Reading and Writing

Report
Writing: Unit 1
Are there any rooms free?
Writing Advice
 Use a spell checker
 Use an English-to-English dictionary (online) and a thesaurus to expand your
vocabulary
 also look at the examples and the context given in dictionaries to avoid wrong
use
e.g. Parking : The act or practice of temporarily leaving a vehicle or manoeuvring a
vehicle into a certain location.
a parking  a car park, a parking lot
fitness : The state or condition of being fit
go to the fitness  go the gym
Writing Advice
 The Elements of Style (William Strunk, Jr.)

Use “the Google Method”:
Google for phrases using quotation marks (“”). If you get 100 000 results
the sentence is probably correct, if you only get 3 results, there might be
something wrong.
e.g. “He’s interested for cars” (0 hits); “he’s interested in cars” (14,400 hits)
Also use the asterisk * if you’re looking for a particular word
e.g. “I'm writing to * you”
Five Idioms
What is an idiom?
a combination of words that has a figurative meaning
Where to find the meaning of a particular idiom?
http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/
Where to find an idiom?
Thematic dictionary of idioms
Five Idioms
You need eyes in the back of your head now that the twins are walking.
To know everything that is happening around you.
Life’s no bed of roses.
Not a state of comfort and luxury.
Oh, am I glad to see you here! You're a sight for sore eyes.
a welcome sight
First come, first served.
The first people to arrive will be able to get the best choices.
If you darken my door again, I’ll kick you out.
(for an unwelcome person) to come to someone's door seeking entry
Five Idioms
You need eyes in the back of your head now that the twins are walking.
To know everything that is happening around you.
Life’s no bed of roses.
Not a state of comfort and luxury.
Oh, am I glad to see you here! You're a sight for sore eyes.
a welcome sight
First come, first served.
The first people to arrive will be able to get the best choices.
If you darken my door again, I’ll kick you out.
(for an unwelcome person) to come to someone's door seeking entry
Portfolio task
 Find an article about cooking or dinner parties (add the article to the
portfolio)
e.g. http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/food-and-drink
http://www.nytimes.com/pages/dining/
 Look up at least five new and interesting phrases or expressions to share
with your classmates
 Present the article to your fellow students in class and exchange points of
view (informal presentation)
 Fill in a reading report for your portfolio (see also: blog)
 Deadline: 11/2
Getting ready to write
 Have you ever travelled abroad as part of a group?
 Have you ever made an enquiry (= ask for general information) about a hotel....?
 Would you consider going on a group holiday now? Why ? Why not?
Write:
a) One advantage of travelling as part of a group
b) One disadvantage
c) One difficulty for an organiser trying to book a group
Asking about accommodation
Suitable
Appropriate
Reasonable
Fair, not excessive
Twin beds
Two single beds (twin room = room with two single beds; double room = one
double bed)
A special rate
A special price
Consultant
Someone that gives advice
Discounts
Reduction
What is missing in the email?
Formal versus informal letters
Who is the reader? What is your relation to the reader?
- formal: people you don’t know
- informal: family, friends
! It also depends on your power relationship:
e.g. Boss writes to a new employee: s/he may use informal language (not
the other way around)
How do you want to (re)define your relationship with this reader?
- distance yourself? Show that you’re the boss/secretary? (power relations)
- show/create friendship
Informal Letter
Contractions
I’m, there’s, he’d...
Phrasal verbs (verb + preposition)
To look after, to hand in...
Colloquial expressions
= word or phrase that is used in (informal) conversations but not in formal
speech or formal writing
Wanna, gonna, go nuts...
Formal versus Informal Letters
Name
Formal: Dear Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms
Informal: Hi/hello
Previous contact
Formal: Thank your for your email...
Informal: (Many) Thanks for your email...
Reason for writing
Formal: I am writing in connection with/with regard to/to reply
I/we regret to inform you...
Informal: I’m writing about
I’m sorry to tell you
Formal versus Informal Letters
Attachments
Formal: Please find attached ...
I am sending you.... as a pdf file.
Informal: I’ve attached....
Here is the ...you wanted
Requests
Formal: I would be grateful if you could...?
I was wondering if you could tell me/email me...?
Informal: (Please) could you...?
Formal versus Informal Letters
Promising action
Formal: I will investigate the matter
I will contact you again shortly
Informal: I’ll look into it
I’ll get back to you soon
Formal versus Informal Letters
Final comment
Formal: Thank you for your help
Do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further information
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions
Informal: Let me know if you need anything else
Just give me a call if you have any questions
Close
Formal: I look forward to... (+ ing)
Informal: Looking forward to ...(+ ing)
Writing a formal email
How to address the person?
a) You know the addressee’s name
Dear Mr Burns (married or not married)
Dear Miss Dalloway (not married)
Dear Mrs Dalloway (married) /ˈmɪsɨz/
Dear Ms Dalloway (married or unmarried) /ˈmɪz/  best option
(in American English, use a full stop after Mr, Miss, Mrs, Ms)  Mr. / Mrs.
Writing a formal email
How to address the person?
b) You don’t know the addressee’s name
Dear Sir, (if you know the addressee is a man)
Dear Madam, (if you know the addressee is a woman)
Dear Sir or Madam, (if you don’t know the addressee)
Writing a formal email
If you don’t know the name of the recipient…
Yours faithfully,
When you do know the name of the recipient…
Yours sincerely,
 Very formal (rarely used in emails)
But also: Regards, Kind regards, Best wishes, Best...
In general:
 Anglo-Saxon culture is less formal
 emails are less formal than letters
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUIA40uLlKw
Asking about accommodation
Is the email formal, informal or neutral? Reread the email and
underline the words or phrases that make this email (in)formal/neutral.
Formal - Neutral
 No contractions
I am bringing, we will...
 Some words or phrases
At present (= now)
Reasonably priced (= cheap)
Require (= need)
Offer (= give)
 often: in formal language, words of Latin origin are used
Dear Julia Rambert,
I am interested in the job of Waitress advertised in "Metro" this morning and
I am enclosing a copy of my CV.
I worked as a waitress in my own country for five years before I came here
and my former employer can provide you with a reference.
I imagine that you cater mainly for overseas tourists so I believe my
language skills would be useful. In addition to speaking both Portuguese
and English, I can also understand Spanish.
I hope you will consider my application carefully and I look forward to
hearing from you.
Yours sincerely,
Maria Chagas
A letter of enquiry: useful phrases
Reason for writing
I am writing
in response to your article/advertisement/letter...
to receive further information about
to enquire about
to receive more detailed information about
to receive further details about
More neutral: I would like to know if...
Requesting first piece of information
The first thing I would like to know is
First of all I would like to know
I wonder if you would mind telling me first of all ….?
A letter of enquiry: useful phrases
Requesting further information
Could you also tell me….?
Could you also inform me ….?
Would you also mind informing me ….?
Would you also mind telling me ….?
Do you know ….?
I would also like to know if
I would also like to know whether
I hope you might also let me know about …
Thanking for information
I would like to thank you in advance for this information
Ending the letter
I look forward to receiving your reply
I look forward to your reply
I look to hearing from you
Sample Letter
Replying to an enquiry: useful phrases
Thanking for the interest
We thank you for your enquiry about…
We were pleased to learn that you are interested in…
Adding information
It might (also) be interesting for you to know that...
You might also be interested to know that...
We would like to draw your attention in particular to...
Referring the customer to a colleague or website
For full details we refer you to...
We suggest that you contact
Our colleague, Mr/Miss/Ms…, will contact you in the next few days to
explain the matter more fully.
For more information please visit our website
Replying to an enquiry: useful phrases
You don’t have the information
We are sorry we are unable to give you the information which you request
Ending the letter
We hope this information will be of service to you
We look forward (with interest) to hearing from you.
Naturally, we shall be happy to give you any further information.

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