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Language B: Paper 2 Writing Guide

1. Formal Opinion Letters

1.1 Example Task: You have read an article in a youth magazine about the
influence, both positive and negative, of film and TV on teenagers and
young adults. Write a letter to the editor of the magazine, explaining
your views on this subject.
1.2 Always structure your letter like this:
Left hand side
4682 Farrow Parkway
Chicago, IL 60621
E15-145 San Jos
Quito, Ecuador

Month, Day, Year
June 19th, 2012

Starting the letter:

If you know the name: Dear Mr/Ms plus name, (always put a

If you do not know the name or you are writing to a company: Dear
Sir or Madam, (always put a comma) NEVER write to 'Dear
Company' or 'Dear Director'

Introduction: always state the purpose of the letter, like this:

I am writing to...(apply for a job/complain about etc)
My purpose in writing to you is to...
Body of Letter: the number of paragraphs will depend on the topic. Try
to organize your letter based on the topics you need to write about (eg:
first paragraph on why you are suitable for the job; second paragraph on
what further information you need (in a job application) etc).
Use connectives to make the letter more cohesive:

Firstly, Secondly etc, Finally, In addition, Also, However, On the one

hand/on the other hand etc
End of letter:

If you are giving your opinion: Thank you for taking my views into
If you need a response: I look forward to hearing from you.
If you DO NOT know the name of the person you are writing to:
Yours faithfully,
If you DO know the name of the person you are writing to: Yours

2. Language to Give Opinions

If you are asked to write a text (eg. letter) which involves giving your
opinions, you can use the structures below to do this.
Try to use as many different structures as you to give your writing
2.1 Language: Opinions

In my view
In my opinion
It seems to me that...
As far as I am concerned
As I see it
I think/feel/believe that...
2.2 Language: Generalization Phrases
These phrases make your opinions more powerful. Think about the
difference in meaning between:

I think hunting is wrong

A vast majority of people think that hunting is wrong

Try to use a variety of generalization phrases to make your opinions


Almost all
the vast majority of
a large number of
a few
not many
2.3 Practice
Write opinion statements for the following:1. generalization + parents + opinion + good idea if + schools motivated
- Most parents feel that it would be a good idea if schools motivated
2. generalization + teenagers + opinion + high time + parents listen to
their point of view
3. generalization + people + opinion + high time + government reduced the
price of beef
4. generalization + students + opinion + should + responsible members of

2.4 Making Your Opinion Stronger 1

You can use emotive verbs to make your opinions stronger.

infuriate (make
very angry)

you shock

upset (make you feel

Opinions are connected to the way you feel about something. So, use
verbs of feeling to express your reaction.

I feel that people should not be cruel to animals.

People who are cruel to animals infuriate me.

Make opinion sentences from the following:1. Photographs of children with incurable diseases.
2. People who have no respect for the environment.
3. Countries that start wars.

2.5 Making Your Opinion Stronger 2

You can express your opinion by using the phrase the way, as follows:1. verb + the way + noun phrase

I like the way classical music relaxes you. (positive)

I don't like the way teenagers are treated by adults. (negative)

2. one thing/what I like about + noun + is the way + sentence

What I like about mobile phones is the way they make

communication easier (+)
One thing I don't like about parents is the way they always talk
about studying.(-)

3. what/one thing that + verb + about + noun + is the way + sentence

What irritates me about TV is the way programmes are repeated

One thing that annoys me is the way some people are lazy.

3. Letters of Complaint
You can structure these in the same way as letters of opinion. But, you
need to use different vocabulary, as follows:
3.1 Complaining Language

I am outraged at the...
What infuriated me about...was..
I could not believe the...
There is no question that you must...
In this day and age..
This is not about....It is about...
How can you say that...?
How can you claim that...?

3.2 Suggesting Language

Usually, letters which ask you to complain will also ask you to make
suggestions about possible solutions to a problem. You can use the
structures below:

Why don't you...?

Have you thought about...?
It is high time you...
You must think about (doing..)...
Now is the time for action.

4. Tourist Leaflets
Tourist leaflets are usually fairly informal IF the audience is teenagers
or young people. The purpose of a tourist leaflet is to persuade people to
visit a particular location.
4.1 Example Task: A Travel magazine for young people is offering a
prize of $1000 for the best promotional leaflet written about the town
where the entrant lives. You are very proud of your town and you believe
it has several attractions which would be popular with young people from
other parts of your country, so you decide to enter the competition.
Write your leaflet (400 WORDS).
4.2 Structure
You need to include:

rhetorical questions
a personal tone ('We' and 'you' NOT 'I')
emotive/idiomatic language
sub-headings (ie. a title for each of your topic questions: this can
be a rhetorical question)
Imperatives (these make the writing more urgent/persuasive: Visit
Buenos Aires now! Jump on a plane! etc)
(Racism: How could we stop it?)

Organize the leaflet as follows:


The aim of the introduction is to hook the reader (to grab his or
her attention).

Summarize the attractions of the city (do not go into much detail).

Use lots of powerful adjectives to grab the reader's attention.


Main Parts: 3 paragraphs setting out reasons to visit the city. Use subheadings (eg. What will the porteno eat? Where will the porteno spend
the night? If the porteno feels like dancing.. )
Suggested topics to cover are:1. Shopping
2. Restaurants
3. Nightlife

Leave your reader hungry to visit the city. For example:

So what are you waiting for? Jump on a plane, escape from your
everyday life etc (use the imperative to make your writing more

5. Vocabulary for Tourist Leaflets

The following vocabulary is based on the example question above. It is a
mixture of emotive and idiomatic language.
5.1 Vocabulary for Introductions:
Describing cities: magical; captivating; mysterious; hip; trendy; buzzing
with energy; this place is really taking off; mesmerizing; the centre of
the universe; a tourist magnet (because it attracts tourists)
Hooking your audience: this city is to die for; a once in a lifetime
opportunity (to do something); get down in the city of dance (get down
means to have fun, dance, hang out); forget your cares and worries; chill
out for a bit in...(meaning to relax); have the time of your life; new ideas
are blossoming (new ideas are being produced fast (like flowers that
blossom in Spring)); this place is really taking off (a place which was
uninteresting or not attractive to tourists but which is now becoming the
place to be); cash in your chips and come to... (change your money (to
pesos) so you can spend it in...).
Verbs to hook your audience: should, must, you simply have to..

5.2 Talking about Shopping

Describing shops: boutiques; outlets; stores; well-stocked; trendy; the
best shopping
Describing shopping: spend a lazy afternoon window shopping (means you
look in the windows but don't really buy); shop 'til you drop! (means you
shop until you fall over with tiredness); expand your wardrobe (means
increase the number of clothes you have)
5.3 Talking about Restaurants
Describing restaurants (or eateries):
Adjectives to describe the atmosphere (or ambiance) of restaurants:
cosy; intimate; romantic; hip; trendy
Adjectives to describe food: tasty; succulent; inexpensive; spicy;
traditional; mouth-watering; tender, juicy (with steaks)
Verbs to describe eating: wolf down (something) (means to eat very
hungrily); gorge on (something) (means to spend a long enjoyable time
eating a lot)
5.4 Talking about Nightlife
Describing clubs: pubs; nightspots; hang-outs (somewhere where young
people hang out)
Describing the atmosphere of clubs: trendy; hip; buzzing (meaning lots of
people go there/popular); full on (very exciting)
Describing music: the DJ's whip up a storm (the DJs play excellent
music); the crowd dance their socks off (they dance enthusiastically); top
DJs on the wheels of steel (wheels of steel is a way of describing
Technics record decks)
Describing people in clubs: a beautiful crowd; swanky (very stylish); swish
(rich and successful); clubbers; dance disciples (people who worship dance

6. Speeches
A good persuasive speech will contain:

rhetorical questions
emotive language (appealing to the audience's heart)
clear introduction and conclusion
clear arguments and supporting ideas

6.1 Example question: A European company is building a pulp mill in

Uruguay. You are worried about the environmental and other negative
effects of the mill. You are a member of a group opposed to the mill.
Write the text of a speech you will give to the Uruguayan government,
persuading them to withdraw support for the mill.
6.2 Content/Organization
Use connectors (First, second etc at the start of paragraphs; however,
but, although etc in paragraphs) to show organisation.
Structure your speech like this:

Introduction (see below for vocabulary)

Main Parts: 2 or 3 paragraphs setting out reasons for opposing mill.
Cover:1. Environmental impact: pollution; effect on rivers; deforestation;
increase in global warming; effect on plants, fish and animals
2. Economic impact: creates McJobs not real jobs; drives tourists away
(so decreases jobs)
3. Effect on relationship between Argentina and Uruguay : friendly
neighbors become enemies
Conclusion: Summarize your argument and conclude with a strong appeal
to the heart (this means you appeal to the audience's emotions)

6.3 General Speech Vocabulary

Introduction: Welcome; my friends; it is a pleasure to speak to you; I

want to touch on issues that concern us all; thank you for listening; I'm
going to appeal to your hearts and your minds.
Slogans: For our children/families!; For the sake of our
children/families!; Kill the mill!; We will never give up!; Freedom from
pollution!; Freedom for out families!
Descriptive/persuasive language: devastation; destructive; poison
(something or someone); murder (something or someone); the evidence
grows daily that...; there is no answer to any of these problems except...;
it is our duty to care (for something); to match words with action (not
just to talk about doing something but actually to do it); during my
children's lifetime...; to face a challenge; we must show leadership to...;
to be a leading player in something; victims of change; the opportunity to
change direction is the silver; lining in (describe situation)
6.4 Environmental Vocabulary (for speeches on the environment)

Environment: acid rain; destruction of habitats; drought; greenhouse

effect; ozone layer; to be on the verge of destruction; to cause
(something); a huge increase in (something)
Economic impact: to exploit (someone); exploitation; to reduce GNP;
poverty; McJob; unemployment; poor working conditions; wage-slaves
International relations: cause a cooling of relations between countries;
friction (between countries or neighbors); bilateral dispute.
Ways holiday resorts can harm the environment: litter louts (ie. people
who drop litter); unspoilt locations ruin the natural environment; clogs up
the sea (ie. there is a lot of rubbish in the sea); dust from construction
clouds the air; trees cut down; natural habitats destroyed; sheer weight
of the number of people...(ie. there are too many people in a place); more
strain on the local infrastructure; light spillage/light pollution; obscures
the night sky; eroded pathways; tourist boom


7. Talking about the media (TV, film and newspapers/magazines)

You can use this vocabulary to discuss issues around the media. It focuses
in particular on the impact the media has on people.
7.1 Types of TV Programme

Reality show
Soap opera

7.2 Educating teenagers

open new horizons for (someone) by (doing something)
widen (someone's) horizons
help us with the challenges of everyday life
learn about (something)

7.3 Entertaining teenagers

they help us unwind from the daily stresses of life

let off steam
forget our cares and worries
de-stress (someone)
laughter is the best medicine
hilarious (very funny)

7.4 Copy negative behaviours/encourage violence

a role model
emulate (someone)
easily influenced
a link between (something) and (something else)

7.5 Teenagers less active/Stop families communicating


Become a couch potato (ie. sit on the couch and do nothing but
watch TV all day: like Homer Simpson)
Waste your lives
spend time watching TV
to vegetate

7.6 Copy Positive behaviours

to inspire (someone) to do (something)

teach us about (something)
a breakdown in communication

8. Reports
Reports are always formal documents so emotive language should not be
included. The purpose of a report is usually to: assess (a situation or
person); inform; analyse (and may include a need to give suggestions).
NEVER use 'I' in a report. 'We' and 'you' are acceptable but make sure
the report does not become too personal.
8.1 Reports should be structured as follows:

State the purpose and content of the report:

The purpose/aim/intention of this report is to examine/assess the

suitability of...etc
As requested, this is a report concerning/regarding the matter

Main Body
Present each aspect of the subject under suitable sub-headings. For
example, if the report assesses the suitability of a person for a job, you
might discuss their experience and qualifications. In those cases, put a
title for the paragraphs where you do this, like this:



(discuss their experience)

(discuss their qualifications)
ALWAYS underline sub-headings.
Your final paragraph should state your conclusions. You should also
summarise what you have discussed in the report. You can use the
following language:

Summarising: To conclude/To sum up/In conclusion/On the whole,

it would seem that.../The only conclusion to be drawn from these
facts is...

felt/believed/obvious/apparent that...; It would (not) be
advisable/advantageous/practical to...; Our recommendation is
that...; We recommend that the best course of action should be...;
It is recommended....