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How to write an email? | B1 Preliminary (PET)

Level: B1
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B1 Preliminary (PET) Email: Structure
B1 Preliminary (PET) Email: How to write?
B1 Preliminary (PET) Email: Example Answers
B1 Preliminary (PET) Email: Example Questions
B1 Preliminary (PET) Email: Template
B1 Preliminary (PET) Email: Tips
B1 Preliminary (PET) Email: Writing Checklist
B1 Preliminary (PET) Email: Useful Phrases & Expressions 

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Emails are the only mandatory task in B1 Preliminary (PET) Cambridge exam, which means you don’t have a choice and you have to write an email.

You usually write an email in B1 Preliminary (PET) to a friend or teacher.

The subject of the email can be various situations that take place at school or in life, for example, a class meeting, a trip with friends or the organization of a birthday party for someone you know.

In the exam task, you will find 4 content points (notes) to complete, for example, you will have to agree or disagree with something, give your opinion, suggest or explain something.

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B1 Preliminary (PET) Email: Structure

1. Open an email
Hi Tom / Dear Ms.Brown
2. Opening paragraph (say hello!)
Start with a greeting and say something friendly related to the situation.
3. Main content (answer the questions)
Paragraph 1: Answer the first important point
Paragraph 2: Talk about a second important point
Paragraph 3: Talk about a third important point
4. Closing paragraph (say goodbye!)
Finish by saying something friendly related to the situation.
5. Close an email
Love /Lots of love / All the best / Take care / Bestwishes
[Signature]

If you still don’t know how to build a structure, use our starter template

B1 Preliminary (PET) Email: How to write?

We will use this example exam task :

Read this email from your English friend Teri and the notes you have made.

From
: Teri
Subject: Learning a language

Hi

I’m excited because next month I’m starting my beginners’ classes to leam your language! I’ve never
studied a foreign language before — thanks for meeting me to give me some ideas. (No problem)

Are you free next Thursday afternoon after school? (Sorry, but…)

My parents say they’ll buy me a dictionary to help me learn new vocabulary, and perhaps some videos. Do you think that’s a good idea? (Advise Teri)

You said that you would help me sometimes after I start my classes. Can you still do that? (Offer…)

Bye,
Teri

Write your email using all the notes. (around 100 – 120 words)

Step 1: Briefly analyse your task

The first thing you should always do is to find topic of your email. The topic can help you choose some nice words and expressions that you could include in your email.

Secondly, we need to look and find content points, they give us the details about what we should write in our e-mail.

Lastly, you have to check who’s going to read your email. Why? Because if it’s a friend, you can use more colloquial language. But when you write to a teacher you need to show more respect and be more polite.

Let’s analyse this example exam question:

Read this email from your English friend Teri and the notes you have made.

From
: Teri (recipient)
Subject: Learning a language  (topic of your email )

Hi

I’m excited because next month I’m starting my beginners’ classes to leam your language! I’ve never
studied a foreign language before — thanks for meeting me to give me some ideas. (No problem)  (content point 1)

Are you free next Thursday afternoon after school? (Sorry, but…) (content point 2)

My parents say they’ll buy me a dictionary to help me learn new vocabulary, and perhaps some videos. Do you think that’s a good idea? (Advise Teri) (content point 3)

You said that you would help me sometimes after I start my classes. Can you still do that? (Offer…) (content point 4)

Bye,
Teri

Topic : Learning a language

Content points/notes:

  1. (No problem) – write you’re glad you could help
  2. (Sorry, but…) – write that you can’t meet next Thursday and why
  3. (AdviseTeri) – advise about the dictionary and videos
  4. (Offer…) – offer your help once she started her classes

Target reader: English friend Teri

Step 2: Open an email

Every email starts with an opening formula, depending on who is the recipient of our letter we will start the letter in a slightly different way:

If it’s a teacher – we should be a little bit more respectful and formal so a good option to do would be to say something like:

If it’s a friend or realtive– we can choose something informal for example we could say

Since in our case the recipient of the letter is our friend Teri we will use “Hello Teri,” form.

Hello Teri,

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Step 3: Opening paragraph (say hello!)

Start your email by saying something friendly related to the situation (or ask them how they feel ). For example, if your recipient is a friend the first paragraph might look like this.

if you are writing to a teacher you need to be a bit more formal and polite

as in the previous case, our recipient is our friend Teri, so we will write our opening parahgraph in this way:

Hello Teri, – opening

Thanks for your email, it was really great to hear from you. I’m so excited you’re going to start learning my language. – opening paragraph

Step 4 : Main content (answer the questions/notes)

The main paragraphs are the most important parts of your email because they must contain different content points/notes from the task.

Each paragraph can be only one or two sentences long because remember you only write between 100 – 120 words in total which means that you don’t have a lot of words available.

You need to be careful that you use the right functional language in each of these paragraphs to show the examiner that you understand exactly what you have to do (explain, advise, suggest, offer etc.)

Content points/notes  (see step 1):

  1. (No problem) Say Teri you’re glad you could help
  2. (Sorry, but…)Say Teri you can’t meet next Thursday and why
  3. (AdviseTeri) – Advise Teri about the dictionary and videos
  4. (Offer…) – Offer your help once she started her classes

See the example answer below, with additional annotations you may find useful:

I’m really happy I can help, (point 1) if you want, we can carry on meeting even once you’ve started your classes (point 4) and I can help you with vocabulary. Also, Tuesdays are great for me, what do you think?

You talked about meeting (<= refer to the letter) next Thursday but I have football practice after school so could we meet some other time? (point 2)

About the dictionary and the videos,(<= refer to the letter)  I don’t think you need videos because you can watch YouTube. However, the dictionary is a great idea . (point 3)

                  – a reference to the letter

                   – linking words and conjunctions

Use linking words: and, but, however, therefore, moreover, because.
Use time linkers: yesterday, last week, tomorrow..

Step 5: Closing paragraph (say goodbye!)

We want to end our email with a nice closing formula so we can write one short final sentence where we end the email in a nice way.

All we need to do is to be careful with the language and make sure that we show the person the right level of respect.

Step 6: Close an email

As with any letter, also an email should always end with a signature and closure.

Below you can see an example ending and closing of our letter

Good luck with your studies Teri! – closing paragraph

Love, – closure
Tommy

See full answer…

Hello Teri,

Thanks for your email, it was really great to hear from you. I’m so excited you’re going to start learning my language.

I’m really happy I can help, if you want, we can carry on meeting even once you’ve started your classes and I can help you with vocabulary. Also, Tuesdays are great for me, what do you think?

You talked about meeting next Thursday but I have football practice after school so could we meet some other time?

About the dictionary and the videos, I don’t think you need videos because you can watch
YouTube. However, the dictionary is a great idea.

Good luck with your studies Teri!

Love,
Tommy

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B1 Preliminary (PET) Email: Example Answers

From: Mrs Lake
Subject: End of year party

Dear Class,
I’d like our class to have a party to celebrate the end of the school year. (Great!)

We could either have a party in the classroom or we could go to the park. Which would you prefer to do? (Explain)

What sort of activities or games should we do during the party? (Suggest…)

What food do you think we should have at the party? (Tell Mrs Lake)

Reply soon!
Anna Lake

Write your email using all the notes.

Student’s  Answer:

Dear Mrs Lake,

I’m very excited about this party, and to celebrate the end of the school year.

I think that the best place to do the party is the class because in this way we can be all together. In the class, we can do a lot of activities like playing with the blackboard, watching a film, or listening to music.

About the food, we can have pizza and fries, as a dessert I recommend chocolate, sweets or something like this.

I’m sure the party is going to be excellent, and we are going to have a very good time.

See you soon!
Tom Jones

Grade:

Content:  5
Communicative Achievement: 5
Organisation: 4
Language: 4

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From: Sandy
Subject: Your visit!

Hi Sandy,
I’m so excited that you’re coming to stay with me for a week! (Me too!)

On your first evening here, there’s a rock concert in our town. Would you like to go to the concert or would you prefer us to relax at home? (Say which I prefer )

Also, shall we go climbing in the mountains while you’re here? (No, because …)

Let me know if you have any questions. (Ask Sandy …)

See you soon
Sandy

Write your email using all the notes.

Student’s  Answer:

Hi Sandy,

I can’t wait for coming to stay with you too. I’m sure it will be an awsome week!

I find really exciting going to the rock concert and I think it would be a great idea, better than staying at home and relax.

Two months ago I broke my left leg and I’m still recovering, so I’m affraid that I won’t be able to go climbing mountains with you, although I want it so bad! The funny thing is that I broke my leg climbing the Alps, in France, with my family.

Speaking of family, can you e-mail me how is yours? I haven’t seen them for a while.

Answer me soon,
Nicolas

Grade:

Content:  5
Communicative Achievement: 5
Organisation: 5
Language: 5

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B1 Preliminary (PET) Email: Example Questions

From: Hugo
Subject: Story Time

Hi Robert,

We’re organising a new activity at school and I need your help.  It’s a Story Time club. (Ask what ages…)

We are each given a young student and we need to tell them a story each week. I need to choose my first story for next ‘week. I’m not sure whether to choose a fairy tale, an adventure story or a factual book. (Give your opinion…)

My student is a 6-year-old girl. (Recommend something…)

We can also use puppets or models to make it more interesting. (Suggest a book…)

Thanks,

Write your email using all the notes.

From: Steve
Subject: Talent Show

Hi Paul,

We’re having a talent show at school next month and I’m thinking of participating. (Great idea!) I can’t decide whether to sing, do magic or play the guitar. (Share your opinion…)

It would be great if you could come and watch. It’s on Saturday 5th of May, it begins at 5 p.m. (Ask how long it will last…)

Once I’ve decided what to do, do you think I could practise in front of you? I’m a bit nervous about it and that would really help. (Tell him, that’s not a problem..)

Write back soon,
Bye

Write your email using all the notes.

From: Karen
Subject: Summer Camp

Hi Laura,

Are you ready for summer camp? I can’t wait. I’m. really looking forward to it. (Tell her, you are excited…)

We need to decide which camp we are going to — the sports camp or the crafts camp. Which would you prefer? I don’t mind as I like both activities but it might be more fun to be outside in the summer so the sports camp could be better. (Choose which camp you like…)

Shall we go in the first or the second two weeks of July? (Give reasons for your choice…) We need to let them know that we want to share a room. (Ask about accommodation…)

Bye,

Write your email using all the notes.

B1 Preliminary (PET) Email: Template

Below you will find an example template that you can use when writing your email as a somewhat ready-made structure:

Hi [Firend’s Name], / Dear [Teacher’s Name],

It’s nice to hear from you! (to a friend) I’m so excited that . . . . . . . . . . .
Thank you for your email. (to teacher) I just got it and I admit  . . . . . . . . . .
[Start with a greeting and say something friendly related to the situation. ]

Answering your question, . . . . . . . . . . ., and  . . . . . . . ., but . . .  . . . .
[Answer the first question]

You mentioned about [something], . . . . . . . . . . . . because . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
[Answer the second question ]

Anyway, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .also………….
[Answer the third question]

Good luck with …… (your studies/ your trip etc.. ) (to a friend)
Thank you again and see you in class. (to teacher)
[End with something friendly related to the situation]

Best wishes,
[Your name]

B1 Preliminary (PET) Email: Tips

  • Make sure you already know a set of Useful Phrases & Expressions to use in your greetings, opening and closing paragraphs, and to say goodbye. This will save you a lot of time while doing a task, and you will avoid making silly mistakes
  • Write a well-structured and visually appealing email – you can use our starter template for this. Cambridge English examiners pay attention to is the organization of writing papers. Also, remember that punctuation matters, so be sure to separate your sentences with periods and commas, and don’t write sentences that are too long.
  • Read carefully and analyse the task.  Make sure you read the assignment carefully and specify exactly what you are being asked to do. If you don’t know how to do it, use our guide
  • When you think you’re ready but you still fear for your abilities you can use our app and submit your email to be checked

  • Make sure you use the correct structure for an email – that means there needs to be a an email opening and closing
  • Start by saying something friendly related to the situation.
  • Answer the four notes included in the exam task (agree or disagree with something, give your opinion,  suggest things or explain.)
  • Refer to your friend’s email clearly and use your own words as much as possible.
  • Finish by saying something friendly related to the situation.
  • Your reply should be about 100 – 120 words

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B1 Preliminary (PET) Email: Writing Checklist

After writing your e-mail, you can check it yourself using the writing checklist below.

How to do that? Simply check your text/email by answering the questions one by one:

Content

  • Is the email to and from the right person?
  • Does it address all four notes mentioned in the task?
  • Does the email include all relevant information in about 100 words?

Communicative Achievement

  • Is the text in the format of an email?
  • Is it written in a style and tone suitable for the recipient (for example, more formal for a teacher and more informal for a friend)?
  • Is the purpose of the writing clear (agreeing, disagreeing, giving an opinion, offering or explaining)?
  • Does the text use appropriate language and phrases to respond to the four notes?

Organisation

  • Does the text use paragraphs appropriately to organise ideas?
  • Does the text use other organisational features of an email (for example, openings,closings, references to the original email)?
  • Are the ideas presented in a logical order? Is the text easy to follow?
  • Does the text use a variety of linking words or cohesive devices (such as although, and, but, because, so that, whether etc., and referencing language)?
  • Are the ideas balanced appropriately, with suitable attention and space given to each one?
  • Is punctuation used correctly?

Language

  • Does the text use a range of vocabulary?
  • Does the text use a range of simple grammar accurately (such as basic tenses and simple clauses)?
  • Does it use some complex grammatical structures (such as relative clauses, passives modal forms and tense contrasts)?
  • Is the spelling accurate enough for the meaning to be clear?
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FCE, CAE, PET

Practice, Write & Improve

Get your writing checked, track your progress online.
Sample papers, online practice tests & tips.

B1 Preliminary (PET) Email: Useful Phrases & Expressions 

We will finish it with some useful vocabulary mostly used to organize information. Although it is taking a shortcut, if you learn several phrases for each paragraph in each type of text that could be on your exam, you will certainly be able to create a very consistent and well-organized proposal.

Opening paragraph:

It’s nice to hear from you…
I’m glad to read your email…
I’m sorry to hear that…
Thank you very much for your email…
I hope this email finds you well.
How are you?
I hope your week is going smoothly.
Thanks for getting in touch.

Introducing your points:

By the way
Did you hear about
Did you see
Have you seen
Tell me about
Oh, another thing

Referring to the letter and questions:

You talked about ….
You asked about …
You mentioned…
Referring to …
Speaking of …
In answer to your question…
About the …

Closing paragraph

It’s time to go.
It’s time to say goodbye. 
Give my love /regards to…
We must try and meet up soon…
Anyway, I must go and get on with my work.

Goodbye

Best wishes,
Best,
Sincerely,
Love,
Regards

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