English Writing Exercises for A2 – A formal letter


1 Read the task and the letter. What is the writer’s main reason for complaining? Choose a, b or c.

The writer thinks the decision will:

a cost young people more money.

b give the wrong message to vandals.

c have a negative effect on the environment.

Your local council has decided to stop a free bike hire scheme in your town centre. Write a letter of complaint about this decision.

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing to complain about the decision to stop the free bike hire scheme in our town. This scheme has been very popular, especially among young people, and I cannot understand why the council wants to stop it.

I object to the decision mainly because the bike hire scheme encourages people to cycle 1) _______ going by car or bus. 2) _______ cycling is good for the environment and good for people’s health, we want as many people as possible to do it.

I understand that here have been some problems with vandalism. However, I do not think a small number of vandals should be able to change the council’s policy. Surely it is possible to install security cameras, 3) _______ the bikes are not damaged so often.

In conclusion, I believe the bike hire scheme benefits the environment and the residents, and should continue.

Your faithfully,

Penny Wentworth

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Writing Strategy

Make sure you use a variety of different structures in your writing. You can form complex sentences by joining two clauses together with a conjunction (although, because, if, or, etc.). Use different conjunctions depending on the meaning of the clauses they introduce.

2. Read the Writing Strategy. Then complete the formal letter in exercise 1 with some of the conjunctions below.

although      if      or      rather than      since      so      unless

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3. Complete the phrases for summing up using the words below. Underline the phrase that the writer uses in the letter in exercise 1.

all      balance      conclusion      opinion      reasons

1) All in ________, I believe ___

2) On ________, I think ___

3) Overall, ___ in ________

4) In ________, ___

5) For these ________, I strongly believe that ___

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4. Read the task below. Then think about the issue and make notes.

Your local council has decided to allow buses into the town centre, which is currently pedestrian only. Write a letter of complaint about this decision.

Introduction: ________.

Main reason to object: ________.

One argument from the opposing view: ________.

Why you do not accept that argument: ________.

Conclusion: ________.

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Writing Guide

5. Use your notes to write a formal letter of complaint.

Extra exercises


When writing an article that gives opinions about an issue, it is a good idea to give some examples to illustrate your point(s).

1. Read the Strategy. Underline the phrases used to introduce examples in the sentences below.

1) It’s important to keep up to date with news events. For example, I always check out the important events online.

2) Using technology can be quite difficult for older people. grandmother, for instance, often has problems using the tablet we bought her for her birthday.

3) Children need to learn about important environmental problems like global warming and climate change when they are at primary school.

4) We can do lots of things to help prevent burglaries, such as putting in alarms and locking all our windows.

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2. Read the exam task and write your article.

An English student magazine has started a writing competition. The topic is ‘New gadgets are making us lazier and lazier’. In order to take part in the competition, you need to write an article arguing your point of view. In your article:

–  Express your opinion on the statement.

–  Support your opinion with arguments.

–  State counter arguments.

–  Summarise the main points.

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