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Compact Oxford English Dictionary for Students

Other Sample Letters and Emails

You'll probably need to write a number of letters and emails while you're at college or university - everything from contacting a potential employer about a job, sorting out a problem with a landlord, or dealing with a bank.

Here are a few general tips on letter-writing, together with some sample correspondence. You'll also find useful guidelines for writing emails in the centre section of the dictionary.

Essential tips for letters and emails

  • gather all your facts and relevant details (records of phone calls or previous correspondence, reference numbers, etc.) before you start
  • it's helpful to your reader if you start with a heading, then a brief summary of why you're writing
  • include any other relevant information in a clear, logical, and concise way
  • set out complicated information in numbered points or bullet points
  • be precise and factual: give dates, reference numbers, etc,
  • keep to standard English: don't use slang or email abbreviations
  • if you're complaining about something, be firm, but don't use abusive language
  • check your letter or email for spelling, grammar, and punctuation
  • Sample letters and emails:

    To a bank manager about an overdraft:

      8 Tower Road
    RE2 4TY

    19 January 2007

    Ms P Harris
    Assistant Manager
    Anybank Ltd
    Redstone branch
    RE1 2PW

    Dear Ms Harris

    Current Account number: 3456 789 0033

    My authorized overdraft limit on the above account is £300. On 17 January I inadvertently went over this limit by £15 when I charged £47.32 to my debit card: although I expected a pay cheque of £467 (paid into my account on 10 January) to have cleared, it had failed to do so, leaving me with a shortfall of £315. I later found out that my employer had forgotten to date the cheque: he has now paid my wages in cash and this was deposited in my account on 18 January.

    This situation resulted in your bank charging me a total of £80 for exceeding my overdraft limit. I am sure you will appreciate that, as a student, I will find it extremely difficult to afford these charges: since my account went into the red through no fault of my own, I am writing to ask if they can be refunded. As you will see from your records, I have never exceeded my overdraft limit before and have always managed my finances responsibly.

    I hope that you will treat my case with understanding and refund these charges.

    Yours sincerely

    Emma Jones

    To a landlord about a problem:

      Flat 122a
    Fordham Way
    KG8 6LP

    6 November 2007

    Mr G J Warren
    18 Hurst Rise
    Lower Minford
    MN5 3TR

    Dear Mr Warren

    Essential repairs: Flat 122a Fordham Way, Kington

    Further to my telephone calls on 1 and 4 November about the leaking radiator in the main bedroom, I am writing to express my concern that repair work has not yet been carried out.

    As I stressed when we spoke, this leak is causing a very damp patch near to an electrical socket and as a result I have been unable to use the socket for my PC for a week. Apart from the dangerous aspects of this situation, it is also causing me much inconvenience and disrupting my studies, as I have to use the power point in the shared living room instead.

    I would be grateful if you could arrange for the radiator to be fixed within the next two days. Please contact me as soon as possible to let me know when the heating engineer will arrive, so that I can be at the flat to show him the extent of the problem.

    Yours sincerely

    Daniel Simmons

    To an employer about possible work experience:

    To: recruitment@hotel.co.uk
    Subject: Work experience: summer 2007
    Attachment: SunitashahCV.doc

    I am a first-year student currently studying for a BSc (Hons) in Hotel and Restaurant Management at City University and I am very interested in the possibility of a period of work experience at one of your hotels in the summer of 2007.

    I would be available for any 6-week period between 1 July and 20 September and would be happy to work in any region of the UK. As you will see from my attached CV, I have already worked part-time in several housekeeping, office, and food service posts and would welcome the opportunity to broaden my experience in these and other areas of the industry.

    I feel sure that working for your organization, as a national chain with a high reputation, would enable me to build up my knowledge of a range of aspects of the hotel industry and stand me in good stead for my chosen career.

    I can be contacted by email or on 01653 27890 (home) or 07789 667540 (mobile). I look forward to hearing from you.

    Sunita Shah

    Making first contact with a tutor:

    To: mary.summers@acl.ac.uk
    Subject: Tutorial on 8 October 2006

    Dear Ms Summers

    I am a second-year student and will be taking your module 'Politics and Government of the USA' this autumn. I see from my timetable that I am scheduled to have a first tutorial with you at 2pm on 8 October.

    Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend this as it clashes with an important introductory seminar on a different module: perhaps you could suggest another day and time? I'm free on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings and all day Thursday.

    With many thanks,

    Jonathan Wallace

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