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CAE - informal letter/email

Paper 2 Part 2 - Informal letter/email

A LETTER/AN EMAIL (formal or informal) is written in response to the situation outlined in the task. Letters/emails in the Cambridge English: Advanced Writing paper will require a response which is consistently appropriate for the specified target reader.

When a response is framed as an email, letter-writing conventions such as an opening salutation, clear paragraphing and closing phrasing are always important.

Hints

  • DO begin by giving a reason to write. You would normally start with a greeting, then acknowledge the letter or some key information given in the letter to which you are replying.
  • Use paragraphs in which you cover each of the points mentioned in the task input.
  • As well as the points mentioned in the task input, think of some of your own ideas.
  • Identify the function(s) you should use (e.g. advising, reminding, requesting, suggesting...).
  • Make sure the points covered follow a logical right order so that the whole letter/email is coherent.
  • Finish the letter/email in a natural way, by arranging to see or contact the person your are writing to again soon.
  • Remember to use an informal tone.

Model questions and answers

Informal letter/Email - Model question

TASK

Read part of an email from a friend who is planning to come and live in your country.

Of course, I'd really need to learn the language. I know you've been learning English for years, so you've had loads of experience. Are there any tricks of the trade that might help me pick up your language a bit more quickly?

Reply to the email message offering your friend some advice. Write your email in 220-260 words in an appropriate style.

Informal letter/Email - Model answer

Dear Emma,

Thanks so much for your email. It was so good to hear from you. I'm really sorry not to have been in touch earlier but I've been up to my eyes preparing for my exams.

What great news that you're finally coming to France - I can't wait to catch up in person! And you're going to learn French too - fantastic!

I've bee learning English since I was a kid as you know, and by far the most useful experience was going to that language school in Brighton for three months last summer. If I were you, I'd definitely enrol in a course like that to keep you focused. I'd also suggest reading as widely as possible, online newspapers, blogs, books, the back of a cereal packet - anything, really! Don't be tempted to buy one of those 'Learn French in a weekend' courses though - a waste of time if you ask me. Learning a language takes time and effort.

What seems to work for a lot of peope is learning songs. My brother reckons that he has learnt more English from the Top 40 than he has at school. And you know my frien Lucie? She raved about her fortnight with a host family, so that's worth a try too. Of course, you could also get a French boyfriend or girlfriend to speed up your progress!

Anyway, I hope that's helped give you a few ideas. Do write back as soon as you can - I'd love to hear all the details of your plans.

Lots of love,

Sandrine

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