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Writing Bank

Formal letters
1. Asking for Information
You live in an English speaking country and you want to do some voluntary, unpaid work
in a developing country. Write a letter to a company called Cultural Expeditions, which
organizes such trips. In your letter:
Explain why you want to do the voluntary work.
State what your skills and experience are.
Indicate where you would like to volunteer and for how long.
Begin your letter as follows: Dear Sir / Madam
You should write at least 150 words. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

2. Applying for a Job
You have decided to apply for a job as a Spanish instructor that was advertised in the
April edition of the magazine Teaching Professional. This ad was posted by Mr John
Sullivan, director of the Spanish department at The Language Institute of Great Britain in
London, England. In your letter to Mr Sullivan:
explain why you are writing
describe your qualifications and experience
explain how they can contact you
Write at least 150 words. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

3. Making Suggestions
You eat at your college cafeteria every lunchtime. However, you think it needs some
improvements. Write a letter to the college magazine. In your letter:
explain what you like bout the cafeteria
say what is wrong
suggest how it could be improved
Begin your letter as follows: Dear Sir / Madam
You should write at least 150 words. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

4. Applying for a Job
You are looking for a part-time job. Write a letter to an employment agency. In your
letter:
introduce yourself
explain what sort of job you would like
say what experience and skills you have
Begin your letter as follows: Dear Sir / Madam
You should write at least 150 words. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

5. Complaining to a Bank
You have received a letter from your bank, asking you to acknowledge receipt of a new
bank card. However, the card was missing from the envelope. Write a letter to the bank's
head office. In your letter:
explain why you are writing
express concern about the missing card
ask them what they intend to do
Begin your letter as follows: Dear ________,
You should write at least 150 words. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

6. Informing an Airline
Last Tuesday you flew from New York to Paris. When you arrived home, you discovered
that you had left your cabin bag on the plane. Write a letter to the airline. In your letter,
you should explain:
where and when you lost your bag
what your bag looks like
what its contents were
Begin your letter as follows: Dear Sir / Madam
You should write at least 150 words. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

7. Applying for a Job
You have seen an advertisement for part-time work in a hotel for three months over the
summer. Write a letter to the manager. In your letter:
say what experience you have
ask what the work involves
enquire about conditions
Begin your letter as follows: Dear Sir / Madam
You should write at least 150 words. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

8. Making Recommendations
You normally go shopping in the area where you live. However, you think some of the
facilities for shoppers could be improved. Write a letter to your local newspaper. In your
letter:
say in general what you like about shopping in your area
say what is wrong with the facilities
suggest how they can be improved
Begin your letter as follows: Dear Sir / Madam
You should write at least 150 words. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

9. Applying for a Job
You would like a temporary job working in the summer camp which runs sports and
outdoor activities for children and young people next summer. Write a letter to the
organizers of the summer camp. In your letter:
explain what sort of job you would like to do
describe your personality
say what experience and skills you have
Begin your letter as follows: Dear Sir / Madam
You should write at least 150 words. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

10. Complaining about a Product
You live in a small university town. Last week, you drove to a big city about two hours
away to buy a new laptop at a good price. You worked on the laptop all week and
finished writing a long assignment that is due shortly. However, this week, the laptop
doesn't even switch on. Write to the store. In your letter:
tell the store where you live & what happened
explain the problem with the laptop
state what action you would like the store to take
Begin your letter as follows: Dear ________
You should write at least 150 words. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

Semi-Formal
1. Arranging Accommodation
You are being sent on a one month work assignment in San Francisco, California. You
need a place to stay while you are there. Write a letter to the Maury Samson Real Estate
Agency. In your letter:
explain the situation
describe the kind of accommodation you would like
provide the dates you will need it
Begin your letter as follows: Dear Mr Samson,
You should write at least 150 words. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

2. Asking for Permission
You are studying overseas. You need to return to your country before the end of the
semester for a family event. Write a letter to your supervisor. In your letter:
Request time off
Explain why you need to leave early
Reassure him / her that your studies will not suffer
Begin your letter as follows: Dear Mr / Ms _______

3. Complaining to a Landlord
You have been living in a rental apartment for the past year. Recently a new neighbour
moved in who has loud parties several times a week. Write a letter complaining about
this to the landlord. In your letter:
explain the situation
describe why it bothers you
suggest a solution
Begin your letter as follows: Dear Mr / Ms _____________,
You should write at least 150 words. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

4. Making a Suggestion
You exercise regularly and have been a member of many different gyms. Recently, you
moved into a new neighborhood and joined a new gym. You have noticed that people at
this gym do not bother to wipe down the machines after use and often leave dirty towels
on the benches in the change rooms. Write to Mr Koto, the manager. In your letter:
explain who you are
describe the problem exactly
make suggestions to improve the gym
Begin your letter as follows: Dear Mr Koto,
You should write at least 150 words. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

5. Booking Accommodation
You are going to take a short holiday in Singapore and you want to rent a holiday
apartment while you are there. Write to the tourist information office. In your letter:
explain what you need
say when you plan to be there
ask for information about prices
Begin your letter as follows: Dear Mr / Ms __________
You should write at least 150 words. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

6. Explaining to a Neighbour
You are having a graduation party next Saturday night. You have invited 50 people to
celebrate at an outdoor barbecue evening, which may continue into late into the night.
Write a letter to your elderly neighbour. In your letter:
explain what will be happening
offer your apologies in advance
invite her to join the celebration
Begin your letter as follows: Dear Mr / Ms _________
You should write at least 150 words. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

7. Asking for permission
You are supposed to hand in a mid-term project for your psychology class by November
1st. However, your brother is getting married in Hawaii at the same time and the entire
family is traveling there for the occasion. You would like an extension on the due date for
submitting the project. Write to your professor. In your letter:
explain the situation
remind the professor of your fine academic record to date
ask for an extension of the due date
Begin your letter as follows: Dear ________
You should write at least 150 words. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

8. Making a Suggestion
You live in a high-rise building, which has a communal laundry room. There are many
washers and dryers there, but even more residents. Sometimes people don't come in
time to empty the machines and other residents have to wait for a washer or dryer. You
think the building management should purchase 10 extra laundry baskets and make
them available for such times, so the machines can be freed up. Write to the Property
Manager, Mrs Williams. In your letter:
explain how long you have been a resident
describe the problem
propose your solution
Begin your letter as follows: Dear Mrs Williams
You should write at least 150 words. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

9. Asking for Permission
You have received a job offer for a position you have wanted for a long time. You are
expected to start on July 1st. However, you can only start a week later due to personal
reasons. Write a letter to Mr Jackson, your new boss. In your letter:
show your enthusiasm for the job offer
explain the problem
suggest what you can do
Begin your letter as follows: Dear Mr Jackson,
You should write at least 150 words. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

Informal
1. Inviting a friend
You are studying English at a private language school attended by many international
students. You are planning a surprise birthday party for a friend who has been feeling
particularly sad and homesick. Write to another classmate and invite him / her to the
party. In your letter:
explain the reason for the party
give the date and time of the party
suggest what the classmate could bring to the party
Begin your letter as follows: Dear ________
You should write at least 150 words. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.
2. Advising a friend about a holiday
An English-speaking friend wants to spend a two-week holiday in your region and has
written asking for information and advice. Write a letter to your friend. In your letter:
offer to find somewhere to stay
give advice about what to do
give information about what clothes to bring
Begin your letter as follows: Dear _______
You should write at least 150 words. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

3. Apologizing to a friend
You borrowed an important textbook from a classmate last term. You now realize your
classmate had returned home overseas and you still have the book. Write a letter to to
him / her. In your letter:
apologize for the mistake
find out how important the book is to him / her
say what you will do
Begin your letter as follows: Dear _____________
You should write at least 150 words. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

4. Thanking a friend for a holiday
You have recently been to stay with an old friend for a few days. You hadn't seen each
other for a long time. Write a letter to the friend. In your letter:
say how you felt about the visit
refer to something enjoyable that you did while staying with him / her
invite your friend to visit you
Begin your letter as follows: Dear ________
You should write at least 150 words. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

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8. Congratulating a Friend
Your best friend just had her first baby. You are currently overseas but will be returning
to your hometown in a week. Write to your friend. In your letter:
congratulate your friend
tell her when you will be returning home
ask when you could drop in to meet her and the baby
Begin your letter as follows: Dear _________
You should write at least 150 words. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.
9. Requesting Help
Your parents will be celebrating their 40th anniversary next month. You are planning a
big celebration, but you are not sure how to make the occasion really memorable. Write
to your best friend, Joan, who is a professional event planner. In your letter:
explain why the occasion is special
ask for her assistance
set up a time to meet at your friend's convenience to discuss your plans
Begin your letter as follows: Dear Joan,
You should write at least 150 words. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.
10. Admitting a Mistake
You attended an old friend's wedding in another city, about 3 hours away, a week ago. It
was an outdoor wedding held on a rainy day and you had taken along a rather expensive,
elegant umbrella. When you returned, you were tired and went straight to bed. You had
a very busy week.This weekend, when it started to rain, you realized you had the wrong
umbrella. You must have taken someone else's umbrella, which was very similar to your
own, when leaving the wedding reception. Write to your friend who got married. In your
letter:
congratulate him / her on the beautiful wedding
explain the situation
ask how you can return this umbrella and locate your own
Begin your letter as follows: Dear Joan __________
You should write at least 150 words. You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

Essay topics
GOVERNMENT

1. The best way to reduce the number of traffic accidents is to Should wealthy
nations be required to share their wealth among poorer nations by providing such
things as food and education? Or is it the responsibility of the governments of
poorer nations to look after their citizens themselves?
2. What should a government do for a country to become successful?
3. Should money be spent on space exploration?
4. Should rich countries forgive all debts for poor countries?
5. Does foreign aid help donor countries more than the recipients?
6. Should rich countries pay more for environmental damage?
7. Most high level jobs are done by men. Should the government encourage a
certain percentage of these jobs to be reserved for women?
8. Should developing countries concentrate on improving industrial skills or should
they promote education first?
9. Safety standards are important when building people's homes. Who should be
responsible for enforcing strict building codes - the government or the people who
build the homes?
10. Discuss the advantage and disadvantage of giving international aid to poor
countries.
11. Should criminals be punished with lengthy jail terms or re-educated and
rehabilitated using community service programs for instance, before being
reintroduced to society?
12. In most countries disabled people are not catered for adequately, e.g. buildings
are often inappropriately designed. Governments rely too heavily on charities and
voluntary organizations to provide assistance and funding. What further measures
could be taken to assist disabled people?
13. In your opinion should government intervene in the rights of the individual with
regard to family planning?
14. make all young drivers complete a safe driving education course before being
licensed to drive.

MODERN SOCIETY
1. Nowadays doctors can become very rich. Maybe they should not focus on
profitable activities such as plastic surgery or looking after rich patients and
concentrate more on patients health, no matter how rich they are?
2. Does travel help to promote understanding and communication between
countries?
3. In your opinion what factors contribute to a good movie?
4. Are famous people treated unfairly by the media ? Should they be given more
privacy, or is the price of their fame an invasion into their private lives?
5. Is animal testing necessary?
6. Some businesses now say that no one can smoke cigarettes in any of their offices.
Some governments have banned smoking in all public places. Do you agree or
disagree? Give reasons.
7. To what extent is the use of animals in scientific research acceptable?
8. Human beings do not need to eat meat in order to maintain good health because
they can get all their food needs from meatless products and meatless
substances. A vegetarian diet is as healthy as a diet containing meat. Argue for or
against the opinion above.
9. Forests are the lungs of the earth. Destruction of the world's forests amounts to
death of the world we currently know. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
10. Are our zoos cruel to wild animals? Discuss.
11. Zoos are sometimes seen as necessary but not poor alternatives to a natural
environment. Discuss some of the arguments for and/or against keeping animals
in zoos.
12. To what extent will migration from the developing world to the developed world
become a social and political issue in the 21st century?
13. In Britain, when someone gets old, they often go to live in a home with other old
people where there are nurses to look after them. Sometimes the government has
to pay for this care. Who should be responsible for our old people? Give reasons.

TECHNOLOGY
1.
Does modern technology make life more convenient, or was life better when
technology was simpler?
2. Will modern technology, such as the internet ever replace the book or the written
word as the main source of information?
3. We are becoming increasingly dependent on computers. They are used in
businesses, hospitals, crime detection and even to fly planes. What things will
they be used for in future?.Is this dependence on computers a good thing or
should we be more suspicious of their benefits?Use specific details and examples
in your answer.
4. In what ways has information technology changed work and working practices in
the past 10 years?

EMPLOYMENT

1. Should retirement be compulsory at 65 years of age?
2. Telecommuting' refers to workers doing their jobs from home for part of each
week and communicating with their office using computer technology.
Telecommuting is growing in many countries and is expected to be common for
most office workers in the coming decades. How do you think society will be
affected by the growth of telecommuting?
3. In some countries the average worker is obliged to retire at the age of 50, while
in others people can work until they are 65 or 70. Until what age do you think
people should be encouraged to remain in paid employment? Give reasons for
your answer.

ENVIRONMENT & ECOLOGY

1. To what extent should economic planning be influenced by the need of
environmental conservation?
2. Damage of the environment is an inevitable consequence of worldwide
improvements in the standard of living. Discuss.
3. The rising levels of congestion and air pollution found in most of the world cities
can be attributed directly to the rapidly increasing number of private cars in use.
In order to reverse this decline in the quality of life in cities, attempts must be
made to encourage people to use their cars less and public transport more.
Discuss possible ways to encourage the use of public transport.

EDUCATION
1. Education is the single most important factor in the development of a country. Do
you agree?
2. What are factors which are related to academic success in high-school students?
3. Do the benefits of study abroad justify the difficulties? What advice would you
offer to a prospective student?
4. The idea of going overseas for university study is an exciting prospect for many
people. But while it may offer some advantages, it is probably better to stay home
because of the difficulties a student inevitably encounters living and studying in a
different culture. To what extent do you agree or disagree this statement? Give
reasons for your answer.
5. Education is recognized as vital to the future of any society in today's world.
Governments throughout the world should make education compulsory for all
children between the ages of 5 and 15. To what extent do you agree or disagree
with this statement?
6. Foreign language instruction should begin in kindergarten. Discuss.
7. Should sports classes be sacrificed in High School so students can concentrate on
academic subjects?
8. To what extent should universities function as training grounds for employment?
9. To what extent should university courses be geared to the economic needs of
society?
10. Should children be taught sex education in schools?
11. Computers can translate all kinds of languages well. Do our children need to learn
more languages in the future?
12. Are zoos necessary for education?

PARENTS & CHILDREN
1. Children should never be educated at home by their parents. Do you agree or
disagree?
2. Children learn best by observing behavior of adults and copying it. To what extent
do you agree or disagree with this statement?

GENDER ISSUES - ESSAY TOPICS
1. To what extent has the traditional male role changed in the last 20 years?
2. Many people believe that women make better parents than men and that this is
why they have the greater role in raising children in most societies. Others claim
that men are just as good as women at parenting Write an essay expressing your
point of view. Give reasons for your answer.