for the B1 Cambridge test (PET) or the General Training IELTS test
Informal emails are the ones that people write to their friends, family members or people they know well. The language used in this type of emails is more casual and similar to the way that we speak.
friends family members people we know well
people we don’t know bosses or managers doctors, teachers and professors
Informal emails have a standard format, so they must include the following parts:
1. Greetings: We say hi! to the other person.
2. Opening paragraph: we react to the news that the other person has shared or we apologize and explain why we didn’t reply earlier.
3. Main paragraph 1: Here you answer the main question or request
4. Main paragraph 2: If there is more information or a different idea to deal with, you can write it in this paragraph (you can add more paragraphs if needed)
5. Closing paragraph: In this paragraph you start the farewell by sending good wishes to the other person and asking them to reply soon
6. Goodbye: We say goodbye! to the other person
7. Signature: write down your name/ nickname
Now that you know which parts should be included in an informal email reply, let’s see an example:
This is a part of an email you received from your Canadian friend Sandy.
When are you arriving in Toronto? If you send me your flight number and arrival time, I can meet you in the arrivals area.
Is there anything special you would like to do or see in Canada?
Now write an email to her.
Below you can find a list of formulaic expressions and connectors that you can include to replace the phrasesin red in the example.
formulaic expressions for informal emails
I hope things in (city) are going well.
How is it going?
Thanks for your email.
Thanks a lot for writing.
It was great to hear from you.
It was good to receive your email.
Sorry for not writing earlier.
Sorry that I haven’t been in touch for a while.
I hope you are well.
Responding to news
Sorry to hear about … (sad news)
I’m really sorry to hear you news. (sad news)
Glad to hear that … (happy news)
It’s great to hear that … (happy news)
Good luck with … (a new project/ a trip/ a new class/ a new job…)
Hope you get better soon.
Stating the purpose of your email
I’m writing to let you know…
I’m writing to tell you about…
I’m writing to invite you to ….
I was wondering if you would like to …
I’d be really nice if you could …
Regarding your question …
Anyway. Gotta go.
Well, that’s all for now.
Well, it’s time to go.
Anyway/Well. It’s time to say goodbye.
Hope to hear from you soon.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
I really hope to hear from you soon.
Make sure you write back soon.
Give my regards/ love to … (person).
Drop me a line.
Have a good day/ weekend,
Lots of love,
See you soon,
Useful language: connectors
to add ideas
As well as that…
As for + noun
to contrast ideas
However, … + SVO
Although …+ SVO
In spite of … + gerund/ noun
Instead of … + gerund/ noun
Pro tips for writing informal emails
Use the standard format that English speakers use to write informal emails.
Use formulaic expressions.
Use contractions (I’m, I’ve, I’d, don’t, can’t, won’t, etc.).
Use informal words and expressions.
Don’t forget to ANSWER the questions that your friend has asked you.
Time to practice
The best way to improve your writing is to practice. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Remember that practice makes progress.
Now it’s your turn to write an informal email.
You have just received an email from a friend you have not spoken to in a long while. Write a two or three-paragraph response to your friend explaining to your friend that you have started an English course. Share your experience learning English and your future goals with your friend.
Type your answer in the reply section and I will give you personalized feedback.
An essay is a written piece where you can present an idea, propose an argument, express your emotions or initiate a debate.
In an advantages and disadvantages essay your task is to describe the positive and the negative sides of a specific topic. You must include examples and reasons to support your ideas. Sometimes you will also be asked to give your opinion. You can include your personal opinion in the introduction and conclusion of the essay.
The typical structure for an advantages and disadvantages essay is the following:
Paragraph 1: Introduction
Start your introduction with a sentence that paraphrases the question you were given
Add a sentence where you include the main ideas that you will talk about
Give your opinion (if required)
Paragraph 2: Advantages
Write a sentence where you summarize the main idea of the paragraph. In this paragraph you must mention the advantages.
Next write a sentence where you explain the advantages.
Finally you explain the consequence or result of advantages by giving an example.
Paragraph 3: Disadvantages
(This paragraph is similar to paragraph 2, but here you will talk about the disadvantages)
Write a sentence where you summarize the main idea of the paragraph. In this paragraph you must mention the disadvantages.
Explain the disadvantages.
Give examples of the disadvantages.
Paragraph 4: Conclusion
Summarize your ideas
Paraphrase your opinion (if required)
Advantages and disadvantages of travelingby plane
Nowadays,a lot of people prefer to travel by plane when they go to another country. However, air travel has both pros and drawbacks. Let’s examine some of these here.
One of the main advantages of traveling by plane is that it is much faster than any other form of transport. For example, you can fly from Toronto to New York in 2 hours, whereas by car, it would take more than 7 hours. Another advantage is that flying is more comfortable and less tiring because you can sleep on a long flight. You can also watch movies or read. Finally, it is safer. More people die in car accidents than in the air.
On the other hand, traveling by plane also has some disadvantages. To start with, it can be quite expensive, especially if you want to travel in the comfort of First Class or Business Class. What is more, flights are often delayed, and this means you may have to spend a long time waiting in the airport or miss connecting flights. In addition, you may arrive in New York while your suitcase has gone to Paris.
To sum up, the airplane is a great invention, but it does have some drawbacks. If it was cheaper, it would be better. Still, in my opinion, the pros outweigh the cons. If we didn’t have planes, it would be very difficult to travel to distant places.
Below there is a template that can help you write your advantages and disadvantages essays.
An opinion essay is a formal piece of writing in which you share your thoughts on a specific topic. You should express your opinion clearly and give reasons and examples to support your point of view.
Remember that when we write in formal style, we must not use contractions or informal words or expressions.
Parts of an opinion essay
An opinion essay must have 3 parts:
In this paragraph you have to introduce the topic. You introduce the topic by restating the question or the title of the essay in your own words. Here you have to say if you agree or not with the question or the title of the essay. You can agree, disagree or partially agree.
In this section you have to support your opinion with reasons and examples. You must include at least three reasons. Break it into several paragraphs. Write one paragraph for each supporting reason. Don’t forget to include examples or facts.
Summarize your ideas and restate your opinion using different words.
Transition words and phrases
In your essay you have to organize all your ideas in a logical and coherent way. You can use different transition words or phrases to connect your ideas. Transition words and phrases help the reader understand your point of view easily.
In the table below there is a list of common transition words that you can use in your opinion essays.
Essay question: A1/B2 English learners should learn how to write an opinion essay. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
Here you can download a simple template that you can use to organize your ideas. You can replace the red words with other transition or linking words from the chart. You can also add more transition words to connect your ideas more clearly.