I’ll introduce the mistakes seen in your exams. Please make sure you read them. This could be the difference between passing or not. The document will grow as I keep on marking.

FORMAT

  • Write a comma after the greeting and the farewell.
  • Always sign your letters.

ORGANIZATION (LINKING WORDS)

  • Be careful with the linking words you choose, they have to be used appropriately, not randomly. You love expressions like “in order to”, “so as to”, “morover”, but most of times you use them wrong. The first two are too formal to be used in an informal email, the second one is used when you add something and want to emphasise at the the same time. It’s not just one person who makes this mistakes, but many of you.
  • Make sure you write whole sentences, with subjetc and verb, and that they make sense. I’ve found many incorrect examples.

PUNCTUATION

  • Always write a comma before “but”.

VOCABULARY

  • “Phone somebody”, you don’t need to use a preposition between this verb and its object: “I phoned Martha.”
  • “Explain to”: I explained it to Martha.
  • “Decide to”: I decided to do my homework.
  • “Trust somebody”: I trust Martha, I trust you.
  • “Talk to”, I talked to Martha. Never ever forget the preposition here.
  • “Write to”, I wrote to Martha. I can’t believe you didn’t know this.
  • “Become”, no preposition: I became an angel.

GRAMMAR

  • Remember the difference between past simple and past perfect.
  • Remember that when you are writing a sotry in the past, you have to make some changes like: ago=before; this=that, after=later. You have all these changes here: http://www.slideshare.net/esuarezguillen/reported-speech-1300344
  • Adjectives go before the noun, OMG.
  • “All we wanted WAS” (not were).
  • Write “to”, never forget this preposition.
  • People don’t use a cleft sentence every twenty words in real life, nor inversion, they have to be used carefully and in the appropriate context. Informal correspondence is not usually the right option, though you could if you know how. These expressions emphasise so much, that if you missuse them, you spoil your writing.

REGISTER

  •  Use the appropriate register, whether formal or informal according to your text and be consistent.
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