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: Letter to an Editor

Task Type: Letter to an Editor

You have recently read the following magazine article:

Is it the end of the printed book as we know it?
According to internet experts, the book is dead. What they are predicting is that by 2020 90% of everything we read will be in electronic form. So the form of the book that has been around for 1300 years will become extinct...

Write a letter to the editor of 'Future Net' giving your views (220-260 words).

Makeover: Elena

Read Elena'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

I am writing with the reference to the article in the January edition of "Future Net", which predicts that in the foreseeable future electronic books will replace printed ones.Gd Obviously, /\ electronic book is no longer the stuff of science fiction. Gd /\ E-book boom is under way. I am concerned with WW this matter and feel involved in this digital revolution.

Undoubtedly, /\ electronic book provides several advantages over /\ traditional book. Firstly, /\ book in digital format offers today's readers additional opportunities such as a keyword search, /\ retrival of information. Another advantage is that doing index look-ups on /\ digital book is /\ very fast process so /\ e-book is likely to become a perfect reference tool. Besides, /\ e-book has one more advantage, especially to distance learners or people living in outlying areas without access to large libraries, which lies in /\ e-book's availability by WW dial up access.

Indeed WW , /\ e-book has some disadvantages and its concept is still foreign to the general public. Firstly, computer software is needed for reading e-books. Moreover, there are some difficulties in reading on /\ screen with poor resolution, a problem not expected to be solved in the near future. The poor resolution hurts eyes and makes online reading less enjoyable compared to traditional books.

The importance of printed books must not be overlooked, particularly when it comes to reading for pleasure. Book lovers like holding a nicely bound book, flipping pages, enjoying its touch and smell. Most readers like putting hardbacks on bookshelves and watch WF their personal library growing. So, printed books have enormous advantages. But on the other hand, we should keep in mind the problem of deforestation since many forests are being cut down for the paper industry.

Will /\ e-book mean the end of printed books? Personally, I am convinced that the bound books have a future. So, let's don't - say goodbye to a hardcover yet. Even under the best circumstances, it will take years before you see e-books on every street corner. Nobody knows if the majority will take to digitized reading. As for me, I much prefer printed books over digital ones. If I want to read some fiction, I'd rather curl up with a good old paperback. I don't share /\ opinion about printed book's extinction WO In my opinion, traditional books will survive, just as radio survived TV, and the film lived on after video. They will continue to amuse, influence and impress for centuries. Gd

I am a dedicated reader of your magazine and I hope you will take my views into account in the future editions of your magazine. Gd

Yours faithfully,

Elena Borzova


Well done, Elena. This letter discusses very fully the pros and cons of traditional books versus e-books, and you weigh up the issues intelligently. If you were answering such a question in the CAE exam you would need to be careful not to write too much - this piece is nearly double the word limit of a CAE writing task! (Not only might you be penalised for overwriting, you might also lose valuable time that could have been spent on the second task.) You are obviously very well-informed about the topic and this makes your letter a pleasure to read. The letter is organised appropriately and written in a suitable register for the editor - i.e. warm and friendly, without being too formal or informal.
On the language side, you need review the rules for definite and indefinite articles. I am sympathetic because it's terribly difficult if your first language has no articles! On a positive note, your general (and technological vocabulary) is excellent and I have highlighted phrases and sentences that are particularly well put.


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