Zak Zak

Email to ask for time off
Beginner - Low-Intermediate level


In this lesson students will be introduced to email format. They will experiment with future tense when they practice composing a email to hypothetical employers asking for time off.


Abc Example email
Abc Gap-fill handout
Abc Example email Poor
Abc Email Outline Work Sheet

Main Aims

  • To provide product writing practice of a email in the context of employment
  • To provide practice of language used for making requests in the context of employment

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide practice of the future tense in the context of travel or everyday life


Warmer/Lead-in (3-5 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

Greet the class, introduce the idea that you are going on vacation. Ask them if they could go anywhere in the world, where would they go, allow for some discussion. Then ask the class who they would need to inform about their dream vacation. If the topic of employers doesn't come up, bring it up yourself.

Exposure (8-10 minutes) • To provide a model of the task and highlight useful words and phrases

Project on the screen two emails side by side. Ask them just at a glance, which email they think is more appropriate in the context of requesting time off. When they choose the correct one, explain why. That there is an appropriate subject line, there is a greeting, the dates are clearly stated, the explanation is appropriate, it's signed off on, etc. Also, explain the email is worded in the future tense because the email is describing future events and that the language is relatively formal.

Task (8-10 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

Hand out the gap fill handout, it's a blank version of the the example email. Split the class into pairs so they can work off each others ideas. Instruct the students to fill the gaps as if they were asking for three days off. They can use the exact same language as the email they were just exposed to if they wish. With that said, encourage them to put their own personality into it. It will make for better practice that way, if they make mistakes they will be addressed later.

Planning (6-8 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to plan students' reports

Collect the handouts and have the pairs group up with another pair, ask them to discuss anything they might not have understood or how they chose to fill in the blanks. As the students talk, look over the handouts and gauge any glaring mistakes that might need correction. Make a mental note of any time the students chose to use their own language instead of the example emails.

Report (6-8 minutes) • To allow students to report on how they did the task and how it went

Hand the students their work sheets back. Address any questions they may have had from the gap fill or their discussions. Put any possible mistakes on the board and ask the class how they would correct it.

Language Analysis (6-8 minutes) • To clarify the meaning, form and pronunciation of the task language

Split the email into chunks for the students. Explain that the subject line and the greeting are sort of the introduction. That they should be polite here and throughout the email. The next part is the sort of body. That they should clearly express the days they are requesting to have off. After that they may choose to explain why they need the time off. That isn't always necessary but it'll make for good practice should they ever have a contract with an employer that requires it. It can be as simple as a doctors appointment, or they can explain where they're going for vacation. Finally, the conclusion is signing off of the email, explain that because its a request they should end with a thank you or something along those lines.

Language Practice (8-10 minutes) • To provide students with practice of the task language

Students will be given the last handout which splits an email into three the three chunks that were previously explained. They will be asked to request the 24th, 25th and 26th off from work. They can choose any reason they want, but reiterate the idea of the doctors appointment or vacation for inspiration. They will hand in the work sheet at the end of the class. If the students would prefer, they can write the email electronically if there are computers available or if they have phones, to make the task more authentic.

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