Formal letter of complaint

Writing a formal letter of complaint. 

Formality is used to put distance between the writer and reader.

1. Remember to begin your letter,
To whom it may concern,

2. Finish it with,
I await your response and solution to the problem.

3. Don’t use contractions.

4. Use formal verbs, example…
Get – receive
Want – expect
Buy – purchase
Work/Play – function

5. Use passive structures.
When I opened the box I found that the player was damaged.

6. Use inversions. Example…
Had I known it was defective.

7. Keep it simple and clear.

8. Use more formal adjectives and adverbs to strengthen your feelings.

The level of service was outrageous.
I would very much appreciate.

Here’s an example of a short letter of complaint. The first of each paragraph is informal, the second (in italics) is corrected and is formal.

To whom it may concern,

The other day I bought a new mobile phone from you.
I recently, Tuesday the 7th of March,  purchased a mobile phone from your Regents Street store, London.

The assistant told me that it was easy to use and I could use the internet.
I was assured by a member of staff that it was both simple to operate and Internet enabled.

When I got home and tried it I was unhappy because the instructions were complicated and not like he said.
However, upon arriving home and attempting to power on the device, I found it simply would not function.

After trying to connect to the Internet I couldn’t.
I was therefore unable to access either the telephone or the internet. Outrageous!

The assistant didn’t tell me the truth and I am not happy about it. I want to bring it back and get a refund. Tell me how.
I was completely misled by the assistant, and the entire experience has left me bitterly disappointed.

I expect full recompense and await a swift response.

Yours sincerely.
Good day.

B2 Writing a review in depth

Writing a review is an option in both FCE, CAE and CPE. It’s an excellent option as you are able to choose the subject, and so the vocabulary you are familiar with. Here are some basic pointers.

1. Say something in the simplest way. Formal writing is almost always concise and to the point.

2. Try to use only one tense in each sentence. Change tense when you change sentence. If you must have a tense change in mid sentence then introduce it with a comma.

3. Don’t overuse one word for the subject, vary with nouns and pronouns, and synonyms.
He – can introduce a sentence
His – can introduce a sentence
Name (Carlos) can introduce a sentence

In your task the subject is movie, vary it with Film, cinematic offering.

Get basic vocabulary right.

4. Choose words you recognise when checking in a dictionary or with the translator.

5. Think about how you would feel in the same situation and try to express with the words you choose.

Here’s an example, well the first few paragraphs…

Have you ever felt nostalgic, reminisced over bygone days?

I imagine everyone has, at one time or another. But remembering the tiny details and the atmosphere of the past isn’t so easy, and it takes genius to translate this into celluloid.

Thankfully we have Radio Days, a supremely engaging film by Woody Allen, which transports you back in time to 1940’s America, and will satisfy any craving you might have for happier days gone by. Both touching and hilariously funny at the same time it….

More basic tips