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FCE - Informal Letters Practice.
First Certificate examination: writing (paper 2). How to write the informal letter.
Remember that the letter or email should be informal. That means you should use informal expressions, which are usually made up of Anglo Saxon words and not Latin-based words, for example:
I should like to express my gratitude for your affectionate letter. (formal)
In informal letters, use contractions consistently, eg. don’t say: I’ll go... and in the next sentence: I would like... .
Keep your sentences short. Consider this sentence written by an FCE student:
"It has been nice to hear from you because thanks to your email, I have found out a lot of things about you; I will try to answer all your questions so you can get to know me a little better."
The sentence above is too long. English prefers shorter sentences than in Spanish, for example. Not only that, in longer sentences you are more likely to make mistakes of grammar and punctuation. Remember, one sentence for each idea. The above sentence would be better expressed in three separate sentences:
"It has been nice to hear from you. Thanks to your email, I have found out a lot of things about you. I will try to answer all your questions so you can get to know me a little better."
Another thing to remember about writing for the First Certificate exam in general is that your own writing may be difficult to understand for a British examiner. People from different countries tend to have different ways of writing the letters, even though the alphabet is more or less the same. Of course, Spanish students shouldn't use Spanish-style letters and numbers, eg.
You can now do the following six exercises on informal letters for First Certificate. They are typical errors made by students. Read the errors and correct them.
Enjoy and good luck with the exam!
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