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Letter Writing: Explaining a Situation

Letter Writing: Explaining a Situation

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23 Aug 2018

 

Letter Writing – Explaining a Situation

One of the most common types of letters you may find in IELTS General Training Writing Task 1 is a formal letter that asks you to explain a situation. The phrase “Explain your situation” you often find as second bullet point or sometimes as the first bullet point itself in some of the letters.

At first glance, you may feel it is quite unclear about what you have to actually explain here. To remove all your doubts, let us discuss this by taking an example of a letter question as below:

Question:

You have recently purchased an item from a retail store. When you returned home, you found that it did not work. You called the customer care about this problem but did not get any satisfactory response.

Write a letter to the retail manager and in your letter:

  • Say who you are
  • Explain your situation
  • Say what action you want from the retail store

Clarity on “Explain your situation”

Now, what does “explain your situation” mean? It means that you can describe the current issue you are experiencing or the problem you are facing now, how it actually happened and what the whole story behind it was. The question puts you in a situation which you can imagine as real and then subsequently, you can write it in the form of letter.

In order to explain the situation, you can relate it with something which you are familiar about. For example, you might have already found a service unsatisfactory in the past or your friend might have faced such an incident before.

In case of writing a complaint letter, for example, about experiencing bad service at a restaurant, you often need to explain the situation as the 2nd point. The second point of explaining a situation is usually lengthy because this is where you have to describe a lot.

To write more, it is important to think of something extra surrounding to the given situation only, for example, adding factual information, forming a story of the whole incident etc. to provide more detailed information.

Let’s write the letter now:

Question:

You have recently purchased an item from a retail store. When you returned home, you found that it did not work. You called the customer care about this problem but did not get any satisfactory response.

Write a letter to the retail manager and in your letter:

  • Say who you are
  • Explain your situation
  • Say what action you want from the retail store

Model Answer:

Dear Sir/Mam,

I am writing this letter to complain about the digital camera that I bought from your retail store last Monday on 26th September 2016.

I am a resident of Vishal Market, New Delhi and working as an Executive in a reputed firm nearby your retail store.

I have purchased latest technology digital camera of Nokia brand from your store which was working fine at the time I purchased it but when I reached my home, I found that it suddenly stopped working and there seemed to be a problem in the camera lens. Moreover, the shutter mechanism was also faulty. After I found discrepancies, I immediately called the customer care at your retail store. The concerned representative refused to replace the camera and was also not friendly enough to listen anything.

I, therefore, request you to kindly interfere in the matter and help me either getting a replacement of the digital camera or getting the full refund amount as soon as possible, and I also suggest you to improve your customer care dispute resolution system.

Thanking You!

Yours faithfully,
Ramesh Kumar

(183 words)
Following are some of the phrases that you may use while writing a letter (where you need to explain a situation):

Useful Phrases to Explain Situation

  • It was working fine earlier…….
  • It suddenly stopped working…
  • There seems to be a problem in….
  • I found discrepancies……….
  • It was faulty………..
  • It is broken from inside……………
  • There is a scratch………………..

Following are some of the sentence connectors that you may use to make your writing cohesive:

Useful Connectives

  • Moreover
  • Apart from this
  • On the other hand
  • Other than this
  • In addition to this
  • However

Now, you can try attempting the letters below:

Exercises:

1. You have got a job offer recently but cannot join on time due to some urgent work at home. Write a letter to the HR of that company and in your letter,

 

  • Say why you are writing
  • Explain your situation
  • What you want to request from manager

 

2. You had borrowed some books from your college library but now you cannot return on time. Write a letter to the library manager and in your letter,

 

  • Say why you are writing
  • Explain your situation
  • When it is possible for you to return books

 

 

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