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: Carmen

Read Carmen'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 complain about the unacceptable treatment that I received in your restaurant last friday when I was intended WF to have dinner with my husband.

First of all, we were given a table just in front of the toilets because there was not any other available, although we had booked it in advance. Furthermore, we were forced to leave at 10 p.m because someone else had also booked the same table.

Secondly, we had to wait for nearly half an hour to be served and after the long waiting WF we were obliged to change our minds and ask for meat because there was no lobster left. In fact, only three out of the seven main courses were available.

I would also like to point out Gd the incompetence of the service because the waiter spilled WW the sauce over my husband´s dish even though we had asked him not to do so.

To make matters worse, Gd there was no response when I asked to meet T/WW the manager of the restaurant so I have been forced to write to make you know about WW these unfortunate incidents.

I very much hope that in future you will take care of WW these mistakes in order to prevent them /\ and I am afraid to say that I will have no alternative but to put the matter in the hands of my solicitors should not I WO receive compensation within the next few days.

Yours faithfully,

Carmen Pliego


The task was completed fully and appropriately. You made the reasons for the complaint clear and explained what you want the manager of the restaurant to do about the poor service.

Communicative Achievement
Ideas are communicated clearly and the letter is written in an ap[propriate, semi-formal tone. The reader would be fully informed and would get a clear explanation of events.

The points you make are organised clearly into paragraphs and you have used cohesive devices extremely well, including 'furthermore', 'although', first of all', 'secondly', and some nice expressions such as 'I would also like to point out' and 'to make matters worse'.

All in all, very good use of English. A range of simple and more advanced grammatical forms and vocabulary. Errors are present but do not impede communication.

Well done!

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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