Look at this task:
Some English friends, Peter and Sue Hall, have written to you for advice. Their 20-year-old son, Tom, wants to get a job teaching English in your country. This is part of a letter you have received from them:
Tom’s doing a teacher-training course at the moment, as you know, but he thinks he ought to learn something of the language before he comes, which seems like a good idea. He’s bought a “Teach Yourself” book on the language, but we were wondering if you had any other suggestions which would help him. It’s quite a while since he studied a language at school, so he’d also be really grateful for some general tips on learning a language.
Write a letter to Tom giving advice and any helpful suggestions that you can. Write about 250 words.
Read the question carefully and highlight the key points. Ask yourself:
- What’s the purpose of your letter?
- What two things do you need to give advice on?
Think about the content of your letter. Think about these points:
- What would be the advantages of Tom being able to speak a bit of your language when he arrives?
- Think about the language: is there anything an English speaker would find particularly difficult or unusual (pronunciation, grammar, writing system etc)?
- Make a list of all the things Tom could do to learn your language, from having private lessons or buying a cassette course to listening to radio broadcasts. Think about the pros and cons in terms of cost, time and effectiveness. Decide which method seems most realistic. Is there anything you could do to help, eg send magazines or simple books?
- Write down any general tips on learning a language that you think would be helpful. Use your own experience as far as possible.
Make a plan for your letter. Decide on the main sections you want to have and think about the best way to organise them. Jot down the main points for each section. Think about a suitable introduction and conclusion.
Here are some points to remember when you are writing an informal letter:
Dear Ken, always use a name
Many thanks for your letter and the photos. Begin the first sentence with a capital
In an informal letter to a friend it may be appropriate to begin by mentioning a letter which you have recently received, or by making general friendly comments.
Many thanks for your letter …
It was lovely to hear from you.
I was glad to hear that you had a good holiday.
I hope you and the family are well.
You asked me for advice on ….
Have you thought about ….
It might be a good idea to ….
One thing I would suggest is ….
It is usual to end letters which expect a reply with a sentence on a separate line. For example:
Looking forward to hearing from you / seeing you.
Hope to hear from you soon / see you soon.
Write and tell me how you are getting on.
Write soon /See you soon.
Best wishes and Yours followed by your name on the next line are useful general endings. For close friends you can end with Love
Hope to hear from you soon