In Part 1 of this article, Michael Duckworth shared his first three steps towards writing the perfect transactional letter in the FCE Exam. In this second installment, he shares steps 4-6 and a useful summary.
4. USING YOUR OWN WORDS
When it comes to the exact words and phrases that you use, you should avoid copying too many words and phrases from the original letter. If you can use your own words and phrases, then you will demonstrate your ability to use a range of structures and show your breadth of vocabulary.
5. CHOOSING THE RIGHT STYLE
Another way of doing well in this part of the paper is to make sure that you use the appropriate style.
If it is an email to a friend about a party, you will want to keep the language informal; if it is a letter to a company, you will need to keep the language formal or neutral.
Sometimes it is difficult to remember the differences between formal and informal English, so here is a short checklist of how to write informal English, for example in an email to a friend. A lot of these differences are very small, but if you use all of them together, they make a big difference.
In informal English:
a) Use short forms like isn’t, won’t, it’s, I’ve instead of is not, will not, it is, I have, etc. This is because we tend to use these forms when we are speaking, and using them in written English makes it sound more informal.