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: Anonymous

Read a student'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 Madame S

I am writing in order to complain about the service and the food that was offered to me and my husband, last Saturday, 11th October.

At first, WW after we were conducted to our table, the waiter did not even care about helping me to sit down, what disappointed very deep, PE as your restaurant is known to be the luxuriousest at town PE

After that, we had to wait about a quarter of an hour till the waiter came to take the order.

On top of that, we received the wrong dish, but we agreed on eating WF it. However my food ("spaghetti ali pomodoro") was tasteless and my husband's one was salty.

As all that would not be enough, PE the waitress spilt wine over my white dress, and let it useless afterwards. PE

When we were almost finishing dinner the waiter came by and urged us to finish soon, as there were other people waiting for our table.

Feeling humiliated by that action we ordered as quickly as possible the bill WO and we /\ absolutely astonished when we saw that the enjoyless S dinner had cost us $273.

I do not think that I have to express myself clearer about how offended I feel by the unclassifiably bad and disastrous service in your expensive restaurant. Due to this, I am writing to demand an apology and an explanation about what happened.

I look forward /\ hearing from you as soon as possible.

Yours faithfully



This is a good attempt at the task of a letter of complaint. You describe the facts in detail and the restaurant manager would have a clear idea of the problems you experienced. The letter would benefit from having fewer paragraphs as it is really a list of sentences at the moment. However, the ideas are in a clear order and you use good linking expressions.
Your grammatical control is generally very good for this level and whilst your vocabulary seems sound you might wish to have a look at your spelling before you hand in any writing - either in class or in the exam. You could usefully do some practice on word formation (try the CAE Word Bank!) and common spelling patterns.

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