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. (220-260 words)

Makeover: Katarina

Read Katarina'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 to complain about the efficiency of the service that you offer in your restaurant, which is, in fact, one of the most recommended places to go in our town.

Being influenced by your PE wonderful advertisement in "The Sun", I decided to visit your restaurant with my seriously ill little daughter to celebrate her birthday there. I had booked our table and a small marzipan teddy bear in your restaurant two weeks in advance. After spending one hour in your restaurtant I was unpleasantly surprised with the inefficiency of your service.

Being ordinary customers, we did not have enough time to eat our dinner, because we were told to leave our table for another, probably more important, customer. This unbelievable explanation was given by your service manager and we had no alternative, P but to accept it.

Regarding the food offered on your menu, I have never seen the French Chicken so badly prepared. The French rice appeared to be of the same quality, absolutely tasteless and without any trace of spice. The waiter brought me the bottle of two-year Chablis instead of bringing the WW glass of three-year Chardonnay.

In addition to the unimaginative WW taste of your food, we were told, that no teddy bear had been reserved for us and as a result, my daughter was very sad. I was both amused and annoyed with the anwer your waiter gave us, regarding our chance to complain, which is possible only in writing.

According to my negative experience, which I have mentioned in this letter, I would be thankful to receive the WW letter of apology from you, which will be WW signed by your service manager. I hope that he will appreciate my comments and realise the fact that the service offered by your staff is at the point, where some precautions need to be taken. PE

Yours sincerely,

Andy Warhol


Your letter of complaint successfully completes all of the task. (The reader would have a very clear understanding of why you were dissatified with the meal and a clear expectation of the action that you expect to be taken.)
You have organised this letter very well indeed and you achieve the appropriate register through your use of complex grammatical structures. The tone of the letter is a little sharp, but then again you have reason to be annoyed!
I have reworded some of your expressions on occasions where your vocabulary doesn't sound entirely natural, but even as this letter stands you have approached the task competently. Good!


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