English Writing Exercises for B2 – A letter to a newspaper

Preparation

A newspaper published an article saying that teenagers with part-time jobs spend the extra money wastefully and also get lower school grades due to their jobs. Write a letter to the editor where you express your opinion and suggest ways that part-time work could be beneficial to teenagers.

1. Read the task above and the letter below. Answer the questions below. Do you agree with the student’s reaction?

Dear Sir or Madam

I am writing in response to the article about part-time work for teenagers. It stated that working was having a negative effect on teenagers by providing them with too much money and reducing the amount of time they spent studying.

I’d like to say that I cannot agree with the assumption that all teenagers who work are very materialistic and are failing at school. I feel that the article is projecting an unbalanced view of teenagers who work. Personally, I think that working teenagers gain experience of how to operate in the real world. They learn to turn up on time, be responsible, and deal with people. They also learn the value of money. To mind, these are great benefits. Furthermore, many teenagers are saving for worthwhile things like hobbies or university, rather than wasting their earnings.

However, I am sure it is true that those who work very long hours have less study time, which cannot be good. So, I would like to suggest some ways that part-time work may benefit teenagers without affecting their studies. Firstly, they need to limit the hours they work and not work on too many school evenings. Secondly, they could look for casual jobs like babysitting or dog walking, which can be turned down if schoolwork is pressing . Finally, teenagers could work in the holidays rather than school time.

I believe that these suggestions would help teenagers retain the benefits of extra money from working, without putting their studies at risk.

Your faithfully

Sophie Bennett


1   What is the student’s reaction to the article?

2   What positive reasons are given for part-time jobs?

3   How many suggestions are made for making part-time work beneficial?

Show answers

1 She doesn’t agree with the article.

2 teenagers gain experience of how to operate in the real world; they learn the value of money; many save the money rather than waste it

3 limit the hours teenagers work and not work on too many school evenings; look for casual jobs which can be turned down; work in the holidays rather than school time

Writing Strategy

Use synonyms and paraphrases to avoid repeating the same words too often, for example: very angry = furious.

2. Read the Writing Strategy. Then read the words and phrases below and match them with the highlighted words with similar meanings in the letter.

1   arrive              ________

2   belief/view    ________

3   cut back         ________

4   claimed that ________

5   presenting     ________

6   keep                ________

7   refused           ________

8   put forward  ________

9   function         ________

10 in answer to   ________

11 giving           ________

12 urgent          ________

Show answers

1 turn up   2 assumption   3 limit   4 stated that

5 projecting   6 retain   7 turned down   8 suggest

9 operate   10 in response to   11 providing   12 pressing

Writing Guide

A newspaper recently published an article about teenagers spending all their money on unnecessary consumer goods, blaming their obsession with the latest technology. Write a letter to the editor where you express your opinion about this, and suggest ways that teenagers can be helped to really think about their needs and to buy wisely.

3. Read the task above. Make notes.

Your reaction _________

Your reasons _________

Your suggestions _________

Show answers

your own answers

4. Write your letter to the newspapers using your notes from exercise 3.

Extra exercises

Strategy

When the task requires you to suggest solutions to a problem, do not only list your ideas or suggestions, but explain how each of them can help solve the problem.

1. Match the sentence halves to complete the suggestions.

I would like to suggest some ways of encouraging people to buy eco-friendly products.

Firstly, green products should be cheaper. This way _________

Secondly, they must be advertised on TV. Not only will it _________

Finally, eco-friendly goods ought to be of very high quality. If they were, _________

A their owners and users would recommend them to their friends and neighbours.

people will buy more of them for less money.

encourage people to get them, but having and using them will become fashionable.

Show answers

1 B  23 A

2. Read the task below and write your letter.

A magazine has recently published an article about the role of money in our lives. Its author claims that the richer we become, the less we care about other people. Write a letter to the editor where you express your opinion, and suggest ways in which people with higher incomes can contribute more to society.