Transactional Letter


  • Remember to write in a formal letter format
  • Begin your letter with:

    Dear Sir/Madam (if you do not know the name of your addressee) or
    Dear Mrs Penney (if the name is given in the task)
  • Explain who you are and why you are writing this letter
  • Do not copy phrases from the question.
  • State clearly and politely what actions you want to be taken.
  • Do not use contractions.
  • Use formal language.
  • In this type of letter you may need to use a construction that is called a dependant question. Regular (independent) questions in English are formed by inversion:

    Where is my book?
    When does it start?
  • However, if you precede these questions by phrases like: I do not know; Could you tell me; I want to ask, the word order remains like in the statement, not question. Note that these sentences do not end with question marks, either.


    Could you tell me where my book is.
    I want to ask when it starts.


Useful expressions:
  1. Complaining:

    I am writing to complain about...
    I am sorry to inform you that...
    I was very disappointed with...
    I have some complaints about...

  2. Requesting:

    I am writing for information about...
    I would like to learn/ know more about...
    I would like to ask whether/ if...
    I would be grateful if you could...

  3. Asking for particular actions:

    I would like to ask you for...
    I would suggest that you/ your company...
    I think that I can ask for some compensation.
    In the light of the above, I would like to ask you for...


Sample answer:

  1. Letter of complaint

    Q: You invited your friend to a fancy restaurant. You found their advertisement in the local newspaper and it looked convincing. Unfortunately, the place did not meet your expectations and you were disappointed. Write a letter to Mrs Talker, the manager of the restaurant, and ask for some money back.

    Restaurant 'Romantica' is the best place you can meet your friend and spend a nice evening in a good company. The place is designed to ensure lots of privacy. Comfortable armchairs and quiet soothing music in the background make the place perfect for those tired of everyday rush. Discreet service is our first priority. Our menu is created by people who worked for the best restaurants in the world. Great choice of vegetarian dishes. Come and enjoy! Satisfaction guaranteed!

    Dear Mrs Talker,

    I am writing to inform you that I was very disappointed with my visit to your restaurant two days ago. I read your advertisement in the newspaper and decided to spend an evening there with my friend. Unfortunately, I have a couple of complaints concerning this visit.

    According to your advertisement the place is perfect for having private conversations in relaxing atmosphere. However, it turned out that the music was so loud that I could hardly concentrate on the chat with my friend. The waiter asked to turn the music down shrugged his shoulders and said that other guests liked it that way. Is that what you mean by 'discreet service'?

    To make matters worse, the place was crowded and waiting for an ordered meal was intolerably long. I must admit that the cuisine was quite good but the prices were way too high.

    I would like you to take my points under consideration and I expect a refund from your restaurant. I trust you will give this matter immediate attention. I look forward to receiving a reply from you.

    Yours sincerely,
    David Beckham

    [186 words]

  2. Letter for information

    Q: You are going to participate in a young writers competition. You still have some questions concerning the deadline and the form in which the text should be presented. You want to know if you can send them your essay on CD. Write a letter to the organizers of the competition and ask for more information.

  3. Letter of application

    Q: You want to apply for a summer job in Brighton. You have found the advertisement in local newspaper offering seasonal work for students in one of the hotels in the area. Write a letter to the manager of the hotel in which you present your qualifications, skills and interests.