Flo-Joe for Cambridge English Exams

Cambridge English: Proficiency

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

Writing Class: Letter to an Editor

Task Type: Letter to an Editor

You have read the letter below which was sent to a newspaper by a reader. Other readers were invited to give their views in response. You decide to write to the editor giving your opinion about the points made:

I have just returned from a holiday to a destination that would once have been described as 'exotic'. Imagine my dismay at being confronted with the kinds of shopping centres and fast-food outlets that I can find on my own doorstep back home! Is it inevitable that different cultures merge into one or can we do more to ensure that local traditions are kept?

Write your letter for the newspaper editor, but do not use postal addresses. (around 280 - 320 words)

Makeover: Laura

Read Laura'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/Madam,

I have read the letter entitled 'Merging cultures-can it be stopped?', which appeared in Monday's edition of your newspaper and I was very pleased to see that other readers were invited to give their opinions on the subject.

Although I am an eighteen year-old student I have been all over Europe and have heard the opinion of many teenagers concerned with WW this problem. It is obvious that American culture has gained popularity in the past fifty years due to so many fields of activity that are being dominated by Americans. Nevertheless, European kids in WW my generation are turning their back on American culture and displaying a much greater enthusiasm for European culture than their elders.

Home-grown youth culture is the unifying force of the new generation. People watch US films, but do not consider the US or its culture the source of all inspiration. European kids listen to music, wear French and Italian jeans and also enjoy the particularities of European culture. When they do look beyond Europe it is to the East or the Orient. They seem to be extremely interested in the Oriental culture. In this case it seems clear to me that there is still hope for places with centuries-old cultural traditions. Gd

On the other hand, there are already many spots - that were once considered 'exotic' - on the verge of becoming a cultural desert. On one of my journeys - to the Middle East - I visited the city of Jeddah, a wonderful combination of old and new, /\ sense of history and rapid development. Surprisingly enough, people here didn't just thought WW of the city's modernization, they were also concerned with the preservation of the old city. On one side there was the old town with its strange odors and sounds of the old shopping streets, and on the other there was this whole new occidental-like city with big shopping malls. It was just amazing to see it all in front of your eyes, like history speeded up on one side and yet at the same time, what stayed the same was what retained. PE

Surely there can be a wide range of cultural influences, but I cannot entirely agree that cultures are merging into one. There is still that feeling of culture shock when visiting a foreign country. Gd


You've provided a full and very thoughtful response to the task. Everything you've written is relevant and the reader would be fully informed of your views.

Communicative Achievement
The style/tone of this letter is just right, You express your views in a heartfelt way, which makes this an interesting task to read. The reader would be fully engaged throughout.

The letter is clearly organised with logical use of paragraphs. You have used cohesive devices well - 'although', 'due to', 'nevertheless' etc.

In terms of your use of English, this is a well-written letter, with a very good (and on occasions, excellent) range of vocabulary and grammatical structures. There is the odd time when your phraseology isn't quite natural but here I have attempted to guess what you meant.

Well done!

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Marking Code

/\ Word(s) missing

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C Capitalization

Gd Good

O Organisation

P Punctuation

PE Poorly expressed

R Register/Formality

SS Sentence Structure

S Spelling

T Tip

WF Wrong form

WO Word order

WT Wrong tense

WW Wrong word