden lodges[m10]  .

Moreoverü we are interested in surfing and mountain-biking since the weather is suposed to be nice those days. Could you clarify if the price includes meals and neccesary equipment such as waterproof swimsuits, surfboards, bicycles, tyres among othersü.

There are seven of usü and we would like to go on 12-13 August. I would be grateful if you could confirm there will be places availableü.

According to the age there [m11] is no problem except for one person. Would be accepted not to be grown up?

It would be appreciated [m12] if you could address these queries as soon as  possible to[m13]  reachü a final decition[m14] . Thank you a lot for your time. I am looking forward to hearing from youü again[m15] .

Yours faithfully.

Alan Partridge.

Good work!

 [m1]I think you’re enquiring for a trip, not applyiong for a job


 [m3]There are..




 [m7]Such as….?

 [m8]And hope you can answer….

 [m9]Good try, but not really english

 [m10]A because  might be good here

 [m11]Regarding not according I think

 [m12]I would appreciate it would be better

 [m13]So we can



11 November 2011

Formal English - 10 points to correct and think about

Extracts from formal writing homework - comments follow below. Note that all of them contain good along with things to work on. Add comments or ask questions as you wish. (To add comments you need to click on the title and open this post in a new window)

2. some points which I think are not true[m2] in your article
3. I would like to draw up your attentionü [to…..] [m3] in order to voiceü my disappointment with the article publishedü in the local newspaper recently
4. must disagree[m4] whith your version of events
Dear Sir,
6. My name is Joseph Martin Smith[m6] and I am a member of the
8. If you want[m8] we are going to be very proud to share with you these information
10. it was really disappointingü the way you critic[m10] our event

[m2]Much too strong

[m3]You need an object.

[m4]OK; as longas you want to sound angry


[m6]Please Ask.

[m7]I think the newspaper is more justified to call their lawyers!


[m9]Not very friendly!

[m10]WO/G – a shame as that’s a very nice first para-

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10 November 2011

Advanced Use of English Part 2

If you'd like an extra exercise on filling gaps, have a go at a sample practice of an Open Cloze test here

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09 November 2011

Formal in Informal

How does your reader know if your writing is formal or informal? Simple - the very first sentence or two will tell them - often from the vocabulary on its own.
So, take a look at these two first sentences:
My greatest ambition would be to set up a new business
My greatest ambition would be to establish a new business
Only one word different, but one's certainly a bit more formal than the other!

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First Use of English Part 1: extra

Go here for information from Cambridge on part 1, and here for a practice exercise from Flo-Joe.

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