All of the following examples are written by native speakers and would score Band 10-12 on the CELPIP Writing scale. (Questions are based on Task 1 and Task 2 assignments that appear in the official guide but have been slightly rephrased or modified.)
Task 1: Formal or Informal Letter
Email to a Friend (Informal)
- Uses Hi or Dear + First Name in a greeting
- Uses contractions, e.g., it’s rather than it is
- Uses many phrasal verbs, e.g., come with rather than accompany
- Uses but and so rather than however and therefore
- Can include exclamation points (although not too many)
- Sample sign-offs include (Lots of) Love, See you soon, Cheers, and Take Care
Assignment: Write a letter to a friend who is coming to visit your city. You should:
- Say where the person should stay
- Recommend a place to eat
- Suggest some activities
I’m so happy to hear that you’re finally going to make it to Vancouver! Unfortunately, I’ll be out of town the weekend you’re here, but I do have a few suggestions for where to stay and what to do.
If you want to be downtown, I’d recommend booking* a room at the Hotel Georgia. It’s right in the city centre, a couple of minutes from the SkyTrain, and it was recently ranked one of the top hotels in North America. It’s a little pricey, but it’s a great choice if you’re in the mood to splurge.
Of course, you have to spend a day on Granville Island. When you’re done browsing in the shops and galleries, you should head over to the main market for lunch. The choices are endless, but I’d suggest getting* some meats and cheeses from Dussa’s and making yourself a picnic. You also can’t miss the donuts at Lee’s. Just be prepared for a very long lineup!
Finally, you should absolutely make time to walk or bike around the Seawall. English Bay is stunning, particularly early in the morning and around sunset. The full loop is almost 30 kilometers, but if you get tired, you can always stop and sit on the beach for a while.
Hope you have a wonderful time, and if you’d like any additional recommendations, don’t hesitate to ask.
*Note that recommend and suggest are followed by an -ING form (gerund), not a “to” form (infinitive). You can also say I’d recommend/suggest that you book a room. However, you cannot say I’d recommend/suggest you to book a room.
Apartment Pet Policy Email (Formal)
- Uses Dear + Last Name or To Whom It May Concern
- Does not use contractions, e.g., it is rather than it’s
- Uses primarily single-word verbs, e.g., accompany rather than come with
- Uses however and therefore rather than but and so
- Does not include exclamation points
- Sample sign-offs include (Yours) Sincerely, Kind/Best Regards, and Yours Faithfully (virtually never used in real life)
Assignment: The apartment building you live in does not allow animals; however, you believe that one of your neighbours has acquired a pet. Write a letter to building management describing the situation and explaining how you would like the problem to be addressed.
Dear Mr. Jones,
This is Janet Lynch from Apartment 7B, and I am writing to inform you that I believe the no-dogs policy in the building is being violated. Several times over the past week I have heard a dog barking in 7A, the unit next to mine. The noise sometimes occurs during the day; however, it is especially loud in the evening. The dog has woken me at night twice, and each time it was impossible for me to fall back asleep.
More importantly, I chose this building in large part because of its no-dogs policy. I am severely allergic to most breeds, and I am concerned that I will have a reaction if I share the elevator or the hallway with an animal. I am aware that several other residents of my floor have allergies as well.
Could you please remind all tenants in writing that dogs are not allowed in the building? For my own health and safety, as well as my neighbours’, I would appreciate your prompt action in this matter.
Business Trip Email (Semi-Formal)
- Uses Dear + Last or Group Name
- Uses a mix of contracted and non-contracted forms, e.g., both it’s and it is
- Uses some phrasal verbs
- Uses but, so, however and therefore
- Does not include exclamation points
- Sample sign-offs include Cheers, Best/Kinds Regards, and Sincerely
Assignment: You and other members of your team at work are scheduled to make a business trip to another city. You should say:
- How you will travel
- What you will do there
- Where you will stay
Dear Team Members,
I am writing to give you the details for our upcoming trip to Toronto. We’ll be leaving on Tuesday morning and returning on Thursday evening. This should give us plenty of time to check into our rooms, rest a while, and then attend the reception on Tuesday night. There are meetings scheduled all day on Wednesday, but on Thursday we should have some time to explore the city and eat lunch before we head over to Pearson to fly back at 7pm.
We will be taking an Air Canada flight direct from Edmonton; I’ve arranged for a private shuttle to pick us up and take us directly to the airport, so we won’t need to worry about finding each other in the terminal. I’ve also booked us rooms at the Hotel Supreme, which comes highly recommended by a colleague in the Toronto office. The restaurant and spa are supposed to be excellent, and I hope that everyone will enjoy their stay.
Please let me know your thoughts about the trip. I’m open to suggestions and welcome your opinions.
Task 2 Surveys emails are always semi-formal or formal
Task 2: Parking or Bike Lane Survey
Assignment: Your city council is considering turning one of the parking lanes on your street into a lane for cyclists.
Option A: The parking lane should remain.
Option B: The parking lane should be replaced by a bicycle lane.
To Whom It May Concern:
I believe the city should replace parking spaces on one side of the street with a bike lane. For one thing, a bike lane would improve biker and pedestrian safety. Currently, cyclists are forced to endanger pedestrians by riding on the sidewalks, or to endanger themselves by riding in car lanes.
Furthermore, if the city becomes more bike-friendly, a greater number of people will consider commuting to work by bicycle rather than by car. This would decrease the pollution and congestion caused by excessive automobile traffic. .
I do understand that drivers would like to maintain access to all the available parking spots on the street. However, making the city more bike-friendly might encourage people to own bicycles instead of cars. This in turn would decrease the number of parking spaces needed.
Please consider creating bike lanes, which would benefit not only bikers like myself but all residents, who would enjoy less pollution and traffic.
Task 2: Coffee Payment Survey
Assignment: The office manager at your company is surveying staff members to see whether they would prefer to pay a $15 monthly fee for unlimited hot drinks or $1 for each individual drink they consume.
Option A: I want to pay a monthly fee for unlimited drinks.
Option B: I want to pay a separate fee for each individual drink.
Dear Ms. Jackson,
Thank you for asking my opinion on employee payments for hot drinks. I would prefer to pay at $15 flat fee for several reasons.
First, at the beginning of every month, I create a budget for all of my major expenses. A fixed monthly fee would allow me to include this money in my planning process and prevent me from spending more on food and drink than I can afford.
Beyond that, a monthly payment option would actually save me a substantial amount of money. Most days, I enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning and a cup of tea in the afternoon. If I had to pay $1 for each cup, it would cost me $10 for only one week, and approximately $40 for the entire month. Paying $15 upfront would cut my costs by a full $25.
Finally, although $1 per cup might seem like a reasonable price, I believe it would discourage employees from enjoying as many drinks as they would like. Company morale is important, and offering unlimited hot drinks would be an easy way to keep staff members* happy.
I hope that you will take these comments into account when making your decision.
*Note that you can say staff or staff members but not staffs.