Marion Worsley Marion Worsley

Writing a formal letter of complaint.
Upper Intermediate level


In this lesson, the students will be taken through he various stages that will enable them to write a letter of complaint. This includes the layout, sequence and common set phrases linked to the functional language for each stage. They will then write their own letter, using the template as a reference to guide them.


Abc Appendix 1. Functional language
Abc Exercise 3. Production stage

Main Aims

  • Productive skill of Writing. To provide a template in Formal writing linked to a letter of complaint and give them the building blocks such as layout, sequence, language, so as to enable them and give them the confidence to produce their own letter of complaint.

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide scan and detailed reading of a template letter of Complaint.


Setting the context (5-8 minutes) • To set lesson context of Letter of Complaint and engage students by eliciting from them the various stages necessary in the formulation of a letter of complaint.

Introduce the topic: Who might you write a letter of complaint to? To a friend? Is it an official letter? Is the style of writing formal or informal? Elicit the order of a letter of complaint: What is the first thing you write in a letter? Do they need to know when the event that you are complaining took place? Elicit order: Name. to whom it may concern. When. Where. What happened. Why you are complaining. Nice comment to encourage reply. What you you want from them. Closing the letter.

Exposure. Scanning Template letter to pick out the staging. (4-5 minutes) • To provide a model of production expected in coming tasks through reading and reenforce the staging order with the corresponding paragraphs.

Hand out exercise 1.Work in pairs. Match the cut out paragraph sections of template letter with their corresponding stages. Followed by class feedback.

Useful Language (5-7 minutes) • To highlight and clarify useful language for coming productive tasks.

Hand out Template letter.Exercise 2. Elicit different types of set phrases for the different stages. One found from the text and 2 from students. Write some of the elicited examples on the board.

Productive Task(s) (18-20 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills.

Elicit potential topics for letter of complaint.Bosphorus Ferry Company. (too many smokers, pollution of engine fumes, dirty glasses from the tea boys...) What other examples? Hand out Exercise 3. Work in Pairs. Choose a topic of complaint and fill in the different sections.

Feedback and Error Correction (5-8 minutes) • To provide feedback on students' production and use of language

Create Picture Gallery with the students' letters and get the students to look at each other's letters. Look around and pick out and write down some common errors.Get them to sit down again and ask them what they liked about each other's letters. Go through on WB some of the common errors.

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