Unit 12. Letters to Friends.

Read the focus question below and watch the videos to learn how to get a high band score. You can practice similar tasks and send your writing for correction and feedback.

The Purpose of Letters to Friends.

When you write a letter to friends or family, you are writing to someone you know personally, so the letter will almost always be informal in style.

Focus Question 12. Giving News & Inviting a Friend.

Dear Freddy,


How are you my dear friend? I'm fine. In fact, I've been meaning to write to you since I moved to London so that I could let you know why I moved and how things are going here. 


Actually, the reason I re-located to the capital is because my company offered me this irresistible opportunity to work as a regional sales manager. To be honest, although it is more money, I'm not really happy because I've got far more work to do now.


However, I love my new neighbourhood of Kentish Town because it’s a really vibrant cosmopolitan area, yet our street is fairly quiet as it’s down a sleepy cul-de-sac. Also, even though it’s the rent’s quite pricey, I’m just a stone’s throw away from the underground station !


Anyway Freddy, let's get together soon to catch up. Why don't you come to London and stay with me next weekend? If you like, we could go to the theatre, or we could visit the national museum.


Let me know if you're free. You’ll love Kentish Town !





Video Lessons.

Watch the video lessons to learn how to write a band 9 answer. Step 2 video is free and you can also download a free e-book. To view all videos, click here to subscribe.

Step 1.

Understanding the question

and brainstorming ideas.

Step 2.

Planning and writing

the introduction.

Step 3. 

Reviewing the introduction & planning

& writing body paragraphs.

Step 4.

Reviewing the answer & 

correcting any mistakes.

Practice Task 1.  Request a Favour (Forgotten Smartphone).

Dear Mary,


How are you my dear friend? I hope you are well.


Actually, the reason I'm writing is because I just wanted to write you a few lines to say 'thank you' for the lovely time I had when I stayed at your home these last few days. In fact, I felt so relaxed when I got back home this morning, which is probably because your place is so quiet and tranquil.


However, despite the wonderful time I had, I seem to have forgotten my smart-phone. If I am not mistaken, I think I left it in your spare room where I was sleeping. It is probably on the bed-side cabinet because I remember that I was charging it just before I left. I'm sorry to inconvenience you Mary, but could you have a look to see if it's there? 


Provided you find it, I'd be grateful if you could send it back by courier. There's a FedEx at the end of your road, so maybe you can ask them to pick it up. Please tell them I'll pay cash on delivery.


Thanks Mary. I really appreciate everything you've done for me these last few days. 


Best regards,


Practice Task 2. Advice to a Friend (Academic Assignment).

Dear Susan,


How's it going? I hope you're well. I'm writing in response your recent letter about the writing assignment you mentioned you're having problems with.


To be honest, I can totally empathise with you feeling a little concerned because I found it quite daunting when I did it last year. I think it seems really challenging when you don't know where to start.


Anyway, maybe I can offer some good advice about how I was able to succeed last year. To begin with, I didn't worry too much about the writing until I'd completed all the reading. Once I'd read up on my chosen topic and written detailed notes, I just had to organise my writing. Above all, it was essential to have an effective structure that built the composition logically. 


I would advise you to read thoroughly and brainstorm the key arguments you'll use in the assignment. Also, if you want to get a high mark, make sure you use strong academic vocabulary and a variety of grammatical structures. Finally, don't introduce new ideas in your conclusion as this shows a lack of planning.


Anyway, good luck and feel free to call me if you need any further help.


Best regards,




Practice Task 3. A New Friend.

Dear Steven,


How are you doing? I just wanted to drop you a line after we met at the careers fair event last week as we did promise to keep in touch. Actually, it was great to meet you as I think we have a lot in common.


Anyway, let me tell you about my college subjects and favourite past-times. Although I'm studying all science subjects and maths, in my spare time I like to read Anime comics, but I don't like playing tedious video games. Mind you, I don't have a lot of free-time because I'm trying to improve my grades.


In fact, my academic progress is coming on really well. I've got to achieve three A grades, which my tutors have told me I'm on target for, so I'm quite confident that I'll be able to get into one of the leading university science departments if I persevere.


On reflection, I think the medical section of the careers fair was amazing because it motivated me to study dentistry at university. So, what you think is the most stimulating career for science students?  


Okay Steven, it was nice to meet. Hope to hear from you soon. 


All the best,


Practice Task 4. Offer to Sell a Smartphone.

Dear Tim,


How are you doing my friend? I hope you are well. The reason I am writing is because I'm getting a newer smartphone, and I thought you might be interested in my existing handset.


Actually Tim, I'll be buying the new one, which is a Samsung S8 Plus, before the end of the month. In fact, I've ordered it from Mobiles R Us, who said they'd have it in stock within two weeks, which will be just after I get paid, so the timing is excellent. 


So Tim, I'm offering you first refusal on my Samsung S7, which is nearly the same specifications as the new S8 Plus. Please let me know if you're still interested because if you're not, I know quite a few other people who would want to buy it. I only want two hundred pounds for it since it is an older model now.


Anyway, assuming you  want it, let me remind you of some of the specifications the phone has got. It's got a slightly smaller screen than the S8 Plus model that I'll be buying, but apart from that, all the 'specs' are very similar. It has the same front and rear camera pixels, dual sim card options, standard google apps, and 60 hours of battery life. 


Okay Tim, I hope to hear from you soon; if not, I'll sell it to someone else.


Best regards,


Practice Test 5.  Letter of Complaint.

 Vocabulary · a recalled product: a defective product that is taken off the market ·malfunctions: failures in operation · faulty: defective · apology: an admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret e.g. public apology · annoyance: Being bothered by something or someone e.g. She expressed annoyance at the slow service ·dissatisfaction: a feeling of unhappiness or disapproval, e.g. She expressed her dissatisfaction with the service Letters of Complaint Useful Phrases and Vocabulary · satisfaction: a happy or pleased feeling because of something that you did or something that happened to you ·attitude: the way you think and feel about someone or something · quality: how good or bad something is · to portray: to describe (someone or something) in a particular way ·incompetence: lack of the ability to do something well · to attend to: to give needed help or attention to (someone or something) · severe: very bad, serious, or unpleasant · to compensate: to give money or something else of value to (someone) in return for something ·to demand: to require (something) · hazardous: dangerous · a lawn mower: a machine used for cutting the grass on lawns · assembly: the act of connecting together the parts of something (such as a machine) · to chuckle: to laugh in a quiet way · a welded edge: to join pieces of metal together by heating the edges until they begin to melt and then pressing them together · a coupler: something combined with something else · to misuse: to use (something) incorrectly · hassle: to bother or annoy (someone) constantly or repeatedly

Common Expressions.

Opening a letter of complaint.

Introducing your complaint.

- I am writing this letter to protest about the plan to ...

- I am writing this letter to express my disappointment in relation to the proposal to ...

- I am sorry to have to inform you of the following unfortunate situation:  Last week when I visited your ...

- I am writing to express my unhappiness about your decision / plans to ...

- I am writing to make clear / to lodge my displeasure (show my irritation / frustration)  at your plans to ...

- I am sorry to have to complain in relation to the following unfortunate situation, which occurred at your ...

- I am writing in connection with an unfortunate experience I had when I visited your store / business etc...

- I am writing this letter to bring to your attention my disapproval of  your decision / proposal to ...

- I am writing this letter to complain about an incident that happened on (date) at (time) at (place)

- I am writing this letter to express my dissatisfaction with the poor service I experienced when I ...

- I am writing in connection with ...


Developing your complaint.

- The reasons for my complaint / objections are three-fold: First of all, ... Also, ... In addition, ...

- Unfortunately, I found the standard of professionalism and workmanship to fall well below what I had come to consider to be an acceptable level in regard to ...

- I am very disappointed with the poor standard(s) of service / workmanship / professionalism I encountered when I visited your ...

- Something that I feel particularly aggrieved about is that ...

- Another source of real dissatisfaction is that ...

- This was not what I had expected.  In fact, it is quite the opposite; 

- Although, according to your staff, I should have got / the product should have / the service should have included, in fact it fell short of this expectation...

- Notwithstanding the fact that I was assured by your sales assistant / employee that ...

- On using your service / product, I was quite surprised to discover that, despite being assured by your company employees that it would work perfectly, when I got it home, in fact the product failed to ...




Asking the recipient to take action:

- I sincerely hope that you will take my complaint seriously

- I trust you will take appropriate action to remedy this situation in the immediate future so that we can put this unfortunate incident / event(s) behind us.

- I am fully confident that we can overcome this unfortunate situation and come to a mutually agreeable resolution.  I trust it would not be inconvenient for you to now act to redress this problem by ...

- I would be sincerely grateful if you could ...

- I hope you will give your immediate attention to this matter...

- I fully anticipate that you will take remedial steps to resolve this matter to our mutual satisfaction.  I therefore expect you to ...

- In view of these circumstances, I trust you will see that it would be unfair if I were not given some kind of compensation for my loss / inconvenience ... Therefore, it only seems fair that you provide me with ...

- As a valued customer, I fully expect that you will provide me with ...


- In order to satisfactorily address my grievance, I feel that what would be fair (what would suit me best) would be if you were to ...