Flo-Joe for Cambridge English Exams

Cambridge English: Advanced

Check out students' answers to Flo-Joe's CAE Writing tasks with a teacher's feedback

Writing Class: Formal Letter

Task Type: Letter of Complaint

Read this extract from a letter you have recently sent to a friend:

.... Oh, and by the way, don't go to Barry's Restaurant for your birthday. We went there last night - the service was awful and the food was a disaster! I complained to the head waiter but he asked me to put it in writing ...

Write your letter of complaint to the restaurant manager (around 220-260 words)

Makeover: Sawako

Read Sawako's answer to this question below. Try correcting the piece of writing yourself first: use the marking codes to think about what might be wrong (or what's good) about the piece of work. Then when you're ready, click the green buttons in the text for our feedback.

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing to express my annoyance at /\ your restaurant yesterday. I chose your restarurant to invite three of my important business clients, reading PE "Best Restaurants in Britain 2000", but the reality was far from its recommendation PE

First, as stated in the guide book, you have WT a variety of course meals WW in WW the menu. However, only 2 for meat and 1 for fish PE were on offer yesterday. This deeply dissapointed S my guests. Therefore, we chose /\ starter, main dish and dessert à la carte, but it was not very easy. Many were unavailable; e.g. we did not have any choices other than WO onion soup and seafood salad for /\ starter.

Furthermore, the meals were not served at the same time. About five minutes after a rump steak was put on the table for one of my clients, any of others had not been served yet. PE Therefore, he had to start alone. I asked your staff to bring all the other meals soon and in another five minutes only two, including my grilled salmon, were brought to us. When the other one, steamed trout, was put on the table, the client who had WT a rump steak had almost finished.

Finally, the beef steak my client had was overcooked, although he asked WT for a medium-cooked. /\

On paying the bill, I complained about this inconvenience to your head waiter, but he asked me to contact you directly in writing. Gd I feel that a refund of at least £200, which is half of our payment T , would be appropriate. I look forward to receiving a satisfactory reply within 14 days. Gd

Yours faithfully,

Jane Smith


Well done, Sawako. This is a well organised letter and the formal register is particularly appropriate for a letter of complaint. For the makeover I focused on the following points:
  1. Spelling errors, although some may have been just typing errors.
  2. Vocabulary. I have made some suggestions that would sound a bit more natural to an English speaker.


Marking Code

/\ Word(s) missing

- Omit word

C Capitalization

Gd Good

O Organisation

P Punctuation

PE Poorly expressed

R Register/Formality

SS Sentence Structure

S Spelling

T Tip (Not wrong but a suggestion)

WF Wrong form

WO Word order

WT Wrong tense

WW Wrong word